Once you settle in with your baby and begin seeing the world through a parent’s eyes, you realize how many household items present potential hazards. During this first year, it’s important to make sure you baby-proof your home as well as that of grandparents or any family members who might be doing caregiving. Here’s a quick checklist of ways to make the world a safer place for baby.
IN THE NURSERY
• Limit crib bedding. Make sure the mattress fits snugly and use only a fitted sheet. No pillows or stuffed animals in the crib. Use bumpers but keep one section clear so you can look in on baby.
• Keep shade blind cords out of baby’s reach. It’s also best if baby’s bed isn’t in reach of cords or cables that could choke him.
• Don’t leave baby unattended when on a changing table. The lips are often shallow and squirmy tots can easily topple if you’re not watching. Keep changing-table items, like ointments and talc, closed when not in use.
• Keep medications on high shelves. Also make sure you go through medications annually to toss out those that are outdated.
• Watch the water. Once you begin bathing baby, make sure he’s placed in something that keeps him from slipping or falling in the tub. Children can drown in just a couple of inches of water.
IN THE KITCHEN
• Keep cabinets locked with child-safety latches. Once baby is walking, he’ll want to empty out all of your cabinets. Make sure unlocked cabinets hold items that will do no harm.
• Keep pot handles on stove away from the edge where little one can grab. Also keep kids out of the kitchen when stove eyes are in use.
• Store cleaning and harsh products out of baby’s reach. Children are naturally curious. Don’t give them access to liquids or materials that might make them sick.
• Watch pet food and litter boxes. Once children begin walking, bowls and boxes on the floor provide great temptation. Keep litter boxes in a room where baby can’t get to it. Take up food when animals aren’t eating.
• Post emergency phone numbers in the kitchen. These should include police, pediatrician, grandparents, neighbors, and poison control. Be sure to point this out if you have a sitter come to your home.
IN THE PLAYROOM
• Outlets should be plugged with dummies. Lamp cords should be behind furniture and out of harm’s way.
• Put away pretties. This particularly goes for objects that are breakable or easily mouthed.
• Use plastic edges to cover sharp corners. Some coffee tables have sharp, pointed edges. Plastic clip-on covers will keep baby (and your legs) safe from ouchies.
• Make sure your TV stand is stable and not likely to fall should baby pull up. As inconceivable as it seems, toddlers routinely pull over pieces of furniture that are unstable. Newer TVs, with their pedestal stands, are also easy targets. Look around your room and make furnishings are secure.
• Install a fire alarm. Replace batteries annually. Do it around a holiday, so it will be easy to remember.