How do we babyproof our house?
Babyproofing your home is an important step to keep your little ones safe and protected. CareNectar expert Shenley Seabrook shares some guidance on best approaches for your babyproofing journey!
We are expecting a new baby any day now! Do you have any guidance for babyproofing our home? When do you suggest we start the process?
First off, congratulations! While you will have some time to plan for babyproofing, time will certainly fly! Before you know it, your little one will be mobile. A good time to start babyproofing is some time before they are able to roll over. Typically, that ends up being at about 4 months old, although it could happen earlier.
Here are some tips to you started on your babyproofing journey.
- Get on the ground. This might seem like a strange suggestion, but someone told me once that the best way to babyproof is to literally crawl around your house and look for spots that would be dangerous for a crawling baby. You will notice things like electrical outlets, blind or curtain cords, sharp corners on furniture, power cords, and maybe even a fireplace. Then, purchase tight-fitting electrical outlet covers, find a way to tie up cords or change out window coverings, get padding for sharp corners, and figure out the best way to keep your baby away from the fireplace.
- Practice keeping doors closed. Babies and toddlers can get hurt if the get into a bathroom or bedroom alone, and it only takes a minute for an accident to happen. Once your baby is tall enough to open a doorknob, you can invest in babyproof doorknob covers or latch style locks, but in the meantime, practice closing doors each time you leave a room, making sure to double check that it’s closed all the way.
- Identify and secure heavy objects. If you have items that can fall over like a television on a stand, dresser, or bookshelf, you will want to find a way to make sure these items are secure. Once a baby can start pulling up on furniture and other items, these can be extremely dangerous. Safety straps are a good way to keep these items secure and less likely to tip over.
- Look for small objects. Do a sweep of the house and attempt to identify any objects a crawling baby might be tempted to put in their mouth. Keep in mind that some babies are more curious than others. When our daughter was 9 months old, she figured out how to unscrew the rubber end off of the doorstop in our entryway and was seconds from putting it in her mouth when we realized what she was doing. It’s something we never would have thought to worry about!
- Use gates for stairs. If your home has stairs, you should have a safety gate at the top and get used to closing and/or locking any doors that lead to stairwells. You will want to look for a gate that a coordinated toddler can’t unlock or climb over.
- Lock up medicine and chemicals. Most people who have children are great about keeping medications, cleaning products, and alcohol out of reach of their small children, but I always say it’s best to have these items locked away. In our house, we use a small tool box with a combination lock for medicine. It stays in a high cabinet and it works well for us. We also keep our cleaning supplies and other items we don’t want children to get into in our laundry room closet that we can lock and open it with a key. Yes, it’s an extra step when we want to grab something to clean with, but it’s well worth it. You can also purchase safety latches and locks for kitchen cabinets once your baby is able to open them on their own.
- Secure windows. This is one safety tip that many people leave out when they think about babyproofing. If you have small children, windows should be secured so that they are not able to open more than a few inches. This lessens the possibility that they will be able to fall out of a window. You can purchase window guards or window stops to achieve this.
Finally, use common sense when it comes to babyproofing. It’s easy to go overboard and follow your child everywhere to make sure they never get hurt, but that’s just impossible to keep up. By following the steps above, you will be creating a safe space for your baby to explore.
The CareNectar team is here for you if you have any other questions!
Meet The Expert
Shenley Seabrook is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who works primarily with children and adolescents in a private practice setting. She is also a foster parent and lives with her husband and daughter in Indiana. Shenley recently wrote her first children’s book, We Have the Same Heart, which celebrates diversity, inclusion, and community service.