Guest Post by Blake Fields.
You’ve been anticipating, for months, the birth of your child and it’s finally time to bring home the newest addition to your family. In addition to decorating the nursery, searching for deals on clothing that can survive a spit-up attack, and stocking up on cloth diapers, you’ll want to make sure your home is baby proofed to keep your infant – and soon-to-be toddler – safe. While you can find coupons and deals in most parenting magazines, keeping your baby safe should be your number one priority.
Every year in the United States, around 22 million children are injured inside their homes and in their yards. Nine out of ten of these accidents can be prevented if you practice household safety. You want to start babyproofing your home in the nursery, but be aware of other dangerous locations in your home. If there is a potentially deadly spot in your house, your baby will find it – once he starts crawling around. So, always be on guard and keep your baby safe at all times.
Here are a few tips for babyproofing your home:
1. In the nursery, start by making sure that your baby’s crib and playpen do not include pillows, stuffed animals, or soft bedding, all of which pose a suffocation hazard for your child. They also equal a heightened risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (better known as SIDS), a condition that can unexpectedly claim the life of an infant who otherwise appears to be healthy. Although SIDS typically strikes within the first six months of life, your baby won’t be out of the danger zone until he is 12 months of age.
2. Be mindful of where you set up your baby’s crib. Don’t let curtain ties or cords for window blinds dangle within reach, as they can result in strangulation. Once your child is old enough to stand up in his/her crib, be sure to remove mobiles and hanging toys that will entice curious minds. Likewise, remove crib bumpers that can serve as boosts to a baby looking to ‘escape’ the crib. In fact, you should avoid using crib bumpers at all. Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised its safety guidelines and advised parents to stop using crib bumpers, due to its potential hazard.
3. Keep an eye out for anything that your baby might swallow, including coins, buttons, watch batteries, and earrings. Babies are inclined to chew on just about anything, especially as they begin teething. Also remove refrigerator magnets, which pose a choking hazard should they fall from the fridge and into your child’s hands.
4. Secure your cupboards with childproof locks, making sure to place hazardous items like dishwashing detergent and glassware far out of reach. Leave one cupboard accessible and full of things your baby can play with, such as plastic containers or pots, to reduce the urge to go exploring.
5. Installing baby gates around your home is a great way to keep your baby safe, especially as many stories of children taking a tumble begin with a parent’s dumbfounded assertion that they only turned their head for a second. Crawlers and toddlers can move at a surprising speed. Stay one step ahead to prevent entry into certain rooms or to discourage play on staircases.
6. While you are covering your tables’ sharp edges with corner guards, make sure you secure furniture so that it can’t be pulled over as a baby uses it for leverage to stand. Similarly, move books and anything fragile that can be grabbed off a table and brought to the floor. You certainly don’t want to tamp down your baby’s natural curiosity, but keeping him/her safe is paramount.
7. Install electric outlet plugs around your house. Babies are curious and love to insert their fingers into anything that looks interesting to them. You don’t want any potential accidents to happen when you’ve turned your back for one second.
In the event that you’re worried about all that you have to do to prepare for your child’s homecoming, know that there are professionals who can come to your house and baby proof it for you. They can’t help you with those 4:00 a.m. feedings, but they will take the steps necessary to make your home safe for your bundle of joy.
If you choose to babyproof your home yourself, make sure that you set aside one weekend every month to double check that every room in your house in safe. You will need to continue to update your babyproofing efforts as your baby gets older, but you definitely want the peace of mind that your baby is safe no matter where he wanders in your house. Good luck!
Special Thanks to My Guest Blogger.
Blake Fields is a mother of three beautiful girls (age 2, 5, and 12), and she is a frequent guest writer for this blog.