Is your home baby-proof enough?
When you were expecting, you probably heard all sorts of comments regarding how life would change and how you’d not have your house back for quite a number of years. You smiled politely, but thought to yourself that it would be different for you and your child.
I am in no way a proponent for completely removing any and all things breakable and adult from a home with where a small child resides. The best place for them to learn respect for others and to establish boundaries is at home. If they have them at home, they’ll have them elsewhere.
There are things, however, that need to be done in the way of ‘baby-proofing’ that are not concessionary. These are things that are for the safety and well-being of your baby. Things that can be a matter of life and death.
Related: Home Alone
Before we go into it further, here are some baby-proofing products that could be of use.
The absolute musts
First and foremost are safety standards in regards to cribs and other baby equipment such as walkers and swings. Following guidelines for these products is necessary. They were devised after considerable testing and are for your baby’s own good.
A teething baby is non-discriminating baby. They’ll chew on anything they can get to their gums. Electrical cords should be put out of reach. Other items that are small and swallow-able should also be out of reach.
Cleaning products are brightly colored and often smell nice. A toddler doesn’t know the difference between those and juice-until it’s too late. Securely keep all poisonous products and even natural cleaners safely out of reach of children.
Windows should have secure locks and screens. Any open window should be inaccessible to a toddler. In other words, don’t put a baby or toddler’s bed or furniture they can climb on against a window that isn’t locked securely at all times.
Never leave your baby unattended on a changing table. Babies rolling from side to side, or squirming can work their way to the edge.
Put a limiter on your hot water taps in tubs and sinks they will have access to. Burns are painful-especially on tender little skin.
When it comes to bedding, don’t give a baby or toddler a pillow or heavy blankets. One large blanket you can tuck into the sides of the crib is safer than two or three they can get tangled in.
Baby gates and/or doors to basements that latch up high for more security can prevent tragic accidents. It may be a bit of a hassle, but these items are well worth the trouble. This also applies to cabinet latches.
If your door stops have those little white or black plastic caps, remove the caps. These things can be swallowed before you even notice they’re off.
Cords for mini blinds should not be left dangling. Loop them over the top of the blinds to keep them out of reach.
Sharp-edged coffee or end tables or those with glass tops should be removed and replaced with rounded edge solid pieces or the edges should be buffered with felt pads. Glass can be removed (a bit inconvenient for using the table) until your children are older.
Book shelves and chest of drawers should be securely anchored to the wall. You would be amazed at how easily those things can topple over. I know I sure was when I was looking up to see one on top of me when I was three.
Potpourri should not be reachable. The oils and chemicals are toxic, but to a baby or toddler this stuff looks like fruit snacks or cheese crackers.
If you have a priceless treasure from you great-great grandma or a first edition book, it wouldn’t hurt to put these things out of reach. These aren’t things you can replace easily-if at all. It’s just not worth risking something so special. Your toddler doesn’t mean to be destructive, but once broken or ripped, they can’t be replaced.
What not to remove
Other household items such as magazines, pictures, coasters or even house plants (non-poisonous) should be left as is. Your child needs to be taught to respect the belongings of others. They need to have limits and boundaries. They need to learn that ‘no’ means ‘no’.
Being flexible with items such as throw pillows, a magazine or two, plastic kitchenware and your sneakers will make your home less territorial and more like home to your child.
What you need
Your local hardware store or the infant/children department of discount stores and department stores will have a variety of gadgets and gizmos to help you baby-proof your home. When you purchase these items (many of which are quite helpful), make sure you follow installation instructions and operating instructions to get the maximum benefit and safety factor from these products.
Baby-proofing is part of being a great parent. No, you don’t have to give up your home-you simply need to make it a safe environment for its newest member.