Babies are a bundle of joy with a curious nature. Once they reach the age of six to nine months, they can begin to crawl and want to investigate everything. Unfortunately, they usually reach for things that may be harmful. Before your little one gets on all fours and begins to move you need to make a checklist of things to block off, raise up, or simply remove and go through your home room by room.
Electrical outlets and wires
For some reason, babies have a fascination with outlets. It may simply be that they are usually close to the floor and well within their reach. While outlets have a protective cover, this is not something you want their little fingers to get into. You can move a heavy piece of furniture and place it in front of it, but most rooms have several outlets. Local retailers sell plastic safety plugs that fit snugly, preventing children from removing them. Also, it’s a good idea to move electrical cords out of sight. Again, you can choose to tuck it in behind a piece of furniture or purchase a cord cover. When it comes to your entertainment system there are many exposed cords. Try switching to a single extension cord that has five or six built-in outlets and then you can store it off the floor. You can also switch to DIRECTV vs. Cable, where they have the wireless genie that takes up minimal space and eliminates wires.
Safety gates are a great way to limit the area for young children. They are usually 30″ to 48″ in height and you can place them in doorways, on stairwells and other framed openings. These safety devices are easy to install and sturdy. Most come with a lattice style pattern that allows you to see your child even in the adjacent room. You can also simply place them to block off certain rooms, like a kitchen, bedroom and a garage. They also come with latches that you can open when you need to access the area.
Locks on cabinets, drawers and appliances
The bathroom and kitchen are two places that children love to explore. Unfortunately, they are also the most dangerous. Taking out a few pots and pans and creating a tune is cute, but opening the cabinet under the sink that contains cleaning supplies can be life threatening. First, it’s always a good idea to move poisons, chemicals, and cleaners up into a high space, like the top of the refrigerator or the highest cabinet. In addition, place safety locks on the cabinets, drawers, and appliances, such as the refrigerator and the oven. Make sure that your microwave, toaster, and coffee maker sit back on the counter and that you unplug them when they are not in use. Keep your step stool in a secured cabinet, instead of out in the open, and move knives to a new secured location. In the bathroom, the same rules apply. Remove all medications or place a lock on the cabinet. Put a safety lock on the toilet and don’t leave anything out or plugged in, like a curling iron out or a razor.
Securing furniture and covering rough edges and removing cords
The last thing you want is to hear a loud thud coming from the next room. A heavy piece of furniture such as a dresser, entertainment center or curio cabinet can seriously harm a small child. And, don’t think for a minute that your child won’t try to climb. Today there are kits you can buy that prevent these types of scenarios from happening. They secure to the wall and then attach directly to your furniture. Also, if your tables don’t have rounded edges you can buy padded covers that will prevent injuries from slips and falls. Blinds are convenient and beautiful but they also come with long cords that can pose a serious risk for chocking. If you have blinds on your windows make sure to tuck the cords inside up near the top.
Small toys and removable parts
If you have older children in the home with your little one, it’s very important to make sure that they do not play with any of their toys, especially those with removable parts. Little ones see something and then immediately place it in their mouth. To avoid a possible serious injury, keep the older child’s toys separated. This way when it’s time for the baby to play, you can just take out a box with their safe toys in it.
Babies grow up fast and their curiosity continues to grow at the same pace. Protect your child during the first year by covering outlets and limiting them to a baby-proof room. As they grow older and begin to get around on their own, it’s important to keep potential hazards up and out of reach and locked away. Don’t ever underestimate the curious nature of a child and use precautions. Remember, it’s better to use caution than to live with regrets.