From the moment you find out you’re going to be a parent, that protective instinct kicks in.
Mothers start to think about every single thing that might (potentially) harm their baby in the womb. From wearing stilettos and eating seafood to drinking too much caffeine, they give up a lot of habits.
But how do moms and dads babyproof their homes to prevent accidents.
Whether you’re a first-time parent or already have children, it can be overwhelming to keep track of your toddler, who seems to be attracted to danger. While young children are inquisitive by nature and want to explore their surroundings (which is crucial to their development), this can pose a threat to their safety and well-being.
Fortunately, most household accidents are preventable, if you identify hazards beforehand and take steps to avoid them. Here’s a checklist of babyproofing must-dos that can remarkably reduce the number of hidden dangers in and around your home.
Home Babyproofing Tips for Parents
While there’s no substitute for a parent’s watchful eye, these tips cover basic (but important) risk factors to allow your child to roam freely around the house.
Say ‘NO’ to Cords!
Make sure that anything with a cord or cable is out of reach of children, including phones, baby monitors and corded blinds. There have been all too many incidents of kids suffering fatal injuries caused by blind cords. So, stay away from cords and follow these safety tips to avoid accidental strangulation.
- Choose electrical motorized blinds over corded ones as these are cord-free and safe for kids.
- Avoid using anything that blocks a child’s nose, face or compresses the chest, for example, plastic bags, heavy blankets or oversized furniture.
- Beware of strings hanging from a bag or ribbons trailing from crib toys. Cut them short or take them out completely if possible.
- Avoid using drawstring bags to avoid strangulation.
Beware of Electrical Hazards
Keep an eye out for any potential electrical hazard. Childproofing electrical cords and outlets is one of the first and most important changes to make in your home before they start crawling and pulling themselves up on furniture. Childhood deaths due to electrocution are usually the result of kids playing (unsupervised) around electrical gadgets and wires, and the majority of these casualties occur at home. It only makes sense to lock, cover or block all exposed electrical outlets (especially the ones within your toddler’s reach).
- Get shorter cords, tie them down or buy covers that conceal them safely.
- Use power strip safety covers to avoid shock hazards caused by open outlets.
- Unplug and store electrical appliances when not in use.
- Block outlets with sliding plate covers that won’t loosen and fall out to cause a choking hazard.
- Use cable management products to protect against cord entanglement.
- Anchor floor lamps or remove them.
- Damaged wiring and appliances should be immediately fixed or replaced.
Take Precaution Against Injuries from Falls
From the moment your baby learns to crawl, their surroundings turn into avenues for discovery and exploration. They want to touch, feel, taste and smell almost everything within reach. While little bumps and bruises are normal during this exploratory phase, keep an eye out for potential hazards that could cause an emergency room visit or worse.
- Install approved safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways and secure them to the wall.
- Keep babies and toddlers strapped in when using highchairs, infant carriers, strollers or swings.
- Secure furniture, TVs and music systems to the wall using mounts, brackets, braces, anchors or wall straps to prevent accidents.
- Use proper window guards to prevent falls.
- Avoid keeping chairs, stools, cribs, beds and other furniture close to windows to prevent toddlers from climbing onto sills.
- Never leave a toddler alone near stairs, even when they’re gated. Children can climb the gate, reach the top of the staircase and fall from a great height.
- Attach protective padding to the corners and sharp edges of coffee tables, furniture, fireplace hearths and kitchen countertops.
- Avoid old-fashioned accordion gates, as your child’s head may get trapped in these.
Eliminate the Risks of Choking and Suffocation
Choking can prove fatal for both kids and adults, although kids are at greater risk since they can’t chew their food as well, causing them to sometimes swallow it whole. If food or any other small object gets stuck in their windpipe, it may be difficult or perhaps impossible for them to breathe.
Children exposed to unsafe sleep environments are at greater risk of suffocation, sleep obstruction and strangulation – all leading causes of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) or death from sudden cessation of breathing. Fortunately, there are many preventive measures that can lower the possibility of such traumatic incidents.
- Avoid giving children hard, gooey or sticky candies.
- Whole nuts, seeds and chunks of meat or cheese are a strict no-no.
- Chop fruits and veggies into pieces no larger than half an inch. This way, if the child swallows the food, they won’t choke.
- Keep coins, buttons, uninflated latex balloons, small toy parts, button batteries and hair beads out of reach.
- Always put babies to sleep on their back to reduce the risk of suffocation. (If your child was born premature or has any medical condition, speak to a pediatrician to figure out what’s right for them.)
- Avoid keeping too many pillows or soft toys in your baby’s crib to avoid suffocation.
- Don’t leave any small object around that may be accidentally ingested.
We want to keep our kids out of harm’s way and give them a safe environment to play and explore. We’ve covered some of the most important safety measures to prevent injuries and reduce hazards. By following the advice in this babyproofing guide, you’ll not only keep your baby safe but relieve some of the stress of parenting. After all, we should be enjoying our children, not worrying or complaining about them. Remember, your little ones are growing up and one day you’ll miss these messy days of mayhem.