The best time to begin babyproofing your home is before your child is born. There are some safety steps you need to take in advance, and many more that can be attended to before Baby begins moving. And babies often begin moving suddenly, so it’s best to be prepared.
Here’s a breakdown of what you can do.
Before Baby is Born
Prepare yourself with basic home and child safety while you’re still pregnant. While a few of these items are time consuming, they are very important… and time is much more readily available before your needy newborn comes into the world.
- Take a CPR class to learn first aid and other life-saving practices.
- Install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home, and test your smoke alarms to make sure they’re working. You can even purchase a combination carbon monoxide/smoke alarm.
- Get a fire extinguisher.
- If you have an older home, there’s a chance you have lead paint on your walls. You can find a do-it-yourself lead testing kit at hardware stores and home centers. Have any lead paint removed or sealed by a professional.
- Create a Baby First Aid Kit and keep it easily accessible.
- Remove toxic plants from your home. (These include many common ones like English ivy, philodendron and azaleas.)
- Be sure to follow federal safety standards when purchasing your child’s car seat and crib.
Birth to Five Months
Almost from day one, everything goes into a baby’s mouth, so maintaining a clean and clutter-free home is essential. During this period, many babies roll over, and they can roll their way across a room with surprising swiftness. Some can even sit up, which extends their reach.
- Never leave your baby unattended, whether she’s on the changing table, a bed, highchair or in the bath. As little movement as she seems to have, any sudden motion of arms or legs can cause a fall or other accident.
- Always use the safety belt on the changing table. Keep hygiene products out of Baby’s reach.
- Set the thermostat on your water heater at 120˚ Fahrenheit (or lower) to prevent scalding. Fill bathtubs with just enough water to cover Baby’s legs, and always check the temperature before placing baby in the water. Pad the tub bottom with a towel or non-skid strips to prevent slipping.
- Follow safe sleeping guidelines for cribs or co-sleeping.
- Install plastic safety plugs on all electrical outlets and any unused outlets on power strips. You can install electrical outlet covers to keep your curious one from pulling out cords. Shorten extra long cords (like a bedside lamp) by rolling them into a loop and tying them up above Baby’s reach.
- Reorganize your closets and cabinets so that all household cleaners, medicines (including vitamins) and other chemical products are completely out of reach or locked up. Put childproof latches on all lower cabinets in the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms and living areas.
- Put edge guards on sharp corners of tables and other furniture at your baby’s sitting-up height.
- Remove breakables from your baby’s reach.
- Keep handbags and wallets tucked out of reach. They can contain chokeable items or poisonous medicine.
- Keep any space Baby inhabits free of small objects. Even babies one month old can put things in their mouth. A common rule of thumb: If an object fits through a toilet paper roll, it’s small enough to be a choking hazard.
- Keep hot foods and drinks away from table edges.
- Keep pet food and bowls away from Baby’s reach, as Fido’s food can be quite tempting!
- Choose age-appropriate and safe toys.
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