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It all happens so fast. First, the baby starts to roll and crawl. Then they start “cruising.” And finally, your sweet little bundle of joy takes his or her first Frankenstein steps. And just like that, you have a walker!
Now, I may have been a little over-prepared when it came to baby proofing our house. After all, I am an ER nurse, and I have seen what can happen when a home isn’t baby proofed.
I wrote this baby proofing checklist in honor of emergency nurses week and my desire to encourage other parents to take an active stance in baby-proofing their homes. If you are anything like us, you may be a tad bit sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. I hope this list helps to make it easier to create a more safe and baby-friendly home.
Why Is Baby Proofing So Essential?
Baby proofing is of paramount importance in creating a safe and secure environment for infants and toddlers. It involves taking preventive measures to minimize potential hazards and accidents in the home. By baby proofing, parents and caregivers can significantly reduce the risk of injuries and provide a nurturing space for their little ones to explore and grow.
Babies and toddlers can hurt themselves in an instant. The prevention of accidental injuries is the #1 reason why babies need safe physical boundaries in place.
Think of it like this: Playtime + baby-proofed home = safe space for growth and learning opportunities!
As parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our kids are in a safe environment. Children need a secure place to get messy, play, explore, learn, and have fun. By prioritizing baby proofing, parents, and caregivers can provide a nurturing and protected space where their child can flourish and grow with confidence.
Here Are a Few Things To Consider When Baby Proofing Your Home:
#1. Set Up Safety Gates
The first item on our baby proofing checklist is the safety gate. One second, your baby is playing in one spot, the next, they are on the other side of the house trying to open up the cutlery drawer in the kitchen. Once babies learn how to crawl or walk, they can be surprisingly fast! Safety gates help keep kiddos within a safe area. Remember that you want to make sure safety gates are screwed into the wall if they are at the top of a staircase.
Note: Although safety gates are a great way to keep your baby safer, it doesn’t mean that they can’t get hurt on them. A study from 2014 found that as many as 2,000 U.S. kids visit the emergency room for treatments resulting from injuries caused by climbing or falling through gates.
#2. Corner Protectors
Although they appear to be just tiny pieces of plastic, corner guards and edge bumpers have been instrumental in preventing a few very BIG injuries. Why? Because many corners on tables and shelves are at the same height as toddlers’ heads when they are standing (or worse, running). Hello, head injury!
If your toddler runs into the corner of a piece of furniture with a corner guard or edge bumper, they are much less likely to sustain a serious head injury.
#3. Use Door Nob Covers
Doesn’t it seem as if toddlers like to explore every space you DON’T want them to be in? Small children are curious creatures, and forbidden places are exciting to them. They love testing their boundaries. Doorknob covers are great for keeping little ones out of the areas you don’t want them wandering into. Especially places like broom closets, bathrooms, or out the front door.
Door nob covers just spin in circles if a toddler tries to open them. But adults can easily open it by squeezing it tightly and turning the knob.
#4. Sliding Glass Door Locks
Sliding door locks are important for baby-proofing for several reasons:
First, sliding doors can pose significant safety hazards for babies and young children. They can easily slide open, providing unrestricted access to areas that may be dangerous, such as balconies, swimming pools, or staircases. Installing a lock helps prevent accidental falls and keeps children away from potentially hazardous areas.
Second, sliding doors can be a pinch point for little fingers, and they can get trapped or injured if the doors are not properly secured. A lock prevents the doors from being easily opened or closed, reducing the risk of finger injuries.
Baby-proofing measures, including sliding door locks, provide peace of mind for parents and caregivers. Knowing that your child is safe and secure within the confines of your home allows you to focus on other tasks without constant worry.
Remember, it’s important to choose locks specifically designed for sliding doors and to install them correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, regularly check and maintain the locks to ensure they remain in good working condition.
#5. Install Safety Locks On All Cabinets & Drawers
Toddlers love exploration and will open up every single drawer and cabinet in your home. And if there is one that isn’t locked, I assure you, they will find it! Use safety latches to keep household chemicals, cleaning supplies, and other hazardous things out of the reach of tiny hands.
There are several types of safety locks that you can buy depending on how much you want to spend and how much work you want to put in. We used these and they work great. You can install them instantly without any drilling and can uninstall them easily when you no longer need them.
#6. Use Stove Knob Locks
The kitchen is one of the most dangerous places in the house for a toddler. It wouldn’t be difficult for a tiny hand to reach up and turn on a stove the moment you are not looking. Stove knob covers work very much like doorknob covers and makes it impossible for a toddler to turn on.
Note: It is a good idea to get into a new habit of using only the rear stove burners to reduce the chances that your little ones can get burned. If you do need to use the front burners, always make sure the handles of any pots or pans are facing inwards so those little ones can’t pull them off the stove and sustain a burn injury.
#7. Anchor Furniture To The Wall
It is a good idea to secure all tip-able furniture to the wall. As toddlers become more mobile, they may climb on furniture, such as a bookshelf, causing it to tip over.
Second, in the event of an earthquake, you don’t want any heavy furniture falling over on the little humans below (we live in California, so we have to think about that here!). For aesthetics, you can anchor furniture from the backside, so you can’t even see it unless you are looking.
List of Things To Consider When Baby Proofing Your Home:
- Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Secure furniture, such as bookshelves and dressers, to the walls to prevent tipping.
- Cover electrical outlets with outlet covers or safety plugs.
- Use cordless window coverings or secure cords out of reach.
- Keep small objects and choking hazards out of reach.
- Lock cabinets and drawers with safety locks.
- Install window guards to prevent falls.
- Use door knob covers to limit access to certain rooms or areas.
- Secure heavy appliances, like TVs, to prevent tipping.
- Use corner guards or padding on sharp furniture edges and corners.
- Store cleaning supplies, medications, and other hazardous materials out of reach.
- Keep hot liquids and appliances, such as irons or curling irons, out of reach.
- Ensure that cords from blinds or curtains are not accessible to children.
- Cover sharp corners of tables or counters with edge protectors.
- Place safety covers on stove knobs to prevent accidental burns or gas leaks.
- Install toilet locks to prevent drowning hazards.
- Remove or secure any loose rugs or carpets to prevent trips and falls.
- Use baby gates to block off areas that may pose a risk.
- Check for and repair any loose or unstable banisters or railings.
- Keep plastic bags, including grocery bags, out of reach to prevent suffocation risks.
- Consider installing a baby monitor to keep an eye on your child at all times.
- Check for and repair any loose or exposed electrical wiring.
- Lock away firearms and ammunition in a secure location.
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in appropriate areas of the home.
Remember that baby proofing should be tailored to your specific home and the developmental stage of your child. Regularly assess your surroundings for new hazards as your child grows and becomes more mobile.
Baby Proofing Frequently Asked Questions
When should baby proofing be done?
Baby proofing should ideally be done before your baby starts to crawl or explore their surroundings independently. This typically occurs around six to eight months of age. However, it’s never too early to start preparing your home for a safe environment, especially by removing potential hazards and ensuring that essential safety measures are in place.
What do I really need for baby proofing?
The specific baby proofing items you need may vary depending on your home’s layout and potential hazards. However, some common essential items for baby proofing include outlet covers, cabinet locks or latches, corner guards, furniture straps, baby gates, door stoppers, toilet locks, and stove knob covers. It’s important to assess your home and identify potential dangers to determine which specific baby proofing products are necessary for your situation.
At what age can you stop baby proofing?
The age at which you can stop baby proofing your home will vary from child to child. It generally depends on their developmental milestones and individual behaviors. As a general guideline, most experts suggest gradually removing baby proofing measures once your child reaches around two to three years old and demonstrates a good understanding of safety instructions and limitations. However, it’s essential to remember that every child develops at their own pace, so it’s crucial to assess their abilities and behavior before removing any safety precautions.
What is the average cost of baby proofing?
The cost of baby proofing can vary depending on the size of your home, the number of rooms you need to baby proof, and the specific products you choose. On average, you can expect to spend a few hundred dollars on baby proofing essentials. However, keep in mind that investing in safety measures for your child is invaluable, and there are budget-friendly options available for many baby proofing items.
Do you really need to baby proof?
Baby proofing is highly recommended to create a safe environment for your child as they explore their surroundings. It helps prevent accidents, injuries, and potential hazards that may be present in your home. While constant supervision is essential, baby proofing adds an extra layer of protection and peace of mind for parents and caregivers.
How can I baby proof cheap?
Baby proofing doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some cost-effective ways to baby proof your home:
- Use outlet covers: Affordable plastic outlet covers can help protect your baby from electrical outlets.
- Secure furniture: Use furniture straps or anchors to secure heavy furniture such as bookshelves and dressers to the wall, preventing tipping accidents.
- Repurpose household items: Use rubber bands or hair ties to secure cabinet doors, or repurpose socks as corner guards.
- Place foam or pool noodles on sharp edges: Cut pool noodles or foam pipe insulation and place them on sharp corners or edges to protect your baby from bumps and bruises.
- Use doorknob covers: Instead of buying expensive door locks, consider using doorknob covers to prevent your baby from entering certain rooms.
Remember, while cost-saving measures can be helpful, it’s crucial to ensure that the safety measures you implement are effective and reliable in protecting your child from potential hazards.
I hope you enjoyed reading this baby proofing checklist, written by an emergency room nurse & mom. It is always better to plan ahead and create safe spaces for our little ones. Accidents happen fast, but by setting up a few safety systems throughout the house, you can decrease the chances of having to take your child to the emergency room. Stay safe!
What are you doing to baby-proof your home?
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