How to Become a Babyproofing Whiz

how-to-babyproof

How to Become a Babyproofing Whiz

When you bring your new baby home from the hospital, babyproofing is the last thing on your mind. Your days are filled with cuddling, feeding, and changing a baby who can’t do much other than coo, cry, and wave their arms about.

It’s when they start learning to roll over, scoot, and crawl that you realize with a shock: nothing is safe any more! From furniture to cords to faucets to Great-Grandma’s heirlooms, there’s nothing that your baby won’t try to grab, yank, and bite. You can keep both your baby and your stuff safe by getting a jump on sensible babyproofing.

Babyproofing comes in stages. You’re not likely to do it all at once. The challenges when your baby is rolling and scooting are much, much different from the challenges once your baby starts walking! So here are a few of our tips for babyproofing according to your baby’s age and approximate developmental abilities.

Babyproofing for Newborns

When your baby is brand-new, babyproofing is more about keeping them safe than your stuff. After all, they can’t do too much damage fresh out of the womb. The main thing you’re going to be looking at is their sleeping surfaces. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a safe sleeping surface for a newborn should include the following characteristics:

  • Firm, flat mattress

  • No pillows, blankets, toys, or other items in the crib

  • Crib should be flush against the wall

  • Crib slats should be spaced narrowly to avoid baby getting stuck in them

  • No positioners, wedges, nursing pillows, etc.

Babyproofing for Crawling Babies

When your baby starts to explore their habitat by rolling, scooting, and crawling, you will want to adjust a few things for a safer environment. You can get down on the floor yourself and crawl about to see what they see at that level. Some of the things you’ll notice may include:

  • Electrical cords and chargers. Move these to tables or use a cord-keeper device.

  • Window blind strings. Use a cord-keeper or switch to cordless blinds.

  • Cleaning products and other hazardous materials. Move these to a high shelf or cabinet.

  • Safety locks on cabinet doors

  • Electrical outlets. There are many types of outlet covers on the market.

  • Gate off bathrooms, staircases, and pet areas

Babyproofing for Toddlers

Moving things out of the way may suffice for a scooting baby, but once your little one is really on the move with two legs instead of four, things get real, fast. Once again, you can get down on their level and see what needs to be adjusted for their safety.

  • Pool: Any body of water should be fenced off with a locking gate.

  • Firearms and other dangerous items should be in a locked gun safe

  • Medications should be in child-resistant containers inside a high shelf or locked cabinet

  • Door handle covers on outside doors, bathroom doors, etc.

  • Toilet seat locks

  • Oven lock

  • Furniture anchors. Toddlers always try to climb furniture, and a dresser or bookcase could tip over onto them.

  • Non-slip bath mats

  • Stove knob covers

Babyproofing for Outdoors

Now that you’ve gone over the interior of your home, it’s time to head outdoors. It’s really not a bad idea to get down on your baby’s level in the yard as well, to identify any hazards that you might not have otherwise seen. Some of the areas needing attention might include:

  • Animal feces

  • Broken glass or metal in the ground

  • Weed killer, fuels, antifreeze, paint, and other jars or containers of hazardous materials

  • Buckets, tubs, and other potential drowning hazards

  • Gardening tools, shears, lawnmowers

  • Poisonous plants

These are just some suggestions to get you started. After all, your home and your baby are unique! Your house may have different challenges when it comes to keeping it safe for a baby, so be sure to go through each room at your baby’s level and always provide close supervision to gauge their abilities to climb and get into things. For further thoughts on babyproofing your home, check out the Parents’ magazine article on babyproofing.