Baby-Proofing your Home

From the moment that you that first positive result on a pregnancy test, your world begins to change. Everything you do, everywhere you go, and every meal you prepare is made in consideration of your child-to-be. We spend hours looking at clothing and furniture and obsessing about exactly which developmental stages are evolving from day to day. We can hardly think of anything else.

Experienced parents are full of advice about things that a new mom might never even consider. Suddenly there are many issues to consider: pacifier or no pacifier; co-sleeping or crib; cloth diapers or disposable; breastfeeding or formula. Your life becomes a whirlwind of decision-making. Tons of advice will begin flowing from people who can be quite emphatic about their points-of-view.

One issue that may not come up until it’s too late is baby-proofing your home. It will probably be the furthest thing from your mind during your pregnancy and your first few weeks of motherhood. You will see that so much changes in your daily schedule and priorities that, at least for a while, you can only manage necessities. This is the very reason that you need to baby-proof before the baby arrives.

Here’s a test to see how safe your home is for a young explorer: Get down on your hands and knees and crawl around on the floor looking for the following hazards:

Breakables

Are there any items made from materials like glass or ceramics? If a crawling child were to accidentally break such an object, like a figurine or glass bowl, it could cause serious harm. Try to find a new home for these types of objects, perhaps on a high shelf or on a table that is above the level of your waist.

Fragrances

Be aware that fragrant decorative items such as potpourri or essential oils could be harmful or fatal if swallowed. It is best to remove them from common areas completely and keep them secured somewhere that is not accessible to your little explorer.

Choking Hazards

When you make an okay sign with your hand, the opening between your thumb and forefinger approximates the size of an adult windpipe. While on your hands and knees, make sure there is nothing that could fit through that space. Young children love to put everything into their mouths and as a result, they could easily choke on an object that fits in their mouth but is too large to completely swallow. If in doubt, relocate the object.

Greenery

If you have live plants, dried, or artificial floral arrangements in your home you need to be aware that some of them are poisonous. Even if they are not, they will not last long if they are accessible to a little explorer. Dried or artificial flowers will be promptly picked apart and destroyed and live plants will be unearthed, although with much delight. If you want to keep live plants displayed in your home, you can check online or with your local greenhouse staff to ensure that the variation you have wouldn’t be harmful if ingested.

Physical dangers

There are some dangers that cannot be removed, such as stairs and fireplaces. There are several ways that you can protect your little one from these hazards. You can purchase a gate that will block your child from the stairs. Just measure the area and note the types of building materials at the point of access in order to make your selection easier. If you have a fireplace, you may consider barrier gates that can be purchased in sections to block off a specific area. This will keep little hands away from being scorched on the customary fireplace screens. These barriers can also be used to create a large safe play area in the room you plan to use most often.

Chemical products

Although it is customary to keep bug spray, bleach, and various detergents under the kitchen sink, this may pose a serious danger for your child. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, your little explorer will likely be spending many hours there with you. It is important that hazards like this are either placed above waist level, perhaps in rectangular plastic container on a shelf inside the pantry, or in a lower cabinet that has a child-safe lock. There are several different toddler locks that can be found at baby stores. Make sure to look closely at your cabinet before you shop to help you choose the best one for your home.

These are just some of the items that may be of danger to a little explorer. It is important to provide your child with a safe environment with developmentally appropriate objects to play with. If you are unsure of what type of toy would be best for your child’s age, ask your healthcare provider or consult other reliable sources. You can be free to enjoy each stage of your parenthood when you keep safety a top priority.