Parents should begin to baby-proof the house when the baby has begun to move independently. Once he starts scooting around the floor, full crawling isn’t far behind. His new mobility will excite him to reach for any new object he desires and soon he’ll be using furniture to pull up to a standing position. It’s important to baby-proof any part of the house that the baby will encounter.
See Things From The Baby’s Point of View
Crawl around on all fours, just like the baby. Everything that is at your eye level will be at his. These include electrical outlets, unstable furniture and knick knacks that can be easily pulled down, heavy books near floor level, and cleaners that have been placed in floor level cabinets or on the floor itself. Protect outlets with covers, nail furniture to the wall and put cleaners and knick knacks on a higher shelf.
Protect the Baby From Poisons and Choking Hazards
Babies instinctively put things into their mouths, so it’s important to keep anything dangerous away from him. This includes household plants or flowers and soaps and detergents. Be aware of easily accessible garbage cans. Place trash receptacles into a locked cupboard to prevent the baby from reaching in and tasting dangerous items that have been thrown away. BabyCenter.com advises parents to move other items such as mouthwash, cosmetics, prescription drugs, vitamins, alcohol, plug-in fragrances and home improvement liquids such as pesticides and paint thinner.
The kitchen and bathroom can be dangerous places for a baby. Knives, blow-dryers and electrical kitchen equipment can cause injury to a baby if his curiosity causes him to grab something slightly out of reach. Put these items away on a high shelf. Additionally, BabyCenter.com encourages parents to move small foods such as nuts, raisins and colorful candy out of baby’s reach, as it can be a choking hazard.
Baby Proofing Gear
Tekla S. Nee, author of Mommy Rescue Guide: Baby’s First Year (Adams Media. 1998), advises new parents not to go crazy buying tons of baby-proofing gear. She suggests purchasing outlet covers and baby gates to protect the baby from falling down the stairs. Her preference is a gate that screws into the wall, because pressure gates may break when a child pushes against it. Thick tape will do an excellent job protecting table edges and can also cover cords. Wrap hanging cords high above the blinds instead of purchasing protective gear. However, it may also be advisable to buy child-proofing locks for cabinets that will house the cleaners and medicines.
After the basic baby-proofing, watch the baby. As he grows, he will find things that he desires and this will be the time to add to your already protected home.
Nee, Tekla S. Mommy Rescue Guide: Baby’s First Year. Massachusetts: Adams Media, 1998.
BabyCenter.com. “Child-Proofing Your Kitchen” (accessed March 20, 2011).
BabyCenter.com. “Poison-Proofing Your Home” (accessed March 20, 2011).
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