The Baby-Proofing Checklist for the Safest Home Possible
Baby-proofing: It’s one of the most important things to take care of, and yet hardly the most glamorous. Plus, it’s usually overlooked until an accident happens. I mean, you don’t think to put bumpers on that glass coffee table. . . until your little one gets a huge gash across his forehead! Locks on the toilet? Silly! . . . Until you catch your baby taking a sip!
There are so many parts of the house that are potentially dangerous for your child. Try it out for yourself— get around on all fours and see what you could pull, climb on, or stick your finger in. You’ll be surprised to see how accessible things are, even to someone who can’t even walk!
All around the home...
Most new windows come with security locks that prevent kids from opening them past a certain height. You can purchase security locks at your local home or hardware store if yours don’t have them built in. These window guards are crucial, especially for rooms on the second story floor or higher.
Make sure to keep any climbable furniture away from the window, so as not to give your kiddos any ideas.
To prevent strangulation, or that getting caught in the web look, keep curtain and blind cords out of your little one’s reach. Get these simple wind-up devices rather than cutting and permanently damaging the cords.
Getting your fingers trapped in a door hinge is no joke... imagine it happening to those little, delicate fingers (and believe me, it will happen quite often!) Get these finger pinch guards, and place them on commonly used doors.
Because they’re right at your little crawler’s reach, power outlets just spell disaster. Prevent an accidental (and potentially fatal) electric shock by sticking outlet plugs all over your home.
Falls, scratches, and bumps are all part of growing up. But those sharp steel and glass edges show no mercy, and your kid will be marked for life! Save them multiple trips to the hospital and get these stick-on corner pads.
Worried you’ll damage the furniture? These elastic bumpers, although a total eye-sore, cover corners AND edges, and come right off without any sticky residue.
Place these gates above and below staircases to prevent dangerous falls. You could also set one up by the kitchen entryway, where sharp and scorching things abound. Besides, you’ll be sure of your little one’s whereabouts.
Purchase these wall-mounting kits and secure everything to the wall— bookcases, dressers, tall furniture, and everything else that can fall over when climbed on or during an earthquake.
Speaking of climbing furniture, make sure to completely fill up the bottom rows of your shelves to prohibit your little one from climbing them. And keep your heaviest items on the bottom for extra stability!
Oh, cabinets. Home to delicate china, sharp cutlery, power tools, toxic chemicals, and all the things you don’t want near your child. Keep those curious little kids from prying into them by installing simple cabinet door locks. You’ll still have easy access, but those kids will give up after a minute or two, and find something else to play with (like toys, if you’re lucky!).
Plants are a lovely way to add a touch of nature indoors. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they also pull toxins from all over and keep the air clean! But before you will fill your home with all the foliage you can get your hands on, be mindful of your little ones— kids AND pets!
Plants like daffodils, oleanders, peace and Easter lilies, and sago palms are toxic when ingested. Plants such as English ivies and weeping figs are huge irritants and can cause severe rashes and even breathing problems. Most holiday plants (hollies, poinsettia, and mistletoe) are particularly problematic. Unless you can keep these plants out of reach, it’s best to stick with safer alternatives.
In the Bedroom...
Make sure your sheets are nice and snug. If they’re loose enough to come undone, they pose the risk of suffocation.
We say forego the crib bumper altogether, but if the thought of your little one’s arm or leg getting caught in the railing really irks you, make sure to tie the bumper cords on the outside nice and tight, and cut the ends short.
Your baby doesn’t really need pillows. Sure, they add a decorative touch, but they can potentially suffocate babies. And your toddlers can pile them up, use them as a stepping stool, and fall off the crib. Skip ‘em.
In the Kitchen...
Stove and Oven Locks
If your stove controls are located in the front rather than high on top, make sure to purchase stove knob covers. They’ll prevent your kid’s hands… oh—and the whole house—from getting burned. Make sure to invest in oven locks as well; especially if yours is located at toddler height.
Just as a precaution, whether you’re boiling water, steaming stews, or deep frying with oil, make sure to use the back burners so your kiddo can’t reach over and tip the scalding pots and pans onto themselves.
If you have your knives on the countertops and other sharp kitchen tools like peelers, graters, meat pounders, and corkscrews in accessible drawers, move them out of sight and stick them in higher cabinets.
In the Bathroom...
Make sure to keep poisonous cleaning products out of sight and in cabinets with locks. Same goes for beauty products like toners, creams, serums, face capsules, nail polish, acetone, small Q-Tips, cotton balls, sharp nail clippers with nail files, tweezers, and other things commonly stored in the bathroom... Cosmetics tend to come in flashy bottles that will surely grab your little one’s attention, so it’s best to keep them hidden.
Put all medicine (pills, syrups, ointments, creams, etc.) where your little one can’t reach them. No matter how mild the medication is, say aloe gel or some homeopathic drops, your child should not be able to access it at all. If you can fit your first aid kit [hyperlink to first aid kit article] in the medicine cabinet, great! Otherwise, find another (high or locked) place for it.
It may be funny when the dog’s in it... but your own child? Yeech! Not only is the toilet disgustingly filthy, those dissolving cleaning tablets are highly poisonous. Plus, flushed toys will clog up the pipes. Oh, and there is a risk of drowning. Put a lock on the seat, and put an end to toilet fishing.
Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, max. Not only does it prevent your child from getting accidentally burned, but it also saves a substantial amount of energy.
If you’re lucky enough to own a pool, make sure to get a fence installed around it until your child knows how to swim really well (it’ll take a few years.) Don’t worry about permanently ruining your backyard — pool gates are low-profile, lightweight, and absolutely temporary. You can do it yourself, but we recommend getting them installed by professionals to make sure they’re secure.
Rakes, forks, shovels, hoes, mowers, hedge trimmers, pruners, and loppers are things horror movies are made of. Keep them in a locked shed or storage chest.
What are some of your baby-proofing tips – and mishaps? Let us know!
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