Baby-Proof your Home: All You Need to Make Your Place Safe for the Little One
Have a baby on the way? Congrats! We don’t want to freak you out but it is essential to make some changes in the house for safety reasons. Although you do not have to do everything at once before the baby arrives, it might be worth planning a little ahead of the baby’s due date. Here’s all you need to baby-proof your home to make it safe for the little one.
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1. Examine your house from a baby’s eyes
Imagine yourself as your baby who is fascinated by every little thing he sees around the house. Get down on the floor and examine your home from your child’s eyes: anything that looks interesting from the baby’s perspective? Are there electrical outlets within easy reach? What about electrical cords he could have fun pulling away? Or is there a fragile item lying on a low shelf? It is an important first step in baby-proofing, to see what your little one sees. This will help you know what to buy, install, repair or keep out of reach to protect your kid.
While every home will have its specific needs, here’s the basic baby-proofing checklist, broken into different development stages from a baby: from newborn, infant to toddler.
a. For the newborn who spends a lot of time in bed
So you are excited that your adorable newborn is finally home. While you can’t wait to show the little one the cute baby room you have spent so much effort preparing, do take note of the following:
- Complete all painting or wallpapering of the nursery at least 8 weeks before to avoid exposing the baby to any potentially harmful odour
- Ensure the baby’s crib does not have any choking or suffocation hazards. Contrary to popular belief, the crib bumper poses more choking risk than the original intention of protecting him from injury. In fact, your newborn doesn’t roll until the 3 to 4 months mark
- Place the crib away from the windows, lamps, wall decor and cords
- Ensure that the crib complies with all safety standards and there are no gaps between the mattress and crib
- Check that there are no dangling objects near the crib such that your baby is able to grip and put into his mouth
b. For the curious infant who is learning to roll over, sit up and crawl
After 3 months, your baby will start to learn to reach out to the world around him/her. This is the time your baby begins to master the use of limbs, learning to roll over from front to back or back to front. Soon, the little one will start to reach out for objects and as his/her body develops, the baby will be able to sit up with support. Before you know it, your baby would have figured out how to move forward or backward by crawling! Therefore, you will need to:
- Install plug covers everywhere so your baby doesn’t get an electric shock
- Unplug and stow small electrical appliances when not in use, as it is easy for your infant to grab the cord of a hair dryer or iron and pull it down to the floor
- Position child safety gates in doorways to rooms you don’t want your baby to enter, as well as the top and bottom of all staircases
- Secure bulky furniture and appliances with safety straps and wall anchors. Fragile items such as decorative vase and lamps that may tip over should be removed
- Keep medication, household cleaning products and other hazardous substances out of bay. If possible, store them high up in locked cupboards
- Put a non-slip bath mat in the bathroom when your baby is old enough to sit up during bath time
c. For the walking baby and young toddler
At around 1 year old, your baby will likely be taking their first steps. Of course, the exact time varies greatly from baby to baby. Before they officially walk around the house steadily, you will find him/her moving around on their feet while holding onto the furniture. This is when you need to watch out carefully for your baby’s safety, as the little one’s movements may be swifter than you think!
- Keep hazardous chemicals and small appliances away from your toddler, by storing them on a high shelf
- Install a wide baby gate at the entrance of the kitchen to keep your toddler away from potential kitchen accidents from accessing all those pots and pans
- Protect your kiddo from all the dangerous sharp corners of home furniture such as dining tables, coffee table, dressers with corner guards
- Consider invisigrills or child-safe window screens to prevent your toddler from falling out of the balcony or open windows
- Be warned that babies and toddlers can drown in only 5 cm of water. Thus it is important to empty buckets and drain baths immediately after use, as these pose as potential drowning hazards. You should also install locks for toilet lids to keep your tottering kiddo from wandering into the toilet
- Paste bright stickers at your baby’s eye level on glass around the house. You wouldn’t wish to see your darling getting injured because of walking into the glass panel!
2. Getting easy-to-install baby-proofing devices
We’ve mentioned a number of baby-proofing supplies in the above section, such as corner guards, plug covers and cabinet locks. These child-friendly devices need not come at hefty prices. You should also opt for the types that are easy to install so you don’t need to sweat too much over baby-proofing your home.
3. Adjust your plan as your child grows
As your child grows up, the process of making your home safe continues. In time, baby-proofing will become child-proofing. You will need to adjust your strategies at home to prepare a safe and conducive place for a taller and more curious child to live in. Don’t worry incessantly for now though. Take one step at a time and enjoy each milestone!