When you are getting your home ready for a new baby, it’s exciting and fun to pick out the colors for the nursery and choose an assortment of cuddly toys. No matter your style, the most important factor in decorating your little one’s room–and in fact the whole house–is safety.
Many mothers advise putting together an exhaustive baby proofing checklist ahead of the arrival day so that you and your house are as ready as you can be for the new bundle of joy.
Here is a baby proofing checklist which will get you started from infancy through those hair-raising toddler years, when they seem to get into everything!
1. Baby Monitor
Many reliable childproofing checklists start off with the baby monitor.
Starting with their very first day home from the hospital, you will want to keep a constant eye (and ear) on their breathing. Whether they’re sleeping in their own room or you need to run to the bathroom or the laundry room for one minute, keeping a monitor on and handy at all times will let you know immediately if they are suffering any distress.
It is also delightful to be in the next room and hear your child begin to coo and giggle. As your baby learns to self-soothe and find entertainment without your constant presence, you may even be able to grab a few seconds for yourself during this busy and exhausting time in your life!
2. Stair Guards
You will not have to worry about stairs for the first few months, but baby will be toddling around sooner than you think. Once the child becomes active, a staircase presents one of the greatest risks in the household.
Babies take a while to develop depth perception and they also have no idea how to navigate the steps to the living room or the basement. Staircase barricades or gates will prevent your little one from going down head first.
They can also keep them out of areas where there are lots of dangerous or delicate objects, like the kitchen or the living room.
Like all baby products, check out Consumer Reports or other informational websites to make sure the stair gate you purchase has been thoroughly tested. You want to know that it is reliable and sturdy.
3. Security System
A good security system is imperative for a home with a new baby, and for any family at all who wants to be sure they are safe from intruders.
Many security systems now may be remotely activated through an app, so you can check in while you are away. If you are nervous about the new babysitter, these security systems will allow you to take a peek to make sure everything is going well at home.
The best security systems do more than alert you to anyone trying to break into your home. They may issue a sound if someone opens the front or back door. As parents of toddlers know, sometimes little Billy decides to take a walk outside in the middle of the night without telling anyone!
A security system will let you know everyone’s comings and goings. It may give you views of all areas of the house and grounds. Its mere presence will deter any home intruders, so you can rest easy knowing that you and your children are safe.
4. Drawer Catches and Cabinet Locks
Little fingers get into everything! You may discover that your toddler’s curiosity leads to some pretty risky adventures.
Make sure your knives and other sharp objects are secured in drawers that have a special catch or similar safety feature. You should also protect any prescription medications you might keep in bathroom drawers.
Lock up your cleaning supplies and other hazardous chemicals.
Cabinet locks are also important to prevent kids from using the armoire as a jungle gym. Youngsters may try to climb large pieces of furniture to reach the pretty things they see inside. They not ony run the risk of breaking things, but they can even pull the entire heavy piece of furniture on top of tehmselves!
5. Outlet Covers
Electrical outlets are fascinating to little ones, and they are often right at eye level. Kids may be tempted to explore why lights turn on or vacuum cleaners start working when they are plugged into one of these things.
Don’t let your little one get electrocuted by sticking his fingers into these devices. There are plenty of inexpensive plastic covers that can be placed directly into the outlets to deter little hands. There are even stylish options!
6. Radiator Covers
Burns are a terrible risk for little ones, and they can happen with even the most minimal contact with everyday items, like the stovetop or your radiator.
You can keep your radiator covered to protect against accidents with a great brand, like LST Radiator Covers. A well-made cover will look attractive, won’t interfere with the heating of your home, and makes certain that every member of the family is safe from accidental bumps in the night.
7. Toilet Locks
Kids do seem attracted to the most germ-laden spots in the home, don’t they? Toddlers quickly develop a fascination for the potty, long before they are even close to using it for what it’s made to be used for.
You need to find efficient latches which prevent little Jenny from bathing the dog in the bowl, or slamming it open and shut repeatedly. You also may want to include devices which prevent repeated flushings.
In addition to saving on water bills and the exasperation of taking your child out of the toilet again, locking up the WC prevents more serious water-related accidents.
8. Table Edges
Many grownups will show you their scar on their eyebrow, gained from an unfortunate run-in with a coffee table during their formative years. Luckily, nowadays you can purchase soft, cushy corner covers which will soften the blow when baby’s head comes into contact with the sharp edge.
These clever life hacks can be used on kitchen islands, dining room tables, and TV carts: anything with a pointy edge that could cause injury to an active little person with poor depth perception and a lot of energy.
9. Car Seat
Safety must extend beyond the home, and it is the law in most places that a child under a certain age and weight must be strapped into a regulation-compliant car seat if they are riding in an automobile.
Many new parents are flummoxed on how exactly to place the seat in the car and how to strap their child in. Ask for help at the hospital where baby is going to be born: you may not be able to leave the premises after the birth unless you are properly equipped!
10. Fire Extinguisher
Part of keeping children safe is not only preventing the accidents they themselves may cause. You also want to protect them from the random “acts of God” that can hurt them, like fires, floods, and other disasters.
If you have a working fireplace or wood burning stove in your house, you should always have a fire extinguisher handy. Stray sparks can cause irreparable damage.
Fires can also result from faulty electrical wiring, lightning strikes, or a dropped candle or cigarette. Better be safe than sorry: always keep proper fire extinguishing equipment on each floor of the house. And make sure the batteries in your fire detectors are up to date!
11. Pool Alarms
Accidental drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children. Approximately 350 children die per year in pools in the United States.
If you have a swimming pool on your property, you are probably legally required to install child safety gates. You are advised to go the extra distance by installing alarms and other safety devices which can notify everyone nearby if something enters the pool when no one else is around.
If you live near a body of water or if your neighbor has a pool, a security system with an alarm is a good way make sure little Johnny isn’t sneaking out for a forbidden dip (see above, #3).
12. Compliant Cribs
Sadly, not all cribs and baby beds are made with the highest safety standards. Check to see if the bed you are considering has slats spaced in such a way that a child’s head will not get stuck in between them.
The best products will have a certification sticker from a trusted organization like the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association.
You may want to use the heirloom cradle made by your great-grandfather, but sometimes modern furniture is the safest choice for your precious infant.
13. Curtain Pulls
Another hidden danger to children are the curtains and window dressings that may hang close to their cribs. Be careful of any strings or cords which might get accidentally looped around their necks.
Baby Proofing Checklist: Start Early and Stay Vigilant
If you are creating your own baby proofing checklist, you can take the advice of your friends and family to see what is essential to maintaining a safe environment.
But every home is unique. Keep your eyes open to what dangers may lurk in your particular abode. And keep watching as your children grow: as they get more mobile and dextrous, they are liable to get into even more scrapes.
Children are endlessly innovative when it comes to getting into things. In this situation, it is best to observe Murphy’s Law–if you think they might get into some trouble in a certain way, they probably will.
The best scenario will be that you will have all of these protective measures in place and they never have to be put into practice!
BY DALE HARRIS