Baby is on the move, here is what you need to do to keep your little mover safe.
There is so much to baby proof, you may feel a little overwhelmed, and a good way to stay on top of it is to start before your little one is actually on the move. In addition to starting early, consider what stage of movement your baby is in (crawling, cruising or walking) and take in your home from their point of view. Yes, crawl around on the floor to see what they see, whether it be an attractive looking outlet or a lovely chunk of power chords ripe for the pulling. Their stage of movement loosely determines what they can get into and how fast they can scoot around.
So let’s get started…
Proofing for the crawler:
Your little one has just started to move around; this is when things on the floor should be your target.
- Outlets: these can be proofed by putting stoppers in or replacing the outlet covers with childproof ones.
- Power Cords and Strips: proof power cords by bundling them together and securing them to the wall, that way if baby pulls on them the device they power won’t come tumbling down. To proof power strips you can protect them with covers and put them in an area baby can’t get to.
- Heavy Furniture: things like book shelves, TVs, dressers and anything you’re worried about tipping over should be secured to the wall, preferably to a stud.
- Window Blind Strings: either trim them or secure them well out of reach. DO NOT tie a knot in them; this could be a strangulation risk.
- The Floor: yes, baby proof the floor. Remove any small object on the floor; they could become choking hazards. In addition, if you store any chemicals on the floor anywhere in your house, they should be moved to a much higher location.
- The Stairs: we’ve all had a time when we fell down the stairs, prevent this from happening to your baby by having a gate at the bottom and top of the stairs. Make your stairs a baby free zone.
- Toys: at this point you’ve probably already done this, but your little one should not be playing with a toy they can fit in their mouth. A good way to test this is to get a toilet tissue tube and test the toys against the opening. If the toy can fit inside of the tube, it’s best not to let your baby play with it. If you come across a broken toy you should dispose of it immediately.
- Their Crib: there should be no toys, blankets or side cushions in the crib, also the crib should not have drop sides, and the slats should be no more than 2 and 3/8” inches apart. In addition, the crib should not be near a window. The Consumer Product Safety Commision enacted strict crib regulations in 2011, to see if your crib meets the requirements click here.
Proofing for the cruiser:
Your baby can now pull itself up into a standing position and walk around using the assistance of furniture for balance. Now your baby proofing has to reach a whole new level
- Breakables: anything that could break if dropped needs to be moved to a much higher location. Your baby can reach glass cups you may keep on the coffee table, switch to plastic cups or do not leave things that can be smashed on low surfaces. If you have heavy books that your baby can now pull down, it is time to either move or strap those books/objects in place.
- Table Cloths: do not use tablecloths; your little one can pull on them and bring whatever is on the table down on top of themselves.
- Crib round 2: lower your baby’s mattress to the lowest setting this way they cannot pull themselves over the rails.
- Drawers and Cabinets: put child locks on your drawers and cabinets, you don’t want your little one playing around in them.
- Appliances: secure your appliances doors, this way your baby can’t play with them or in them.
- Bathroom: remove any reachable chemicals or medicines, install a toilet seat lock and never leave your baby unsupervised in the tub.
Proofing for the walker:
Your little one is fully mobile, let the chasing begin.
- Sharp edges: “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.” Babies are not Weebles, they do fall down. Cover up sharp corners and edges, so when baby falls they don’t also get a nasty bump.
- Slips: have no slip mats in the bathroom and grips in the bathtub. Any area rug or mats in the rest of your home should be nonslip as well.
- Door knobs: you don’t want your child to open doors to places they don’t need to be. Use door knob covers to keep them from opening doors.
- Door Jams: prevent your baby from getting their fingers stuck in a door jam, put a bumper on your door to prevent it from slamming closed.
- Toy Boxes: do not have a lid on your babies toy box, they could get stuck in it or have the lid slam on their fingers.
- Baby Safe Zones: it might be time to set up gates to keep your baby from wandering all over the house. This will create baby safe zones and keep you from chasing them room to room.
Let your baby and your proofing grow together. The last and best method of baby-proofing is supervision, there is no substitution for parental supervision. Babies are very good at finding things they shouldn’t be playing with, and if you are watching them, you can make sure those discoveries don’t hurt them. Baby proofing will look different depending on your home, so be prepared to experiment and find what works best for your family.