So, your baby is on the move. Prepare for the influx rush of feelings… equal parts “YESSS! Go, baby, Go!” and “NOOO! My baby’s not a baby anymore!” and “Oh, shit, now what?!?”
Here is just a of a handful of our childproofing tips, along with some favorite safeguarding products, to help you kickstart your defense strategy. If you want an extra hand or set of eyes, this is one of our favorite services to offer parents: a childproofing walkthrough, consultation, and personalized recommendation report specific to your home and family. We can do this virtually or in person — just let us know, we’d be happy to help you! #peaceofmind
Now to the goods…
General Rules of Thumb
To start, get low.
Before you even begin to map your install or determine which projects to tackle first, get down to baby’s eye level and look around at the world through their lens. (It feels a little insane to crawl around your home on your hands in knees, but just trust us.) At the earliest stage, we are looking to protect them while crawling/rolling around, pulling up on furniture, and starting to put things into their mouth. Think corners and foreheads, fingers and drawers, choking hazards, etc. This is a good rule of thumb to follow as baby grows and her needs and interests change… get low, so you can beat her to the danger. (Wouldn’t it be easier to just wrap ’em up in bubble wrap?!? 😉)
Prioritize the projects.
Do not feel like you have to cover every single surface of your home with furniture bumpers and cabinet locks the moment little one shows signs of mobility. Prioritize the projects that require the earliest attention (like bumpers, gates, furniture anchors, locking low-level cabinetry, etc.) and save the things that are out of reach and install those when it’s time (like door knob covers, upper drawer locks, etc.) If it cannot be reached, save yourselves the frustration of living and working around additional locks and barriers… only do that for as long as you need to, and not a day more! 😊
Create kid-free zones.
Along those same lines, rather than spending a lot of time and energy (and money!) on padding every item in your home, consider temporarily moving big furniture/accessory pieces out of the kid-friendly area and blocking off those areas with a handle lock or play yard/baby gates.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors.
At a bare minimum, you need one smoke detector and one carbon monoxide detector on each floor, preferably near the bedrooms. Unlike smoke, carbon monoxide mixes with the air and doesn’t necessarily rise, so it’s best to place these detectors around knee/waist height; think about the level at which your little ones nose will be when sleeping. If they are curious about the device, you can always place a little higher on the wall out of their reach.
Common Living Areas.
I recently read a stat that stated that a child is sent to the ER every 30 minutes due to a TV tip-over. THIRTY. MINUTES. That is crazy! This type of accident is absolutely preventable. If you have a free standing TV (a.k.a., it’s not mounted to the wall) it needs to either be anchored to the wall or to the table it’s sitting on. Any furniture anchor will do the trick.
You can use those same anchors to attach large furniture pieces to the wall as well: consoles, dressers, hutches, media tables/entertainment centers, etc. Any piece of furniture, especially those with drawers that can be used as stepping stones aiding in the tip, should be anchored to the wall.
There are several different hazards in the kitchen, but the ones that pose the biggest threats are sharp utensils, cleaning supplies, and heat/fire from appliances.
Keep sharp items (knives, peelers, mandolins, meat shredders/thermometers, etc.) and any toxic or cleaning agents out of reach by moving all of these items up to a high-level cabinet or on a top shelf in the pantry.
If you have low stove knobs, be sure to conceal them with plastic covers.
Windows and Blinds.
Blind cords are one of the most overlooked hazards in a home, but the solution is simple: either trim or tie them up. The strings should be independent of one another; if they are connected at the bottom with a knot or a connecter piece, remove and let them operate freely. The knot can create a noose-like loop, and the connector can become a choking hazard; both are considered huge dangers. Consider tying up the loose strings with a hook, or using a tool like the Bink Up & Away… our personal favorite.
Ensure that the area below windows is clear and there are no items little one could scootch over to use as a stool to boost up into the window well. Lock closed windows; if you have them open to enjoy these nice spring/summer days, make sure a watchful eye is keeping tot clear of the area.
Curtains can be avoided if not already installed. Little ones often find them interesting, and the hanging rod, end caps, and hardware all become potential dangers as they tug and play. If installed, you can tuck them away with a curtain hook.
Hands down, the safest kind of window treatment is a pull-down shade. These often come with the black-out feature which is perfect for bedrooms… win/win.
Before you even shop for a gate, there are a few things to cover first: -Pressure-mounted/tension gates are totally appropriate for the bottom of staircases, but should never be used on the tops. Hardware-mounted gates are the only way to go for the top. -Note if you have wall-to-wall, wall-to-banister, or banister-to-banister connection as that will dictate the style of gate you need. -Measure, and then measure again. Not just the width of the stairwell, but the height as well, paying special attention to handrails or anything that might obstruct the installation. Most standard doorway openings are between 30-32″, but there are several gate options that extend to fit larger or smaller. Something we hear time and time again is that parents initially think to order the extra-tall gate -thinking more coverage the better, makes sense- but then it doesn’t fit because the wall is either too short or the handrail/hardware from the handrail is in the way. Gates come in different lengths and heights, make sure the one you get will fit your space and suit your needs!
The plastic end cap on metal spring door stoppers can be pulled off relatively easily; if you have any of these, consider removing and replacing with a single piece stopper.
There are two basic ways to safeguard electrical outlets: a childproof outlet cover and outlet plugs. Should you use individual plugs, be sure to keep an eye that they are not easily removed as they can become a choking hazard.
We hope this is helpful information. If we can help make your childproofing journey any less stressful, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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