Once your little baby becomes mobile, it is a whole new world and every square inch of your home becomes an adventurous (and dangerous) territory. Every day items that you would not even think as objects of interest become fair game for the little adventurer to explore, open, touch, eat, climb, taste, pull, push–you get the picture. Babies are surprisingly stealthy when it comes to concealing items in their chubby lil hands so if you so much as blink, turn your attention for even a split second to plug in your phone, check a text, or even to get a bite to eat, the item could soon be in their mouth, up their nose, or in their ear–and you may not even see it happening until they become symptomatic. You’d be surprised how many patients I see at my clinic for this common scenario. My recommendation: do not underestimate the baby child ninja. They do their job well: exploring, playing, and finding innovative ways to surprise and scare the beejeebers out of their parents. It can happen to kids of all ages, from babies learning how to scoot or crawl who see a shiny penny in some corner of the room to preschoolers who thought it was a good idea to shove googly eyes in their ears or play-doh up their nose. Good judgement is definitely not a child’s strong suit.
Luckily, they have you to anticipate and clear out the area so they can do their thing and you can do yours. Would you like to sit back, relax, and sip that coffee without having to keep running to take things out of their hands (or mouths) or having to continually tell your child to “put it back!” or “don’t touch that!” or “don’t eat that!”? If so, then you are definitely in the right place! Let’s baby proof your home!
Go Room by Room
Baby proofing the home can be an undertaking but it doesn’t have to be so. I recommend starting early and taking a systematic approach and to modify with the child’s age. Start by going to each room and assess what are obvious hazards: choking hazards, strangulation risks, items that can be reached and pulled down, or things on which to to climb, things that can fall, and sharp corners. This way you can determine what things to remove, placed elsewhere, secured, covered, etc.
In general, anchor heavy furniture or decor, keep cabinets and drawers closed with locks and catches, outlets protected with plastic outlet covers or tamper proof outlets, keep sharp edges and corners protected with edge and corner cushions or corner protectors, curtains and blinds and cords out of reach, and cover/contain/remove loose or fragile items.
Get on their level
Want to see what your child sees and what may get his attention? Get on his level. It may seem silly but it really helps to see the world from their perspective. If your child scoots, get on your tummy to see what may interest him. If your child can crawl, get on your hands and knees. You may find things that would be overlooked otherwise. Open baskets, shag rugs, areas under cabinets or media centers, bed frames are all places where small items can hide and be found by baby.
For the little movers, baby gates help give literal boundaries that baby cannot cross. Good places for gates would be at the top and bottom of stairs, kitchen, long hallways, or anywhere that you prefer.
There are many styles and options for gates that can go with your decor. Safety and style, yes please!Just be sure to measure the area so you can get the right size for your space. We tried a couple of different gates, and the gate that works well for our house complements our decor and even gets compliments!
Contain, Cover, or Remove Items
This goes for any fragile decor or loose items on shelves that are within baby’s reach. Like I said earlier, babies and toddlers do not have good judgement when it comes to small or shiny things: that snow globe, coin collection, hard candy, pens, crayons, etc all look pretty appealing. Make it easier on yourself and just keep these things out of their reach.
Designate Baby Play Area(s)
Baby items and toys have a way getting scattered and taking over the entire house. I’d recommend getting baby friendly cabinets or shelves for toys and books to keep organized. Additionally, it helps to have at least one designated play area that baby can play in safely, especially if there are children of multiple ages at home. This way, the baby won’t be as tempted to explore the big kid toys. If your toddler is anything like my 15 month old, she prefers her 3 yr old sister’s toys to her own. We used the Diego baby gate for play area and would take it with us to their grandparents’ house too. Super easy to use and move around. If you want to enclose a small area, it can be made into a square. For larger areas, can be put into a linear configuration as in the above picture.
Where I see fireplace, she sees a cave or hideaway for her toys. You can DIY a fireplace cover with cute ideas such as covers made of wood facade, foam board, chalkboard/magnet, or fireplace gate/cover.
Two words: accidental drowning. It is the second cause of accidental deaths in children under the age of 20. The best way to baby proof this water paradise is a four sided fence that locks. No easy access for you, kiddo! Water activity only with the supervision of an adult present who knows CPR. Read more about prevention of drowning and other safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics here .
Hope these tips help you in your baby proofing adventure. Let me know what you found helpful, other tips/tricks you used, or anything else you’d like to share!
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