How to Baby Proof Your House Before the Baby Comes
March 13, 2020
When you are expecting a new baby it can be easy to walk through the aisles of the stores and see all the different baby-proofing gear. Many parents ask if they should just put their baby in a bubble. Add to that the many articles about things that could happen to your baby and it could leave you terribly worried. Here’s the thing. Some of those items are needed while others can be a bit excessive. We have some tips to help you learn how to baby proof your house before the baby comes.
How to Baby Proof Your House Before the Baby Comes
Many parents will ask why babyproofing in the kitchen should be done before you bring home the baby. While it can seem silly to babyproof for a newborn, babies grow quickly and you may not have time later. Taking the time while you are expecting to focus on babyproofing can help you to be ready when your child becomes mobile. Here are some tips for babyproofing the kitchen.
5 Tips for Babyproofing the Kitchen
Have a safe cabinet - One way to help children learn to leave the other cabinets alone is to have a safe cabinet. Put items like Tupperware or pots and pans in here. This is the cabinet you will let your little one open and play in without consequence. When babies start to crawl and explore, having a cabinet that is allowed to be played in can make a world of difference.
Child locks for cabinets and drawers - When you are babyproofing it can be tempting to add child-safe locks to every cabinet and drawer. While this can’t hurt, it can feel overwhelming when you just want to open your cabinets or drawers easily. Instead, opt to add these locks to cabinets that contain cleaning supplies, dishes that can break, and drawers that have knives or unsafe utensils. By simplifying it to only the cabinets that have contents that could be a safety issue you will still be protecting your baby without overwhelming yourself.
Medicine - Many people will store medications in the kitchen. If this is you, please make sure that you have a child safety lock on the cabinet or drawer that medications are in. A curious child can quickly get into these medications. Because of the way many medicines look, small children can think these are candy. Having them safely locked away can save your child from any medication-related accidents. A first aid kit is also an excellent idea, but remember to also keep it safely locked away.
Get a garbage can with a lid - Babies are very curious as they get mobile. This doesn’t exclude the garbage can either. Make sure to have a garbage can with a lid. While this may seem simple, it can save you a mess in a big way.
Keep appliances and pots and pans away from their reach - When you are setting up your counter space, make sure that all small appliances such as blenders are pushed to the back of the counter. As your baby gets more mobile, they are more likely to try pulling things down. When cooking, make sure all pot handles are turned inward on the stove and not hanging over the edge. The goal is to make sure there is nothing a small child can easily reach up and grab.
Babyproofing the Nursery
When preparing a nursery it can be easy to focus on what is most aesthetically pleasing. It is also important to look at how certain things function and do a safety check. Taking a few extra minutes on babyproofing can make a world of difference. Even better, you don’t have to buy as much as you think. Here are some tips for babyproofing the nursery.
5 Tips for Babyproofing the Nursery
Secure dressers and changing tables to the wall - Items like dressers and changing tables can fall as babies start to get mobile and try to climb or pull up. Use a simple mounting kit you can get at most home improvement stores to secure these items. With a few screws, you can easily secure these furniture pieces to avoid them falling on your little one.
Crib and bedding - While a lot of the bedding on the market is cute, not everything is needed. While crib bumpers are often part of a set, there are many studies that show that these can pose a suffocation risk. Instead, opt for a breathable bumper option (Aff). When shopping for a crib, make sure that you are not getting one with drop down sides. Using a hand-me-down crib can be a great way to save money but drop down sides are a potential safety risk. When setting up the crib, opting for a new mattress is also a smart investment as many studies share that crib mattresses break down over time and release harmful chemicals.
Changing Tables - The changing table can quickly become a one-stop storage station for many items. This can be a big help when you are caring for a baby and you are tired. However, it is important to have certain items secured. Make sure that any infant medication is in a sealed child-safe container. Likewise, items like baby powder or vaseline should be beyond the reach of the child. Not only will it protect them, but it will also save you from a mess later on. Keep a diaper bag nearby so it is within reach for quick changes. For more tips on changing diapers without the mess, click here.
Toys and play storage - When you are planning an area for toy storage, be sure to secure all toy organizers to the wall. If you decide to use a toy box, make sure to invest in one that has a slow-close lid. Children can quickly smash their fingers in a lid that closes too quickly.
Curtains and blinds - When decorating a room with curtains or blinds make sure to secure cords and pull strings out of the baby’s reach. Tying them a bit higher out of reach can be a wise way to avoid safety hazards from these cords. You will also want to make sure the crib is not right next to these curtains or blinds so that your infant can’t reach out and mess with these cords.
Babyproofing the Bathroom
The bathroom is one of the main areas you will want to focus your time on when babyproofing. There are a few potential areas that could quickly become an issue for a baby. Many of the fixes are simple and will involve minimal time. However, changing these small things can make a world of difference in protecting your baby. Here are some tips for babyproofing the bathroom.
5 Tips for Babyproofing the Bathroom
Secure cabinets and drawers with child-safe locks - Many of the items kept in the bathroom should be kept out of reach of small children. This is one area where all cabinets and drawers should have child-safe locks. If you are not planning to secure all drawers and cabinets, please make sure to secure any that have cleaning products, body washes or shampoos, and razors or q tips. Having these items inaccessible to a baby is incredibly important.
Tub - One simple way to babyproof the tub is to make sure you always fully drain it when you are done using it. A baby can drown in as little as two inches of water. Make sure to fully drain your tub when you are done to avoid an accident. You will also want to make sure items such as razors are put away after use. Another help is to put a child-safe cover on the faucet and to teach your baby to sit at all times in the tub.
Counters - When babyproofing the bathroom make sure all items that could be hazardous are pushed to the back of the counter out of their reach. These can include curling irons, blow dryers, or hair and face treatment items. By having these out of reach you reduce the risk of injury from a burn or from an item being pulled down by the baby.
Keep medications in a child-safe locked cabinet or drawer - Even if a medication has a child-safe lid, that doesn’t mean it is safe. Many small children can learn to open these. Keep all medications in a child-safe locked cabinet or drawer to avoid accidents. (If your child does get into medication, contact poison control immediately. We recommend programming the number into your phone. (800) 222-1222)
Toilet - When babyproofing the toilet opting for a simple toilet lid lock can be a big help. These are easy to install and make it a bit more difficult for babies to open the toilet. Make sure the caps on the sides of the toilet are secure as well as these can be a choking hazard. It is also important to make sure that any toilet cleaning products you might have, have been stored in a locked cabinet until they are needed.
Babyproofing the Laundry Room
With many stories about laundry room related incidents with small children, it can be scary to think of babyproofing. It doesn’t have to leave you worried. In fact, babyproofing the laundry room can be easier than you think. There are some simple ways for babyproofing the laundry room. Here are some simple tips to help you.
5 Tips for Babyproofing the Laundry Room
Secure laundry soaps and sprays - There have been many stories about toddlers who have been put in an emergency room because of consuming laundry soap pods. Make sure that all laundry soaps and sprays are put away in a locked cabinet or out of the reach of small children.
Put pre-treated laundry out of reach - Getting stains out of laundry can sometimes involve pre-treating a piece with a special chemical or spray. Make sure these items are stored out of reach of your baby or toddler. This may mean hanging certain items up or putting them at the back of the top of the washer.
Use a child lock on washers/dryers - Another way to protect your baby is to use a simple child lock on your washer and dryer doors. Small children can try to climb inside of the dryer. Alternatively, you can simply put a child-safe lock on the door to the laundry room to keep them out of it.
Be careful of how you place washers and dryers - Once your baby starts to crawl they will want to explore. This means crawling behind things they probably shouldn’t at times. Make sure your washer and dryer is positioned in a way that discourages crawling behind or beside them. By doing this you will protect your baby from getting behind your washer or dryer. It also protects them from finding something on the floor you didn’t see that is a choking hazard.
Keep the iron out of reach - If you keep your iron in your laundry room, you will want to make sure this is out of reach of your baby/toddler. This might mean storing it in a cabinet when not in use or having a high shelf for it. Babies are very fast and can quickly pull down these items on themselves. Setting a safe space for these items can protect your baby from an accident.
Babyproofing the Living Room
Babyproofing the living areas such as a living room can be simple yet often overlooked. Taking some time now to do some babyproofing in these areas can make a world of difference. Even better, many of the ways to babyproof these sections of the house are extremely simple. Here are some tips for babyproofing the living room in your home. Let’s simplify this babyproofing process.
5 Tips for Babyproofing the Living Room
Secure furniture to walls - Items like the tv, some bookshelves, and side tables can be risks to small children if they pull on them. Take some time to get a kit that will help you secure some of these furniture items to the walls so they are less likely to fall. You don’t need to secure all the furniture. However, if you have an item that is more top-heavy securing it will prevent an issue in the future. You can find a kit to do this at your local home improvement store.
Put breakable items out of reach - When a baby starts to crawl, they get incredibly curious about everything. This can mean those breakable items such as knick-knacks can be pulled off a shelf in a hurry. While you can teach them in time to leave these things alone, having them out of reach when they are smaller is a good way to protect those items but more importantly to protect your baby. Take some time to secure these items on a higher shelf or move to a room the baby is less likely to frequent.
Use outlet covers - When a baby or toddler gets more mobile they like to explore their surroundings. This means they may try to put things in a power outlet to see what happens. Having outlet covers on any exposed outlets can protect your child from an accident. You can pick up a large pack of these outlet covers on most websites and in stores that sell baby items. There are many different varieties. Pick the one that works best for your home.
Secure doors and drawers - Many living rooms have drawers and cabinet doors for storage of items. When your baby starts to explore, they will want to open and shut these often. Use a child-safe lock or latch to protect these areas. You will want to install these on any cabinets or drawers that have items you don’t want your child to get into. However, you will also want them on any cabinets or drawers the baby could pinch their fingers in.
Cover cords or secure cords - In many living rooms, there are countless cords. Whether those are running to the tv, computer, or other devices, they can actually become an issue. Take some time to secure these behind a secured television stand or under a cord protector. Small children can pull on these cords or even try to chew on them. Having these items less accessible to babies and toddlers can make a world of difference.
Babyproofing the Garage
The garage can be an area filled with safety hazards for a baby or a toddler. If you bring your baby in the garage with you while you work in there, you will want to make sure your baby or toddler is safe. This will mean some simple babyproofing will need to be done. Here are some tips for babyproofing the garage. You can still do what you need to with a little one.
5 Tips for Babyproofing the Garage
Secure all paint and chemicals - The garage is a common area to store items like paint, chemicals, and lawn products. While these can be fantastic to have on hand, they are unsafe for a baby to get into. Take some time to secure these in a cabinet or location with a child-safe lock your child can’t access. By taking some time to do this you can prevent issues related to ingesting or touching these items.
Move tools and lawn equipment - Tools and lawn equipment can quickly become safety hazards. Take some time to move tools and lawn equipment away from areas your baby/toddler can go. This might be moving items to a high shelf or to put them behind a closet door in your garage.
Put a child-safe lock on the garage door - If you don’t want your baby or toddler in the garage at all, a child-safe lock on the door to the garage can be a great deterrent. This might mean using a lock or a door handle that small children can’t open. You can get a good door child-safe lock at the store or opt for a latch or lock that goes to the top of the door. (Getting a simple alarm for the door at the dollar store can be a way to let you know if your small child still finds a way into the garage.)
Set up a baby-safe area in your garage - Another way to babyproof the garage is to set up an area that is safe for your baby or toddler to play while working in the garage. This might mean using a playpen or a baby gate to give them an area they can safely play while you work in areas that aren’t babyproofed.
Lock all appliances and unplug power tools - Many garages are the ideal place for storing deep freezers or an extra refrigerator. Having a child-safe lock on these can protect your child from getting into things they shouldn’t. For power tools, unplug these when they are not in use. This simple step can protect your baby or toddler if they get into the garage unseen.
Babyproofing the Car
When focusing on babyproofing, many people don’t think to spend some time working on the car. However, there are some dangers to be found in a car that can easily be avoided. These simple tweaks don’t have to be stressful. Check out these simple tips for babyproofing the car.
5 Tips for Babyproofing the Car
Use child-safe door locks - Many vehicles will have child locks on the back doors of a vehicle. You can get to these by opening the door and looking on the side of the door where it would meet the car when the door is closed. By moving this to lock, you will make it so that your baby or toddler cannot open the door. This can be a huge help if you have a toddler who likes to try to get unbuckled when in the car.
Use child-safe window locks - In the same way that you should lock the doors, locking the windows can be a big help. Babies and toddlers are curious little ones. They love to push buttons and explore anything within reach. Locking the windows can keep them from opening the windows on a drive. Most cars will have this feature on the driver window control portion.
Put away sharp or chemical items - Keeping items like scissors or oil in the car can be helpful in an emergency. The same is true for a quality first aid kit. Take some time to stow these items in the back of the vehicle or out of reach of small children. Having these out of reach but accessible can make a world of difference.
Secure unused seatbelts - Unused seatbelts can become a choking hazard. Any unused seatbelts should either be out of reach or secured by buckling them in. This simple step can make a world of difference.
Never leave your keys in the car - When running back and forth from the car to the house it can be tempting to leave the keys in the car for just a minute. This is a huge safety issue as babies and toddlers can learn to get out of their car seats. The last thing you want is to have your child put the car into drive or reverse while you are not in it.
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