Getting your home ready for a brand new baby isn’t simple, but it’s preparing your home for a moving baby that seems to stump parents. There are aisles of baby-proofing items, books to read on the subject, specialists to invite into your home to assist you and pros you can hire to do it all for you. But baby proofing doesn’t have to be quite as hard as you think – especially if you move at the same rate your baby does.
Start with your floors. This is where your baby will first be mobile. Get down on the floor and start looking. Find any dangling cords or wires and fix them so that they can’t be pulled or chewed. Look for loose change, pins, dirt and other debris that can easily hide behind drapes and furniture. Speaking of drapes, be sure that your curtain rod is secure if your drapes come near the ground or protect your child from a braining by tying your drapes up off the ground or moving a piece of furniture, such as your sofa, in front of them.
As your baby becomes more mobile, he’ll pull up into a crawl or creep and take off in exploration. He’ll find all of your cabinets and he’ll wiggle his way through open doors. Make it a practice to keep doors shut when you’re not in the room and secure any cabinets that contain glass or other dangerous items. Better still, move all dangerous items to high cabinets or closet shelves to keep them clear of little explorers. Be wary of your stairs as well. Many babies learn to crawl up stairs long before they learn to come down safely. A gate is a wonderful safety measure for an open stairway.
Once your baby can pull up and eventually walk, everything under about four feet off the ground is subject to inspection. Move glass and dangerous items off your coffee table. Block off your fireplace. Look for cords and other things you once moved up – now you must move them even higher. Tabletop lamps, phones and other items are now at risk, so be sure they are secure. Any items on tabletops should be secured or safe for children as well as your baby’s reach will be much higher than you’d expect.
Finally, as your child enters the true toddler-hood he’ll be at the greatest risk. He’s now fully mobile and can even climb up and over things if he feels like it. Baby gates with slats instead of little holes will help with climbers. Be sure you protect any hard surfaces and corners as your little one is learning to walk. Many parents put their coffee table in the garage or storage for a while as it is a common boo-boo creator.
Toddlers also like to open doors and fit things into small places. So invest in door knob covers and try to keep all sockets covered with plastic plugs. Secure bookcases and other tall objects to the wall. Should your toddler scale your bookcase like a little monkey, you want to be sure that the shelf won’t pull down on top of him before you can get to him and pull him off.
Most importantly, even with a child-proofed home, your child is not truly safe to wander on his own throughout your home. Let him play and explore, but stay nearby should you see him climbing onto the kitchen counters or opening the dishwasher to inspect those large shiny knives you keep hidden in there.
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