Your little bub is growing up and soon they’ll be tearing through the house on their own two feet. The crawling to walking and exploring stages will go faster than you expect. For your own peace of mind, here’s the baby proofing essentials you can put in place just in time for their big steps.
1) Get on their level
It’s hard to see things from a child’s perspective when you’ve been over 5ft for years now. Get yourself down to their level and see what ‘fun’ and dangerous things catch your eye. A lot of risks can be dealt with if you just take the time to identify them properly.
2) Electrical cords and outlets
- Put safety plugs over any unused sockets
- Keep appliance cords out of reach
- Leave appliances (like toasters and hair dryers) unplugged when not in use
A sudden gust of wind is the kind of thing you can’t plan but that could send a heavy door flying into your child’s body.
- Test all the doors to make sure they stay open/closed
- Fully close doors whenever possible
- Keep a collection of door stoppers to hold them open when necessary
4) Choking hazards
A collection of dust, coins and old buttons may not have bothered you before but now it’s more than just miscellaneous mess. Tidy up your floor of any small items that could pose choking risks.
Cleaning products, medicine and even vitamins are all essential adult items. You can’t live without them so you need to ensure your baby can’t find them. Always keep poisonous chemicals locked away. Better yet store them in a high up cupboard so they’re out of reach even if you forget the locks one day.
Most homes have an array of sturdy adult furniture that needs to be secured. Everything from bookcases to TV cabinets and dressers could become your child’s new climbing wall. Discourage this behaviour, of course, but also secure any heavy furniture to the floor/wall so that it is less risky. Seek out sharp corners low to the ground, such as on a coffee table, and either cover them up or consider if there’s a safer alternative for the short-term.
Install safety gates around any forbidden areas such as staircase or adult-only rooms that have common household items like toolkits, laundry chemicals or computers.
8) Blinds and curtains
Tuck away any stray pull cords that can become wrapped around your baby’s neck.
9) Beware of overdoing the baby proofing
Kathy Fray is a popular parenting writer and speaker, a senior midwife, owner of MotherWise featuring all her most favourite proven maternity products, and she is founder of the SOMCANZ conferences on Integrative Maternity HealthCare. She says that overdoing the safety measures is actually a mistake.
“A home does not need to be "toddler proofed" until the baby is mobile, ie crawling. So at around 5-6 months of age, it is time for parents to get ready for the next two years of their child being that "accident ready to happen": as a fully mobile being, with no common-sense.
I preach it’s important to avoid developing a "tide mark". There still needs to be some things within their grasp that are ‘Uh-uh, no touch, not a toy’ items, to enable you to begin to teach your little crawler-toddler the difference between right and wrong behaviour. This makes it much easier to visit homes that are not toddler-proofed.”
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10) Always re-evaluate
Baby proofing is an ongoing adventure. Things that your baby liked the look of at 7-8 months will be different by 1 year old and old news once they reach 2. As they grow they’ll be able to reach higher and climb more. The best baby proofing is the kind that grows with your child.
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Baby proofing is an important step in the parenting journey. Doing it properly means you can encourage your child’s curiosity and let them explore your home minus the risk factors.