The Best Ways to Baby Proof Your Home

Congrats! You’ve just brought home your wonderful little bundle of joy and are ready to begin the long and always eventful journey of parenthood. Unfortunately, this journey doesn’t come with a road map, and many objects will be closer than they appear. Even though your infant can’t lift her head or even roll over yet doesn’t mean she won’t become an unstoppable dynamo around the house in no time.

Parents need to take the time to baby proof their home well in advance of when their child actually starts climbing, crawling, and crashing through every room. Starting early will not only provide you with peace of mind knowing that your child won’t hurt himself at home, but it also ensures that you have the time to take all of the necessary precautions. Here are several tips for new parents on how to baby proof their home.

Bolt it Down

To an infant, the whole world seems like a endless playground of unexplored possibilities. This sense of wonder means your child will happily pull, climb, and grab at anything within arm’s reach. To make sure that everything stays where you intended, take the time to secure your furniture. Bookshelves, TVs, dressers, and other types of heavy furniture can all be held in place using furniture straps, which attach to the wall and prevent anything from tipping over when pulled. Parents should also place edge bumpers on any types of furniture with sharp corners to prevent any careless accidents from occurring.

Also, don’t be fooled into thinking that something is safe as long as it’s off the ground. If you use a bookcase or dresser as a TV stand, your little explorer can use the shelves and drawers as an impromptu ladder to climb towards the top of that mountain.

Potty Precautions

While your bathroom may just seem like a place where you wash up and get dressed, it’s actually full of potential hazards. Your toilet might not seem particularly dangerous, unless it’s been awhile since you’ve given it a thorough cleaning, but it can become particularly hazardous to a curious child. Make sure you always keep the toilet lid down and secured with a childproof lid lock.

Your bathroom is also home to a variety of medications that can seem like a tempting treat to a child. Parents need to take care to keep all medication in a cabinet far out of the reach of their child, and to never take medication out of the childproof bottle it came in. To keep their child from wanting to imitate them, parents should avoid taking medication in front of their child and never refer to pills as “candy.” When you dispose of medication, don’t try and flush them or just throw them into the trash. Take the time to drop off any unused medication to a local drug disposal program, or place them into a sealed bag with something that your child won’t want to eat, such as coffee grounds or kitty litter, prior to throwing them in the trash.

Cord Control

We live in a digital age full of wondrous technological toys. Of course all of these types of electrical gadgets come with cords that can transform the back of any home entertainment center into a tangle of brightly colored wires and plugs. Parents should use cord holders to keep longer lines fastened to the wall so that their little one can’t tug on a tangle of computer cords and send an assortment of gizmos crashing to the ground.

It’s not just cords from appliances that present a problem either. Parents need to tie all blind cords together high enough so they remain out of reach, or cut off the ends and replace them with breakaway safety tassels. Since blind or drape cords present a choking hazard, parents should never place their child’s crib near a window.

Buckle Up

Parents will be amazed at how quickly their child begins to develop her motor skills. One that day she may appear as a lovable, squirmy mass that’s incapable of holding up her own head, and the next she’ll be rolling, flipping, and juggling. Things that were once safe, such as changing tables, must now be viewed as a potential falling hazard. Parents need to make sure their changing table has safety straps and to always use them to buckle up their child when diapering. Never leave your child alone on the table either, and plan ahead to ensure you have everything you need (baby powder, diapers, wipes, a small toy) on hand prior to changing the baby.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance health writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Dr. William Elliott, a Oregon City dentist.

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