As parents, we want to create a safe environment for our kids at home. We want to give them the freedom to crawl and play without putting them in danger. Unfortunately, accidents happen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among children.
One of the best ways to ensure our babies are safe is by preventing these injuries from happening. And that starts by baby-proofing our homes.
Baby-proofing your home involves taking measures to make your house safe for your child by eliminating or minimizing potential hazards. Put simply, baby-proofing allows you to make your home child-friendly.
Baby-proofing your house offers multiple benefits, including creating a safe environment for your baby to explore and learn, reducing the risk of injuries, and promoting independence while giving you peace of mind. Additionally, it can result in cost savings in the long run by preventing accidents that may require costly repairs or medical attention.
In this article, we’ll provide a detailed room-by-room rundown of common hazards parents and caregivers should know when baby-proofing their home. We will explore the necessary steps you need to take to keep your home safe for your little one.
Baby Proof Your Kitchen and Dining Room
From hot stoves to sharp objects and fragile items, the kitchen and the dining area can be dangerous for your baby. Children are curious, which can put them in danger in the kitchen.
They can get into little mischief like crawling into an open drawer, going under your feet when cooking, trying to reach for a pot on the stove while holding them, or grabbing a knife from the dining table.
So how can you prevent all this? Here are some steps you can take.
- Install child safety locks on all drawers and cupboards to keep hazardous items out of reach.
- Store all dangerous items in lockable cabinets, such as knives, cleaning products, medications, and plastic bags.
- Secure freestanding pantry cabinets to the wall.
- Use the rear burners on the stove whenever possible and ensure pot handles are turned away from the front of the stove to prevent accidental spills.
- Keep the dishwasher closed at all times and the microwave safely out of reach to avoid any mishaps.
- Use stove knob covers that prevent your child from turning on the burners.
- Keep glass utensils away from your child when at the dining table.
- Ensure that cords for appliances such as toasters and kettles are out of reach to avoid potential electrocution or burns.
- Have a fire blanket or fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and ensure you know how to use it.
- Keep hot drinks and alcohol out of reach to avoid any scalding or poisoning incidents.
- Use non-slip placemats instead of tablecloths to avoid pulling items off the table.
- Fasten children to highchairs using a five-point safety harness to prevent falls or injuries.
Baby Proof Your Living Room
The living room is where all the action happens and where you will likely spend the most time with your child. If you don’t have a dedicated nursery, it will also function as your baby’s playground.
Hazardous items, from electrical wires to window blinds, make the area the most unsafe in your house. Here are some steps you should take to ensure your kid’s safety in the living room.
- Arrange Furniture Properly: Ensure that furniture is arranged so that it’s difficult for children to climb onto higher surfaces. You should also keep them away from the window.
- Secure TVs and Other Electronics: Secure your TV, fridges, and other electronics firmly on the wall of the living room. This is to ensure your child doesn’t reach for them.
- Look Out For Small Objects: Don’t leave small objects like buttons, beads, coins, balls, bottle caps, and marbles within your child’s reach. Keep small items out of reach and check under furniture for anything your child might choke on.
- Install Baby Gates: You should install gates to keep your child out of stairways and other potentially dangerous areas. You should ensure they are correctly installed to prevent injuries.
- Use Non-Slip MatS: Highly polished floors can be dangerous, making children slip and fall when crawling or walking. Non-slip mats will reduce such injuries while also preventing adults from slipping and injuring your child.
- Cover Electrical Sockets: This will help you prevent electrocution. Children being adventurous, may insert fingers or pens into the sockets.
- Cover Sharp Corners: Use corner guards on tables or furniture with sharp corners. They can prevent injury when your child bumps into them.
- Prevent Strangulation: Use safety tassels or rollers to keep the cords of curtains and blinds out of reach and prevent strangulation.
- Be aware of Child Blind Spots: Kids hide behind doors, furniture, and other objects. Ensure always to confirm your child’s position before taking action.
Baby Proof Your Nursery
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-a-nursery-with-decorations
The nursery is your baby’s haven. In all the rooms in your house, it is where you want them to feel safest. Yet, that is not always the case. CDC research shows that about 3,400 babies in the United States die from sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID). One of the leading causes of SUID is accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.
The biggest mistake new parents often commit is going overboard when shopping for their newborns. But it is the overkill that can put a child in danger. Baby-proofing a house should entail buying and using safe baby products for your child, from cribs and sheets to clothes and toys.
Follow the following steps to keep your nursery safe.
- Anchor dressers, shelves, iron boards, and all heavy objects on the wall to prevent them from falling onto your child when knocked, pushed, or pulled.
- Place your crib away from windows with blind or curtain cords, as your child might pull them and strangle themselves.
- Don’t put extra blankets, sheets, or toys in your baby’s crib. You should also ensure there are no gaps between the sides of the crib and the mattress.
- Invest in cribs that adhere to CPSC safety standards and are not broken or modified.
- Ensure that your changing table/dresser is stable before you place your child on it. Never leave your child unattended on the dresser.
- Use only age-appropriate toys, and they are chemical-free.
- Ensure the painting used in the crib and walls of the child’s nursery is eco-friendly.
- Use a firm mattress and fit it with a tight sheet. Loose beddings can suffocate the child if they pull to their face.
Baby Proof Your Bathroom
The bathroom is hazardous for kids. Medications are everywhere. Your child can scald when they come in contact with hot water or steam. Heated equipment like a dryer can burn their delicate skins. And the most significant danger is water. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a global nonprofit dedicated to protecting kids from preventable injuries, babies can drown in as little as one inch of water.
So how can you prevent all that?
- Use a toilet lock to deter your little one from gaining access to the bathroom or toilet.
- Use anti-slip mats to prevent falls and slips.
- Keep medications, cleaning products, personal care items, and sharp objects out of reach.
- Never leave your baby unattended in the bathtub.
- Keep electrical appliances out of the bathroom.
- Keep toilet lids closed and use door knobs in the bathroom to keep them locked.
- Empty all tubs, buckets, containers, and wading pools after use.
Baby Proof Your Laundry Room
With heavy-duty appliances and shelves stocked with cleaning products, the laundry room can be a hazardous environment for children. Front-loading washing machines, in particular, can be dangerous as children can easily reach for them. And that’s not all. Slips and falls are another risks associated with laundry rooms, particularly given the often-slippery nature of this area.
When left unattended, children can also ingest laundry detergents or other cleaning products, which can cause severe poisoning, requiring immediate medical attention.
As a parent, follow the following guidelines to baby-proof your laundry room and keep your child safe.
- Store detergents and other hazardous items in locked cabinets and out of kids’ reach.
- Keep the laundry door closed and strive to keep it a no-go zone for your child.
- Install locking caps on washing machines to prevent kids from opening them.
- Store your iron and ironing board out of children’s sight, and don’t use them in your kids’ presence, as they can easily reach for them.
Baby Proof Other Areas and Outdoors
Baby-proofing your home goes beyond the inside of your house. Soon, your child will start crawling and taking their first steps. Once they reach that age, they’ll want to explore the yard, pool, and garage. All these areas can pose significant dangers.
Take the following steps to ensure your child will be safe outside:
- Remove dangerous items and ensure your sweep the area before giving your child the freedom to explore.
- Keep your garage doors closed, and don’t allow your child access without supervision.
- Check the condition of play items like swings before giving your child access.
- Unplug power tools when not in use and store them on upper shelves.
- Secure areas such as staircases, balconies, and swimming pools with gates and barriers to prevent your child from wondering in unsupervised.
- Lock away paints and other hazardous chemicals in your garage.
General Tips to Baby-Proof Your Home
Keeping your baby safe is the top priority for any parent, and taking steps to baby-proof your home is crucial. While you can take many precautions, these general tips can significantly increase your home’s safety.
Photo by Markus Spiske: https://www.pexels.com/photo/red-and-white-bear-plush-toy-234137/
First, ensure you have emergency numbers readily available in case of an emergency. These numbers should include emergency services, your doctor’s office, and other emergency contacts. Keep these numbers posted in a visible location, e.g., on refrigerators or in a central location at your house.
Second, always supervise your baby, particularly in areas with potential hazards. This includes the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas where cleaning products or other dangerous items may exist.
Thirdly, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home to provide early warning in case of a fire or gas leak. These detectors should be placed in each room and every level of your home.
Fourth, install baby monitors to provide peace of mind and help you keep an eye on your baby while they sleep or play in another room.
Finally, learn basic first-aid skills and keep a first-aid kit on hand, as they can be lifesaving during an emergency. The kit should include bandages, antiseptic, and any necessary medications.