Childproofing and home safety

by Katelin Whiddon

Preparing to add a child to your life comes with a long to-do list. There’s choosing a doctor for yourself and your baby, picking out a nursery layout/bedding, choosing a name, shopping galore, registries and so much more.  

One thing people don’t often plan ahead for is baby proofing. It isn’t until your crawling baby pulls up on an end table and breaks your great-great-grandmother’s antique vase that you realize you’ve got some re-arranging to do.

Babies, on average, begin crawling/scooting/rolling between 6-9 months. You will definitely need to baby proof your home before they become mobile, but why wait until your child is putting themselves in danger? Why not prepare for a mobile child before it happens?

Often we don’t think about certain things being dangerous until a child gets into them. There are so many hazards in each of our homes. Get on your hands and knees and crawl through your house. Look for anything that would be in reach of your crawling/toddling baby’s reach.

Your to-do list should include the following: plug your electrical outlets; tie up dangling blinds cords; lock up medicines and cleaning supplies; and cover sharp edges on tables and other furniture, as well as place soft edges on your fireplace hearths. Avoid using tablecloths that babies will pull off of the table. Breakable objects should be placed at a level children cannot reach and firearms kept in a locked gun safe. Keep small objects out of reach to prevent choking, and close doors to bathrooms and outdoors.

Once children can reach the doorknobs, put child locks on doors. Baby gates should be used at the tops and bottoms of stairwells. Routinely check batteries in your smoke detectors, and keep the poison control number posted on the refrigerator and in your cell phone (1.800.222.1222). Plastic bags and trash bags can lead to suffocation, and trash cans should be kept out of reach of children. Never leave your child unattended, not even for “just a minute.” 

The above list only covers a portion of what needs to be done to keep your child safe inside the home. Always stay where you can see and attend to your children so that they stay as safe as possible. There will be other things that your child finds that pose a hazard, and it is imperative that you continue to keep your home a safe environment and make modifications as needed.

Water safety is also important in the home, as well as outside. Do not overfill your child’s bathtub. Fill the tub just enough to cover your baby’s legs.  Until your child is able to sit very well unattended and is not likely to topple over, try to use one of the baby bathtubs that have only enough water to bathe your child. Never, ever, ever leave your child alone in the bathtub. It takes a minimal amount of water for a child to drown, and it only takes a few seconds for them to topple over and submerge their nose and mouth. Whatever seems to be so important to do can wait until your child is no longer in a tub of water and in a safe location.

Do your research on safety tips and products as well as additional means to baby proof your home. Always be sure to check reputable sources, and if you are still unsure, your local pediatrician’s office will be glad to give references.