When our first child was born, we baby-proofed our home to the max. Every plug was covered, every step gated, every cord secured, and every cupboard, toilet and drawer locked. The years past and our baby girl grew up. She became more secure with her freedom and the house rules and we became more comfortable too. Then her little brother arrived. As with most second children, we were feeling a bit more relaxed, but obviously forgetful about how quickly kids get into trouble. It was not until little brother was nine-months old and crawling right towards every hazard in sight that we realized it was time to take on baby-proofing AGAIN!
As a parent, it feels like there are a million things you need to do to prepare yourself, and your home, for the arrival of a baby. There are countless websites to reference and companies you can hire that will come to your door, point out issues, and even baby-proof for you if you wish.
Remember: it only takes a second for baby to get into a dangerous situation.
Here is a list of 10 baby-proofing tips to keep in mind:
- Look at installing safety gates, latches, locks, window guards, corner/edge bumpers, door stops, electrical outlet covers, and of course, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.
- Never leave your baby alone with a pet.
- Keep window blind or curtain cords cut short to help prevent strangulation. The same thing goes for phone wires and exposed electrical cords. Consider whether you should install any devices to secure cords or wires.
- Medications, cleaning products, and any other potentially poisonous materials should be kept up high and in a locked cupboard. Keep the phone number for your local Poison Control Centre near your phone. To find the centre in your area, check your telephone book or search online at the website for the Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres: www.capcc.ca
- Turn your water heater’s temperature down to 49°C (120°F) to help prevent burns from hot water.
- Check all new toys carefully for small parts that detach, could get ripped, or could get bitten off easily by your baby. Choking is a serious hazard for toddlers.
- Plastic bags can be deadly. Keep bags and any plastic wrapping materials, like dry cleaning coverings, out of reach.
- Stairs! Always keep protective gates locked.
- Water is a hazard in all of its forms. Always keep toilet seats closed. Never, ever leave your child alone in the bath, and secure backyard pools with all necessary safety devices, including a fence.
- Change Table: As all parents of squirmy babies know a diaper change can be challenging, and gets increasingly difficult the bigger they get. To keep baby safe and prevent falls, use the safety strap and never leave your baby unattended. Also, do yourself a favour and keep toiletries out of your baby’s reach but within yours.
Be sure that all the products your baby uses—such as cribs, strollers, playpens, high chairs, and changing tables—meet the standards set by Health Canada Consumer Product Safety (CPS). For more information, go to the CPS website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/index-eng.php.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are lots of resources out there when it comes to baby- and child-proofing you home, so I encourage you to do further research from reputable sources to keep your home safe for baby. For some great tips from Health Canada, check out http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/cons/child-enfant/safe-securite-eng.php
Happy baby-proofing everyone!