What an exciting time for your family! Your infant is moving and grooving all on her own—engaging more and more every day. While your little one is crawling the corners, take a quick glance around your house… notice the potential dangers that await your newly active baby. But don’t panic, ma-mas and da-das. You can easily baby proof your home with this easy-to-follow, 10-step safety guide.
1. Crawl with them
To think like a baby, you have to act like one. This may sound a bit crazy, but by crawling around on the floor, you’ll see the world from your child’s point of view. Get down on their level and look under furniture. See what’s lingering under your desk that might look exciting to new eyes. Look up too! Many couches and office chairs have stickers underneath them that babies love to peel off and taste.
2. Hang everything from the ceiling
No, not really. But find a place for everything (the more dangerous, the higher it goes). Move the DVD player to the top of the entertainment center. Tuck that bookshelf away upstairs. If it’s light enough, hang the floor plant from the ceiling for the time being (air plants are so in right now!). For anything you can’t hang, consider installing some inexpensive shelving to set those items on.
For anything that must remain in reach, ensure they are secured. For example, fasten the entertainment center to the wall, set the gaming consoles firmly in place and mount the TV to the wall if you can.
Keep everything clean and free of toxins! It can be difficult to keep up with household chores when you have a toddler to chase after. But at the very least, you can be sure the surface areas of your house aren’t loaded with toxic chemicals. In our household, we use Babyganics Floor Cleaner Concentrate to clean the floors and J.R. Watkins All Purpose Wipes for the countertops. For everything else, we shop non-toxic household cleaners (that we purchase from vitacost.com, of course!)
4. Pad the floors
When they are learning to walk, you don’t want them falling on hard tile with nothing to brace the impact. Don’t be afraid to purchase some area rugs for this temporary period—with gripping pads—so the rugs don’t slide on the floor. Also, invest in some foam padding for those sharp corners and furniture edges.
5. Design a “safe area”
It may not be feasible to baby proof your entire house, but you can designate a baby-safe zone. It should be the area of the house where you spend the most time—most likely a family room or living room. Put gates up where you don’t want the baby to go—especially staircases. Replace outlet covers with self-closing covers and keep the area clean by vacuuming frequently. Babies have a knack for finding (and tasting) the smallest things such as a string, leaf or a plastic tag fastener.
6. Close the bathroom door
Just in case your toddler escapes the safe area, make sure your bases are covered. Put safety latches on the cupboards, stove, dishwasher, etc. You can also add one to the toilet seat cover—playing with toilet water may be fun for your little one, but it sure doesn’t make for a happy parent!
7. Keep loose change out of the house
No matter how diligent you are, coins always seem to find their way to the floor. So just don’t even put change in your pocket. Put it in a tip jar or leave it on your table at the restaurant. Be careful of bottle caps too. Put them in the trash immediately. Even the tops of baby food pouches can be a choking hazard.
8. Mind your batteries
Sort through your electronics and become aware of anything that utilizes batteries—especially button batteries. Not only are batteries a choking hazard, but they also contain alkaline corrosives that, if swallowed, can cause internal burns. Button batteries are especially dangerous because of their mere size and their electric charge if they become lodged in body tissue.
They are smaller than a dime and can be swallowed so easily that you might not even know it happened. Button batteries can be found in fitness wristbands, key fobs, car remote controls and even singing greeting cards. According to kidshealth.org, the ingestion of a button battery can cause serious damage and be life threatening in just two to three hours.
9. Start saying “no!”
Your baby is starting to understand you. It’s not too early to start teaching them what is dangerous or what should be avoided. So when they start heading for the electrical outlet, simply tell them, “no.” After all, they haven’t hit their terrible twos yet, so they might actually listen to you.
10. Most importantly—don’t take your eyes off of them
You can baby proof until the cows come home, but no amount of baby proofing is a 100 percent safety guarantee. The best baby proofing you can do is to always keep an eye on your little one. You just never know when a mysterious, shiny coin will appear under your desk. It will likely be the most fascinating thing your child has ever seen, meaning it must be tasted immediately—so keep your eyes peeled at every turn for maximum security!