Your house is a danger zone once baby starts to crawl. Everything becomes a potential hazard from their level. While there are many products available to make your home safer, some things will need to be moved just to be on the safe side.
Start with your pet’s food and water.
Splashing in water is fun, but not from the dog’s dish—ditto on the kitty litter. Our toddler grabbed it by the handful until it was out of reach but still accessible to the cat. It helped to set up a plastic bin with rice, measuring spoons, and plastic kitchen utensils for her to play in.
Plants and Dirt
Plants and dirt are too tempting not to touch, so be sure to keep them off the floor and safely out of reach. Kids love to climb into small spaces, and the fireplace will need to be cordoned off to prevent temptation. It’s never too soon to begin training them that it’s not a safe place before you start using it this winter. Also, the toilet is an endless source of fascination. Locks are a must!
Our son got into everything starting at six months old, including trying to yank the curtains off the rod.
Or he would sit in his walker, jam his shoulder up against a piece of furniture, and literally move it a few inches. I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on until I caught him trying to move my desk across the floor.
Any bookshelves, TV stands, and dressers should be tested for possible tipping. It’s best to bolt them to the wall or secure them however you can, including safety straps for the TV. And avoid hanging your dishtowel from the oven door. Baby may try to use it to pull themselves up, and the oven door will come crashing down on their head.
There are safety essentials kits that contain 50+ pieces of locks and latches. I highly recommend cabinet locks but don’t be surprised if your little Houdini can figure out how to open them as fast as you can. Outlet plugs are a must, but we also added packing tape over the plugs and the whole outlet to discourage prying little fingers. Doorknob covers are necessary, but with so many styles to choose from, make sure you can still open the door yourself.
Baby Gates, Bumps and Bruises
Even if baby has just started crawling, install baby gates! You’d be surprised how quickly they can scoot over to the stairs and attempt to climb them. Gates that swing open and can be locked are safest. I can’t tell you how many times I hurt myself as I vaulted over a baby gate to address one emergency or another.
To prevent bumps and bruises, use soft corner guards on sharp corners. Or slit open a pool noodle to fit over the edges of a coffee table or a stone hearth. The neon green foam may not fit in with your décor, but safety comes first!
Have you already moved all your cleaning products to a high shelf? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most child poisonings occur when parents are at home with their child, but not paying attention. Children should never have access to medications, nicotine, cannabis, alcohol, small objects, coins, beauty and hygiene products, or the trash.
If you need help, hire a baby-proofing company to assess your home. They can recommend and install the best products for your peace of mind.
By Kim Amato
Founder/Baby’s Bounty and Vice Chair/Maternal Child Health Coalition