June is National Safety Month. So I thought we would talk about how to baby proof a house for each age group, as children grow. As we stated in Redfin’s article: How To Baby Proof Your Home In A Weekend, take baby proofing one step at a time. “You have a lot to prepare for as expecting parents… When your newborn comes home he will not be mobile for a while, so just be sure he has a safe place to sleep following AAP guidelines and a clear floor for tummy time.”
Baby Proof A House For Newborns
When a newborn comes home all he needs is your love and attention. To be ready for a newborn you should have any additions to his nursery done a month in advance so it has time to air out. Think of all the potent smells in a brand new room: freshly painted walls, a new mattress, and even furniture with wood stains or paint.
- Place your baby in a crib or bassinet to sleep on his back and make sure the crib is free of all items except a tight, fitted, bottom sheet.
- Purchase breathable swaddles ahead of time because putting a baby to bed with a blanket is a suffocation hazard, as well as crib bumpers and stuffed animals.
- The AAP states, “If you hang a mobile over your child’s crib, be sure it is securely attached to the side rails, wall or ceiling. Hang it high enough so your baby cannot reach it to pull it down. Be sure to remove it when he is able to get up on his hands and knees, or is 5 months old, whichever comes first.”
- For diapering be sure to purchase a pad that is concave so that the sides are higher and act as an enclosure. However, never leave a baby on a diaper table; set up their changing station with everything you’ll need in arms reach.
- Have a clear floor space for tummy time with all small items put away. Babies love to put anything and everything in their mouths. At three to four months old children will actively try to grasp objects within their reach, so get rid of all those choking hazards.
- Lastly, if you do not already have them, install smoke alarms and CO detectors.
Baby Proof A House For 6-12 Month Olds
Okay your baby is now rolling and will soon be learning to crawl, if he has not already. Now is when you really have to baby proof a house. There is so much at the height of a curious, crawling baby.
- Plug all those outlets with covers and if you have power strips, cover those as well.
- Latch all cabinets and drawers within their reach using U shaped locks, magnetic locks, or underneath latches.
- Safety straps can be used for toilet seats, washing machines, sliding cabinet doors, fridges, trash cans and more.
- Avoid pinched fingers in doors and on the side of the hinges with these useful inventions.
- If you have stairs in your house you need to put a gate at the top and bottom; auto close ones are helpful. There are also outdoor gates for decks and porches.
- If your baby is pulling himself up you will want to cover sharp corners or all edges of hard furniture.
- Anchor all narrow furniture and TVs to the wall. You would be surprised how even the sturdiest bureaus, a child figures out how to scale up.
Baby Proof A House For Toddlers & Preschoolers
Now that you have walkers who can reach higher and have more strength to possibly open doors you have a new set of obstacles. It’s time to add onto your baby proofing gadgets.
- Look at all the doors in your house. Do you need a lever door handle lock or door knob cover?
- As children become tall enough they will want to reach up to see what’s on the counter. Cover kitchen stove knobs so they cannot accidentally be turned on. You can also purchase a stove guard if you want to take it one step further.
- Blind cords hang low, becoming a strangling hazard. Wrap them up high with this clear cord safety wrap, out of children’s reach.
- If your child is moving into a twin bed, purchase a removable bed rail as they get used to sleeping in a big kid bed.
Now as your child grows, come back and reference each age group to appropriately baby proof a house. Learn more about preparing for a baby in the award wining parenting book, Newborn 101, by Carole Kramer Arsenault.