Our homes are where our babies spend the majority of their hours every day but these safe havens are also dangerous for babies. In fact, over a third of recorded child injuries and deaths occur through preventable accidents at home. Because it can mean the difference between life and death;here are some useful baby proofing tips and tricks.
- Primarily, one of the best baby proofing tips and tricks is to get at the eye level of our babies. This may sound not that much, but it actually gives us our babies’ perspective. This will give us an opportunity to scan the items that we would want to keep off their reach.
- Next, we must anticipate all the high-risk zones around the house for a variety of hazards. We must examine, for example, where our babies are likely to fall and get fallen over by objects. Besides, we should know areas that might pose choking, drowning, suffocation, burns, poisoning, and strangulation hazards.
- Also, we can shortlist a number of baby proofing devices. These devices may be purchased, or we can improvise at home. These include our trusty baby gates, window guards, locks and latches, bumpers, covers, and the like.
However, despite these devices that are made for our convenience, we should remember that baby proofing is a process. This means that we should go beyond installing gears by arranging our homes, decluttering, or cleaning. Most importantly, we should watch over our babies at all times.
The thing about baby proofing is that it can sometimes be intimidating, especially to newbie parents. Of course, we all just want to provide the safest possible space for our precious offspring. While some will choose to hire professionals to do the task, it is actually totally doable given the right amount of information.
Get at the eye level of the baby
We may not notice it happening really quickly, but the babies we keep cradling are going to self-transport soon. Apparently, when this happens, they will be at risk of getting into all kinds of mischief and danger. As much as our concern, our priority is keeping them safe from acquiring injuries or any kind of hazard. Although, we might also be concerned with a lot of possible mess we are going to deal with.
So, as a tip, we should take extra measures to hide dangerous items that are lurking around our house. Most especially, the items at our babies’ reach compose the majority that poses them a variety of hazards.
To execute the first of our baby proofing tips and tricks, we should get at the eye level of the baby. We can do this by getting down on our knees on the floor to get our babies’ perspective of home. Then we can scan all the cluttered items and keep most of them up and away from our babies’ reach.
Anticipate all the potential high-risk zones around the house
As mentioned, a lot of recorded child injuries and deaths are caused by preventable accidents. This tells us the need to think ahead to reduce the possibility of accidents happening in our own homes.
Apparently, the most common causes of the injuries of deaths are falls, choking, drowning, suffocation, fires/burns, poisoning, and strangulation. Thus, in line with this, the following categories are listed for our reference.
- Fall risks – stairs, slippery floors, windows, balconies, and large furniture.
- Choking hazards – kitchen for some food items, bedroom for unsafe sleep items, craft room, or workshop for small items, toy room for small toys.
- Drowning hazards – bathroom, kitchen, and pools.
- Suffocation – kitchen for some food items, bedroom for unsafe sleep items
- Fire/burn hazards – kitchen, fireplace, barbecue grill
- Toxic materials – kitchen, medicine cabinet, garage, and garden shed.
- Strangulation hazards – Blinds of windows in the rooms, and all rooms with electrical cords.
Create a brief list of baby proofing devices that can be purchased or improvised
By anticipating the high-risk zones at home, we can now then identify the objects that need specific protective aids. There is a lot that can actually be directly bought for our convenience, for the purposes we want. Otherwise, we can improvise with the existing items we have at home to serve for similar purposes. However, the following are common devices we can utilize along with our baby proofing tips and tricks.
Install baby gates in areas around the house that we do not want our babies to access freely. For example, the first one on our fall risks list is the stairs. This is because the stairs might look just like a fun obstacle course for our babies. Also, at their age, they may not yet have the concept of danger. That is why a lot of them may trudge their way to the stairs out of pure innocence and/or curiosity.
We can also install the gates in between rooms, for example, at the doorway to the kitchen and the bathroom. Other than that, the outdoor area and the pool area can be secured with similar devices. Then, we can keep our babies free from a lot of risks other than fall. These include fire and burns, drowning, and even poisoning. Below is a good example of one:
Also, install baby gates to serve as a room divider. For example, we want to keep the side of our living room with the fireplace off our babies’ access. Therefore, we can utilize free standing baby gates. So then, our babies are kept at the side of the room off of the risk for fire and burns.
A lot of parents also actually use free standing baby gates in playrooms, where they also place foam mats. This will strategy will keep our babies in one place comfortably while playing. Also, it will save us the sanity of constantly cleaning our floor of a cluttered toy mess. This may also be helpful when there are older children at home. It will establish boundaries when it comes to toys and plays. Toys for three years and older may have tiny parts that will pose a choking hazard to our younger babies.
Lastly, install safety baby gates in the form of rail nets to the railings. The railings may be present in our stairs or in our balconies. Remember that the size of our babies is not our size. And the gaps between rail posts may be sufficient space for our babies to squeeze in and risk a fall.
We can purchase ready-made gates and nets specially tailored for the purposes mentioned. However, we can actually utilize our existing items at home, such as sturdy fabrics, nets, woods, or thin poles.
Secure the window openings with window guards. This may not sound like much, but it actually means the difference between life and death. Many people opt to secure their windows with nets, to make them off-limits to the babies. However, these may be fragile security aids when it comes to risks of falls as they may not be able to hold the weight. We should install proper window guards to accommodate this concern. We can purchase ready-made ones, or we can improvise with pieces of wood and thin poles.
Furniture and Appliance Anchors
Use anchors to prevent furniture and appliances from tipping over. Large furniture and appliances can be used as stepping stones by the babies. When babies climb over things, there is a great possibility that the objects are going to fall over and cause serious injury to little babies
This makes one of our most important baby proofing tips and tricks, to be mounting our furniture and appliances on the wall with anchors. This includes television sands, shelves, dressers, desks, ranges, and the like. In addition, free-standing ranges and stoves may be installed with anti tip brackets.
Locks and Latches
Use safety locks and latches for doors, cabinets, drawers, and some appliances. As the baby gates, these devices will function by restricting areas of our babies’ access. For example, we would not want them exploring the kitchen or the bathroom. These areas pose hazards that include burning, drowning, poisoning, suffocation, and strangulation.
However, as we cannot keep these rooms’ doors closed all the time, we can just lock the cabinets and drawers. We want our medicines, cleaners, lighters, knives, and china wares locked in them so that our babies cannot play with them.
Moreover, other appliances may have doors that babies might get attracted to, like the fridge, dishwasher, and oven. Therefore, as our storage doors, we can secure them with locks and latches for the same purpose. A wide variety is available in stores to suit our needs. For instance the one below
Use knob covers for security and more convenience than safety locks. The thing about locks is that they are only good for doors we do not use often. If used for the ones that we use a few times each day, it may be quite a hassle. Therefore, as an alternative, we can opt to utilize specially made knob covers. These devices are good as locks for babies but are easy maneuvers for us adults.
Also, not only doorknobs have specially-built covers. Stove knobs can also now be protected with baby proofing covers in case our babies can reach them.
Make use of anti-scald devices for warm and safe bath times. We would not like our babies to get burned while we bathe them. And since they are more sensitive, we should not depend totally on the practice of merely feeling the water. This tells us, as among our baby proofing tips and tricks, to use anti-scald devices. We should set the temperature of the water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, we can prevent the likelihood of burns from hot water.
Corner and Edge Covers
Set up covers or bumpers on sharp furniture corners and edges. Accidents may happen, and our babies may bump themselves on anything they come across. As much as we are concerned, we should take ample consideration of sharp corners and edges. Obviously, as they are sharp, they can pose severe injuries to our delicate babies.
It is not aesthetically pleasing, but it is among our effective baby proofing tips and tricks to install protective covers. We should make sure that they will not come off in case our babies pull them. Or else, we can secure them with superglue to guarantee that they will stick for a long time. For instance, have a look the product below:
Outlet Covers and Plates
Prevent electrocution by securing outlets with covers and plates. Outlets may come off interesting to our babies with their sometimes face-looking assemble. They might find it fun to observe us inserting plugs on them. So, there might be a possibility that they will try the outlets for themselves.
Clearly, especially with plugged electronics, our outlets are not the best toys for our babies. Therefore, we should keep them covered with protective covers and plates. But be sure that they are not small enough to pose a choking hazard to our babies. Also, we can secure them with glue, so they do not come off easily. We can also use a tamper-resistant receptacle when we replace one.
Set up smoke alarms around the house. Specifically, we should set them up inside and out of the bedrooms and on every level of our homes. Obviously, they will alarm us when a fire is budding somewhere conveniently, even when we are asleep. However, we might need to check the alarms every month to ensure that they are still working. Also, their batteries must be changed at least annually. Otherwise, we can opt to use 10-year batteries for our smoke alarms.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Install carbon monoxide alarms around the house. As the fire alarms, these ones alarm us to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. We must install the alarms by the sleeping areas of our homes. Also, they should be checked regularly whether they are still working. Their batteries might also need changing at least once every year.
Remember that baby proofing is a process and not a set of products
It is so easy to get overwhelmed with a lot of baby proofing products in stores. However, the real essence of baby proofing is not at installing the right devices or gears. Some aspects of our baby proofing may be as simple as cleaning, decluttering, or arranging our homes. For example, we can do the following:
- Keep furniture off the windows so babies cannot climb on them and stick themselves out on windows.
- Keep window blind cords up off our babies’ reach to avoid strangulation hazards.
- Keep electronics unplugged when not in use and store electrical cords properly.
- Keep cleaning the floor for litter food or cluttered small items.
- Use the right-fitting mattress for baby cribs to prevent gaps on the sides.
- Use non-slip mats, and consistently clear the floor to prevent slips.
- Lastly, remember that baby proofing is not an alternative for parental supervision. In other words, keep a consistent watch on the babies.
How can we prepare ourselves in case injuries or emergencies occur?
First of all, we can prevent accidents if we watch our babies all the time. However, as some of them may be inevitable, we can prepare ourselves by keeping important numbers. These should include hospitals, doctors, caregivers, police, fire agencies, neighbors, and relatives. For example, in the case of a poisoning emergency, then we can call the National Poison Control Center immediately.
In addition, we should take the initiative to learn some skills like first-aid. This should involve CPR and age-appropriate Heimlich maneuver. These will all be useful not only when emergencies occur for our babies but for all household members. Also, we must have an escape plan in case of fire and calamities. We can practice the plan a few times every year to save our sanity from the possibility of the events happening.
How can we protect our babies from choking hazards caused by food?
Our baby proofing tips and tricks covered how babies can choke on cluttered small items around the house. However, little is mentioned on how babies may also choke on food, even with a nearly full set of teeth. So, to protect them, we must avoid giving them any small, firm foods like raw carrots, nuts, grapes, candies, hot dogs, and such unless they are well chopped or cooked into softness.