If there’s a baby in the house, or one coming for a visit, you have some work to do. Smart families babyproof their home even before baby comes home from the hospital. But where to begin? Each year there are thousands of home accidents that could have been prevented with some foresight into the active lives of babies and toddlers.
To begin, take a look at your home from hands and knees position. Notice any sharp corners that need to be padded. Locate any small objects that might be choking hazards. Where are there electrical outlets that need to be covered and where might there be cords from curtains or blinds that could be dangerous? Are there items on tables or on the floor that could be tipped over or pulled down on a baby?
Take the tour and then take action. Cover all electrical plugs and check that the cords are not too long, posing a choking threat. Do the toilet paper roll check with all small objects. If the object can fit through the tube, it’s too small for baby. Place latches on all cupboard doors and place safety gates at the bottom of stairways. Never place a gate at the top of a flight of stairs because of the possibility of baby climbing over and falling all the way down. This may be an excellent time to simplify the décor of your home as the baby will crawl, walk and then become an inquisitive toddler eager to learn all about the world around her.
Take note of dangers within reach of the crib and never allow a baby to sleep with a bib or anything else around their necks. Store all cleaning products and anything else that may be dangerous, such as medicines, up high and with a child safety lock. Be mindful of objects in your purse that might be within reach of baby. Even while doing a project such as cleaning, be aware of the danger posed to children. Remove water or cleaning products from any area baby can reach.
When you’re too busy to supervise baby closely, be sure to place him in a crib, a swing or other safe spot. Babies and toddlers are lightning quick and must be closely supervised at all times.
When your baby begins to walk, it’s time to do another home check. Now baby can reach higher and move faster. Be careful of portable heaters, fans, sharp objects such as scissors and be sure that clear glass windows have decals on them. Note the areas in which a chair could be moved and climbed on—even kitchen counters are not safe if baby can find a way to get there.
If there are older children in the home, you’ll need to have rules in place for use of toys with small parts. Children need to be made aware of the risk to their younger siblings. Teach them to keep small objects in a designated place, such as their own bedroom or on a table, out of reach of baby hands.
For a comprehensive checklist when babyproofing your home, see Totsafe. Some other resources for a baby-safe environment may be found at: