There are so many great milestones that happen within the first year of a child’s life. From the first smile and laugh, to the first time they sit up, to the first time they say “momma”, every week (and often every day!) seems to bring something new for you to add to your baby’s memory book.
However, as will quickly become apparent, with each new skill your child learns, you as a parent gain a new responsibility. This couldn’t be truer as when your child first begins to crawl.
The “rocking back and forth” started it. Kaston was 6 ½ months and I was sure he was about to crawl any day. Well it took about a month, but he got it. The rocking turned into one hand moving forward and then ‘splat’. The next day was one hand, down to his elbow, and then fall. The next day he decided that it was time to go.
What started as a slow hand, knee, hand, knee quickly turned into an all-out race. Within 3 days, there was no stopping him.
The pure joy and excitement I felt the first time I saw Kaston cruising rapidly around our living room turned into nervousness and fear as he went for the dog’s water bowl, the light socket, and the lamp on the couch-side table. You quickly realize that everything is a “death-trap” and nothing is off limits to their mischievous little brains. And thus, the baby-proofing went into full effect.
Although “baby-proofing” will obviously mean different things to different people, depending on the things you own, the layout of your house, etc., here is my list of the things I find of most concern [as well as a few things that are just “nice to have done”] that every parent should consider:
- Start off by getting on the “ground level” so you can see things from your baby’s perspective. Clear everything at or below your chest that can be pulled off, over, etc.
- Use plug covers that look like an outlet but have to be twisted to work, as these are the hardest to remove [unfortunately for both you and baby. However, the extra safety is definitely worth it.]
- Keep all cords out of your child’s reach as they could either a) get electrocuted by chewing on them, or b) pull the object over by tugging it. Putting a plastic cover over chords will prevent this a bit, but it’s still better to have them completely out of reach.
- Never put a lit candle (or even an unlit one as your child may “eat” it), where it can be reached or knocked over. You don’t want him/her to get burned, or to have a fire on your hands!
- Install rubber stoppers for the top of doors, so they only close a bit and baby’s little fingers won't get pinched. Putting a cloth diaper up there works just as well.
- Remove rubber tips from door stoppers. It doesn’t cost a thing and is a common cause of choking.
- Install magnetic cabinet and drawer locks, which are trickier for little ones to learn to open.
- Doorknob covers are a must once your child is able to stand up. They stop him/her from opening the door and running out.
- Deadbolts or chains on the top of exterior doors are also a necessity.
- Install cover guards for sharp table corners.
- Use a gate to keep your child away from stairs and other “off limit” rooms. A mesh gate is a great option because baby is less likely to get hurt. Plus, it works well for large doorways.
- Use slip-proof mats underneath throw rugs and door mats.
- Use a toilet lid lock. You may have to keep reminding your husband to close the lid so it actually works, but eventually it will become habit!
- Keep your purse out of reach since this is a child’s go-to.
- Use a TV guard to stop TV play. It covers all the controls, as this is another child favorite.
- Learn which plants are safe, and which aren’t.
- Keep all medications and house-hold cleaners well out of your child’s reach.
- Cover the tub faucet with a soft-inflated cover to protect baby’s head in the bath.
- Visually inspect the floor for small objects every time you enter a room.
- And remember, if they aren't meant to have it, they'll want it, so move it!
While this list may seem a bit overwhelming at first, think of it this way: everything is so much more exciting at a baby’s level. [As in Step #1], get down on the floor and see for yourself!
While ideally, all of the above will be completed before your baby begins his/her mischievous journey into the unknown, that isn’t always doable. So just remember, if you haven’t baby-proofed before, than don’t take your eyes off your child for a second. It’s amazing what a child can get into when you are replying to a text!
For more tips about your child’s safety, health, nutrition, etc. Contact Us today and let us help you on your journey!