Nine months of pregnancy may seem long, but blink once and there’s your baby in front of you. Blink twice and they turn from a newborn who is just learning to control their muscles to a baby who crawls all over the house! Always be on your toes because you never know when the next milestone may come.
It is very crucial to prepare your home for the arrival of your baby. Their clothing must be ready, their blankets in place, and their nursery set up and complete. You have to make sure that your baby’s essential products are made of materials that will not irritate their delicate skin. And you also have to consider getting toys that will stimulate their imaginations.
If you think this list is complete, well, it’s not – at least, not yet. Aside from the things mentioned above, you also need to baby proof your home before your baby arrives.
Yes, it’s not too early to begin babyproofing! Once your baby arrives, you’ll never have the time to go over the entire house and baby-proof. So take advantage of your nesting phase now and get your home 100% ready for your baby.
What is babyproofing and what does it mean to baby proof?
Simply defined, babyproofing is the process of removing all the things that pose potential risks to your baby. Sooner or later, your baby will begin exploring the house, touching – and tasting – almost everything they see, and you need to be ready. You need to make sure that there is nothing your baby can reach that can cause them harm.
The tricky thing about babyproofing is that not everything harmful to babies is obvious. It’s easy to remember to put away scissors and knives and store dangerous chemicals in places your baby can’t reach. But there are “friendly” things like balloons and wallets that can cause sufficient danger to a child.
This is why it is helpful to have a complete checklist of everything you need to consider when babyproofing your home.
18 Things to Consider in Babyproofing Your Home
1. Smoke Detector
The first thing you need to do to ensure not only your baby’s but also your entire family’s safety is to install smoke detectors and carbon detectors. Make sure at least one smoke detector is installed on every floor of your home. Also, make it a point to change the batteries every month.
2. Medicine Cabinet
Have a list of all the medicines your baby needs and place it in one box. Place your baby’s medicines and your medications in separate boxes, and put both of them inside a locked cabinet that your baby can’t reach. Also, have a first-aid kit ready at every floor of your home, plus another one for each car.
3. Emergency Numbers
It is a good idea to have a list of your emergency contacts and have multiple copies of it. Have a digital copy of it in both your and your partner’s phones. Then, make physical copies and put it on the fridge, inside your bedroom, in the nursery, and by the phone.
4. Furniture Edges and Corners
Go over all of your furniture and cover their edges and corners with bumpers. A cheaper alternative is cut-up pool noodles, but there are many ready-to-use safety bumpers that are affordable enough. Cover all edges and corners – even those that don’t seem sharp.
If you thought walls were safe, think again! If you’re planning on having your walls repainted or wallpapered, make sure the job gets done at least 2 months before your due date to minimize exposure to fumes. Also, check your paint for flaking and peeling. Get them sealed or removed; otherwise, they can be ingested or inhaled.
Also remember to put non-slip pads under all of your rugs. This is especially crucial once your baby begins to attempt walking.
Babyproofing outlets is one thing you should never forget. You can use safety plugs to cover all open outlets, or you can also block them with furniture. If you do use safety plugs, choose those that are hard to pry out of the wall. If you can find plugs that need to be screwed on, that’s even safer.
8. Electricity Cords
Make sure there are no loose cords or wires that your baby can get tangled in. You can use cord holders to keep them tightly fastened and store them up high.
9. TV and Heavy Furniture
Little babies will explore anything and everything they can get their hands on – even your TV and your heavy furniture like bookshelves and dressers. To prevent them from falling over your child, you need to secure them using furniture straps that will hold furniture and appliances tightly against the wall.
Unplug all appliances like the coffee maker and the microwave oven when you’re not using them. If possible, store them inside locked drawers and cabinets.
11. Drawers and Cabinets
Speaking of drawers and cabinets, you also need to lock every drawer and cabinet that your baby can possibly reach. Use safety latches, and make sure these latches can’t be easily opened.
Curtains are not spared from babyproofing, too. Dangling cords and tassels pose safety risk to young babies, so you need to get rid of those. It’s also a good idea to not put your baby’s crib or bed near the windows.
Now, let’s go to the bathroom. The water inside your toilet can look irresistible to an exploring child, but this is highly risky. Keep your toilet lids locked down using a safety latch specifically made for toilets.
Bath time is a great way to bond with your baby, so make sure they’re completely safe, too. Install a bathtub thermometer to keep the water at a safe temperature. You may also use a soft cover for the bath tub spout.
15. Changing Table
You are going to use the changing table a lot of times, and while they are generally safe for newborn babies, it can be dangerous once your baby learns to roll over. To be safe, get a changing table with safety straps and make sure your baby is buckled up when you’re changing them. And even with safety straps, never leave your baby alone on the changing table.
16. Baby Toys
Toys are a baby essential that you can’t do without, and since your baby is going to use them so much, look for safe options. For newborn babies, the ideal toy is soft, made of cotton, and much larger than their mouth. The ideal toy also doesn’t have long strings or small parts that can be removed.
There are some guidelines to follow in choosing baby-safe bedding, too. While it is good to get soft bedding, avoid ones that are too fluffy or furry. Instead, choose ones that are structured but lightweight. It is also a good idea to choose bedding made of 100% cotton, which don’t irritate newborn babies’ delicate skin.
18. Doors, Windows, and Stairs
You also need to check your doors, your windows, and your stairs. For doors, use door stops that prevent them from slamming shut on little fingers. For windows, use window guards that prevent accidental falls. For the same purpose, you also need to install safety gates to block stairways – there should be one gate at the top and another at the bottom.
Finally, get a partner or a friend to have a final check of the house. Get them to inspect each part of the house thoroughly, and for a more accurate perspective, ask them to get down on their hands and knees and crawl. They will see things at baby’s eye level, and they can check the floor, too, for small, pointy objects.
Babyproofing is a tough task, but because your baby needs to explore the world, the best you can do is to keep them safe while they’re doing it.