How to Baby Proof
Whether you're an expectant parent, a grandparent, or dutiful aunt or uncle, you’re going to have little ones around your space. Make sure that space is safe for them.
There are so many unexpected danger zones and hazards in any typical home. It can make baby proofing seem overwhelming! Before you start feeling like you're in over your head, I have a few tips for you! With two toddlers, I’m in the thick of it. If there is something dangerous in my home, my kids have found it and scared me half to death with it, so I’ve identified some of the main danger hotspots you should watch out for in your home.
Some of the most dangerous things for children in a household are chemicals. The easiest fix is to put chemical in higher cabinets, out of reach of children. If that’s not going to happen in your home, the next best thing is to install child locks. There are about a million different types out there, so find one that fits your needs. Make sure to keep those cupboards secured at all times, and keep a close watch on children around them--they may eventually learn to open them!
Garages, sheds, and outdoor spaces are all notorious for harboring chemicals as well. Make sure you keep chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers, and gas cans, etc.) out of reach of children!
Heavy Objects and Corners
Heavy objects that can tip over need to be secured to the wall! Dressers, TV stands, free standing desks--anything that a child could climb--have a potential risk of falling on your child. We’ve all seen the horrifying pictures and videos of dressers falling on kids, so get those items secured to your wall, and don’t make the same mistake!
Coffee tables, dining room tables, desks (basically anything with a sharp corners) seem to attract little kids' heads and eyes. I swear it’s true! Buy plastic corner protectors for your furniture, and try to arrange furniture so it doesn't stick out in high traffic areas or block the flow where your child plays or crawls.
Electricity and Gas
Around 15 months, toddlers start getting curious about electrical outlets and putting objects in them. This can get scary fast. Outlet plugs or outlet safety plates are the perfect solution. You can even tape over the outlets to keep them inaccessible to your toddler. When you need to uncover the outlet (mama’s gotta vacuum sometime), make sure your little one doesn't try to play with the plug you're using.
Gas and electric stoves can pose several risks, the obvious one being a hot surface. Knob covers can keep kids from turning the burners on by themselves. You can also use latches and locks to keep them from opening the oven door. Beware that sometimes toddlers will trying climbing up the front of the oven. They could pull the oven door open and fall on their heads, possibly exposing them to dangerously high heat if the oven is on!
Keep kids away from toilets, sinks, ponds, pools, or any standing water. Any standing water can pose a drowning risk. We keep our bathroom toilets locked. Once our older daughter was potty trained, we became vigilant about keeping the bathroom doors shut at all times.
If you have any outdoor standing water, I highly suggest fencing or gating it. You can never be too careful with standing water. The only genuinely safe option is for children be supervised by an adult whenever they have access to standing water.
Another thing to consider with water is its temperature. Get familiar with your water heater settings. Keep the temperature under 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding water from burning your child.
Blinds and Choking Hazards
If you don’t have cordless blinds, you can easily clip your cords up high out of children’s reach. Command Hooks work perfectly for this.
Choking hazards can come in many forms--toys, food, broken items, dried food--you get the picture. Besides keeping a close eye on children, especially as they learn to crawl, make sure to sweep and vacuum often. I visually sweep the house for choking hazards, especially before I put my kids down for the night.
The final step is reviewing each of the spaces in your home. Identify places that could be dangerous, such as stairs, balconies, and open railings. Use gates or door locks to keep children from accessing hazardous areas.
Next identify safe places where children can play safely while you clean, shower, or use the bathroom. You can enclose these safe spaces with baby gates or use a play yard.
Finally, identify all the entrances and exits in your home. Using door knob covers or lever locks, you can keep your curious tot from escaping day and night!