Caring for a new baby extends beyond feeding, clothing, and diapering to the safety of your home. Though your dwelling may seem relatively safe, new babies have uncanny powers for getting into things. Before welcoming the new arrival, take time to baby proof all areas of the home that could pose a threat to your little one’s safety. Use this ultimate babyproofing checklist to get started.
Tackle Babyproofing Checklist Early
“Parents should start thinking about babyproofing their home before their newborn comes home from the hospital,” Callie Hamilton, certified pediatric sleep consultant, tells Parentology.
Hamilton says this is especially important before purchasing new baby products, as many parents buy items with intentions that go against manufacturer recommendations. Her advice: look for items specifically designed for a child’s sleep space and an infant’s sleeping routine.
Danny Ray, founder of PinnacleQuote Life Insurance Specialists, seconds Hamilton’s advice. “The earlier the better,” he tells Parentology. “Being proactive even before your little one can get into mischief would be the best path. Remember, it’s better to be weeks or months early than one second too late.”
Strap It Down
Your flatscreen television, dressers and bookshelves may seem secure, but when your eight-month-old tries to use one to pull themselves up, it could come crashing down. Baby proof cabinets and furniture by screwing the backs to the walls or strapping them to the floor. If you have any heavy items on top of furniture, such as stereos, large books or heavy lamps, strap those down as well. While you’re at it, put bumpers on any item with sharp edges.
Block It Off
Stairs, hallways, kitchen entryways — there may be several rooms and spaces in your house you don’t want your toddler wandering without you present. If the entryway doesn’t have a door, use a baby gate to block it off. Baby proof the stairs at both ends to prevent accidents from occurring going up or down.
For spaces that do have doors, be sure to baby proof the door handle. Door level locks prevent baby from opening a door even if it’s unlocked.
Children are fascinated with the toilet. If you don’t want to lose precious items to the commode, put a latch on it.
While babyproofing the bathroom, remember to lock the cabinets, unplug all cords, hide the razors and clippers, and put away the cosmetics as well.
Vital is making sure all medications — even those with safety caps — are stored out of sight and reach.
Cover Electrical Outlets
When your baby learns to crawl, electrical outlets will be right in his or her line of vision. Use baby proof outlet covers to hide them and ensure your little doesn’t stick something in one out of curiosity.
Tie Up the Blinds
Dangling blind cords are a very real choking risk. Tie them up so they’re out of reach. Also, never place your child’s crib or bed near a blind-covered window.
Get on Baby’s Level
“I recommend parents get on the same level as the child,” Lauren Elliot, a family nurse practitioner, tells Parentology.
“Get on your knees,” Elliot clarifies. “My patients’ parents laughed until several reported finding things, such as exposed nails, jagged edges, dead bugs and a host of other hazards not visible from an adult’s vantage point. This very simple act makes a huge difference.”
Babyproofing the house is essential to your baby’s health and safety and to your peace of mind. Take time to do it properly before you bring your bundle of joy home.
Babyproofing Checklist — Sources
WebMD: Slideshow: Baby Proofing Essentials
babycenter: Childproofing Your Bathroom
Callie Hamilton, CSSC, Slumber and Swoon Sleep Consulting, LLC
Danny Ray, Founder of PinnacleQuote Life Insurance Specialists
Lauren Elliot, Family Nurse Practitioner