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Baby Proofing Your Home: What You Need to Keep Baby Safe
“Baby proofing”…. Those two simple words conjure up funny scenes from movies where adults are so baby-proofed in their own homes that they can’t even function properly.
Sure, the task may be (a bit) daunting, however knowing that your child is safe is well worth the work and the headaches and occasional frustrations known as “baby proofing”. The degree to which you can baby proof you home depends a lot upon the type of home you live in, the number of children already present in your home, and your overall parenting style. For example, laid-back parents might let their children explore more; these parents may need more baby proofing than parents who tend to watch their children like hawks. While neither parenting style is good or bad, they just lend themselves to different levels of baby proofing needs.
Here are just a few suggestions for getting your home ready for kids, or for making your home safer for those toddlers you already have. Even if you swore that you wouldn't turn into "one of those" parents that locks everything up, it's better to resign to the fact now. You can't watch your children 100% of the time, and if these simple steps and products help keep your child safe it's well worth it.
So go ahead, and take a quick look at the wonderful world of baby proofing. You never knew your home was so dangerous!
Baby Proofing in the Bathroom
- Bathtub Faucets
If you’ve ever bonked your head, hand, foot or any other body part on the faucet you’re sure to understand the need for a protective surface there. Baby’s sensitive skin, and most importantly baby heads, are particularly susceptible to being injured from the sharp edges of the faucet. Spout covers not only deter skin from being scalded by the hot surface, but the squishy texture ensures that your wobbly child won’t hurt himself on the out-going water as well.
- Door Knob Locks
The bain of grandparents everywhere, who don’t really understand WHY you need a lock on the door, door knob locks allow you to keep kids out of particularly dangerous places (such as the bathroom, the kitchen, the laundry room, or garage) while still allowing adults relatively easy access to the rooms. There are so many varieties and price points to choose from, so don’t worry you’re sure to find something that fits the aesthetics (enough, at least) and your budget.
- Toilet Lids
For a germ-a-phob like me, the toilet lid is a no-brainer. While we’d love to think that we can all watch our kids 24/7, it’s a reality. Your child will eventually learn how to override that door handle (mentioned above) and he’ll get in the bathroom. Keep those icky-germs at bay by keeping the toilet closed. This contraption could not only safe yourself a gross mess, but it could really save a life too!
Sure, you make like a hot bath, but your baby’s sensitive skin sure won’t. If you don’t trust your senses, consider buying a thermometer to ensure your baby’s bathwater is at a safe temperature.
Baby Proofing all around the Home
- Door Jams
Little fingers just love opening and closing doors, until that door gets closed too hard. OUCH! But with squishy protective door jams, (shaped like a “u”) the door can’t close all the way, and your child can’t get a squashed finger. High-five for proactive parenting!
- Corner Guards
Sure, you’ve seen corner guards on them and thought that looked tacky, but you know what looks worse? A busted lip. Take it from someone with personal experience here. Thirty plus years after my fall I’m still explaining to people how I got that funny little scar on my lip. Put the corner guards on your coffee table for just a few months (until your toddler doesn’t “toddle” so much”) and you can safe yourself— and your child — from an embarrassing story.
- Outlet covers
Universal outlet covers slide over allowing for parents to use the outlet as normal, and then slide back to a “closed” position so your child can’t put his fingers, and who-knows-what-else in the socket as well. Case-closed, these are a no-brainer!
- Baby Gates
Useful for keeping kids both in and out, baby gates shouldn’t be overlooked, particularly if you have stairs that you need to keep off limits. Most baby gates nowadays are easy enough for parents, babysitters, older sibblings, and yes, grandparents, to maneuver around. Measure carefully when looking for baby gates, or opt for the expandable kind, either way, you’re sure to “rest” (and I use that term lightly), with a baby gate in the house.
- Television and Bookshelf Restraints
If you have a “climber” you’re sure to quickly understand the need for literally bolting down televisions, bookshelves and even large frames or mirrors. If you can wiggle it, so can your child. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Drawer Latches
Whether you opt for magnetic, plastic or tab-like door latches, you’re sure to eventually realize that little Johnny can and WILL get into those plastic containers. While it was cute the first time or two, after you wash them repeatedly you’re likely to opt for securing those drawers and cabinets with a lock. Go ahead and safe yourself a phone call to the poison control, and install them well before you think you’ll need them. Your baby will surprise you with how quickly he or she moves from rolling to crawling to toddling. TRUST ME! Don’t just latch the cabinet with things that would be annoying to pick up (such as plastic containers), remember to latch up chemicals, heavy pots and pans, drawers with knives, and even cabinets with small appliances.