Once a woman wraps her mind around the fact that she's having a baby, she's gonna feel like nesting. Nesting a point in the pregnancy where mothers begin making their house a home; a place where she will raise her child(ren). Not only will the nursery be created (with adorable clothes and shoes, no doubt), she will then have to baby-proof her home.
While many women already know to add edge protectors to sharp edges and locks for cabinets, they might not realize that they're also baby-proofing their home for them too. Hardwood floors are beautiful, but having an area rug may make it easier and safer to play with the baby. And what about houseplants? Most parents forget the fact that some of their houseplants can be toxic to both humans and pets in case digested.
Baby-proofing may seem neurotic in a sense, but it's for the best of the family. It's a time to reorganize, throw some things away, eliminate clutter, and make the house a safe place for people of all ages. After all, a mom may think she doesn't need to think about those TV chords behind the shelf, but once that baby starts walking or that toddler starts horsing around — it's better to keep things secure and out of harm's way. Here are 20 things in the home parents really need to think about baby-proofing BEFORE baby arrives.
20 Believe It Or Not, Your Baby Monitor
You know that high priced baby monitor you (most likely) bought? The one that allows you to physically see your baby when you're in another room? Well, believe it or not, something that can be so helpful for your child can also be the one thing that injures them. Parents typically put these monitors near cribs; places where babies can easily reach them. And when they start going through that phase where they put things in their mouths, well, putting an electronic in one's mouth is a no-no.
Let's also not forget the long chord some of these monitors have. Try to keep those chords tucked away and out of reach.
19 How Many Blankets Are Too Many Blankets?
I think most new parents are aware that having too many things in one's crib can be overwhelming, uncomfortable, and dangerous for a baby — but this includes blankets.
Newborns aren't like adults, where they can adjust things to become more comfortable. If a baby has too many blankets (or a heavy blanket), they can suffocate or become overheated. As AAP News & Journals Gateway says:
"...Such soft bedding can increase the potential of suffocation and rebreathing. Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, and other soft surfaces are hazardous when placed under the infant or left loose in the infant's sleep area and can increase SIDS risk up to fivefold independent of sleep position."
18 Don't Be Blind With Blinds
Aren't blinds and curtains a wonderful thing?! We can make our homes as dark or bright, as cozy or sunny as we want! And when we're decorating our baby's nursery, window treatments come into play and can easily be tossed aside. But we have to remember that the drawstrings that come along with most blinds can be deadly. If a baby's crib is near a window, a long drawstring can easily choke a curious baby. So, if your crib is near a window, tie those strings up high above and out of your baby's reach.
17 Is Your Crib REALLY Safe?
Cribs are made for a reason, right? They're these tiny little jail cells to keep our babies out of harm's way while sleeping. Thankfully, we live in a world where there are MANY cribs to choose from, but that can also be the problem: cribs with slats can become unsafe.
As Stutter Health says, "If you are using an older model crib, be aware that it may have wider spaces between the slats and be unsafe. Be sure the crib slats are no more than 2-3/8 inches apart to prevent your baby’s head from getting caught. Older cribs often have unsafe corner post extensions, decorative knobs or cut-outs that are dangerous."
16 I Like It Hot, Hot, Hot
When a friend of mine had her baby, the first thing I asked was "How do you know if your baby is hot or cold?" It's not like they can tell you, right? This is where a parent needs to understand their baby's cries, coos, and to check the temperature of their back often. Fingers and toes are always gonna be a little cooler than the rest of the body, so the rule of thumb is to make sure your baby has on one more layer than you do.
In the case of overheating, though, as a parent you need to take charge of the thermostat at home. "Most experts recommend that you keep your home at between 68 to 72 F. This may require heating the house in winter and cooling it in summer while dressing the baby appropriately to the temperature," Very Well Family reminds us.
15 Cya Later, Clutter
Now, when I say clutter, I mean many things, but in particular the smaller piles of clutter that many adults seem to have: paper clips, push pins, buttons, sewing kits, batteries, coins... These are all items that seem to escape us (fall on the flood, on the table, etc...) and can easily be picked up by our little one. And since babies are fascinated by everything, we can't risk them eating or putting a penny where it doesn't belong. Keep those small piles of clutter at bay.
14 Love Coffee, Curse The Tables
As a lover of coffee and a flawless coffee table, let me explain. Many people have coffee tables in rooms of their home; it's a place where people can place their beverages, snacks, or put their feet up. They're typically knee height, which makes it an excellent point of focus when a baby begins to learn how to stand up. Not only will they be able to grab whatever you have on the table, but those edges on the table are extra dangerous.
No one needs their sweet pea running into a sharp corner. Buy some edge protectors and place them on sharp edges in your home.
13 Slippery Stairs (Say That Five Times, Fast)
I have a friend who had to put carpet runners in her home because her sweet French bulldog kept slipping and falling up and down the stairs. That being said, if we are putting down soft spots for animals, we should definitely be doing the same for our babies. These carpet pieces will eliminate slips and be softer landings just in case your child grows into a crazy toddler who loves to climb and crawl. Plus, these days there are so many fashionable options to choose from.
12 Let's Check Those Stairs One More Time...
While we're talking about carpet runners for stairs, let's also remember to baby-proof the stairs even more by buying a gate. Place gates in front of any room you don't want your baby crawling in, while you're at it. But don't just place them against a wall, be sure to secure them in place so they don't fall over if someone taps it or if it's a particularly breezy day. Having gates might be an eyesore, but when it comes to our baby's safety — buy a gate or two.
Tip: these gates can later come in handy for baby number two or a new pet.
11 Trash That Trash Can
Am I telling you to throw away your trash-can? No, that would be weird. What I am saying is to make sure your smaller trash-cans (and even your larger ones) are hidden in cabinets. Things are thrown away for a reason and since babies are curious, they may go looking through it, knock it over, and even try tasting a few things. (Yuck!) Who knows if there's a razor blade, bloody tissues, or feminine products in there?! Keep those trash-cans tucked away in a cabinet (which is also protected by a baby safe lock).
10 Top Heavy
Top heavy furniture isn't even safe for adults, let alone babies. If anyone's a Modern Family fan, they'll remember the time there was an earthquake and the bookcase fell over on Luke. Phil, being the goofy dad, was supposed to secure the bookcase to the wall but forgot since there hasn't been an earthquake in a while. Although this occurred in a TV sitcom, it can definitely still happen in real life. Make sure all furniture, TVs, dressers, etc, are strapped tightly and secure.
9 Cabinets (More Like Cab-NOTs)
Buying locks for cabinets is probably one of the first things parents are told to do to prepare for baby. Even if you don't think your baby is gonna feel like digging through a boring cabinet, it's better to be safe than sorry. Medicine cabinets, cleaning supply cabinets — lock 'em up! And while we're speaking about cabinet locks, you might wanna keep things like medicine and cleaning supplies high up and away from the baby.
Does it sound like you have to do a lot of reorganizing to get ready for the baby? Absolutely.
8 It's Electric!
This may seem like a no-brainer but there are a lot of parents out there who don't think their kids would be interested in electrical sockets, but why take the risk? Buy little covers to avoid them trying to lick or stick their little fingers in there. This can lead to an electric shock that can startle and further injure a sweet baby. While us adults don't find outlets interesting at all, babies are on a different playing field. Those three holes do kind of look like surprised faces, so I guess I can see the fascination.
Did you think your car seat was the only thing you needed to do when it comes to your kid and driving? False. Not only should you have the proper (legal) car seat for your baby in your country, but you also need to be aware of filth and clutter in your car as well. Think of pennies, lint, dropped food... Toys in the car are cool distractions and all that but make sure they're safe. There's not much you can do when driving if you look in your rearview mirror and they get in trouble.
I know you love your pet and you were probably thrilled when you realized your new baby wasn't allergic to them, however, you should never leave your baby alone with your pet until they are well acquainted and adjusted. Even though you've had your pet for years and have a strong bond with them, they may feel threatened or confused by this new thing in their home. Be sure to get your animal familiar with your baby by introducing them to your baby's things; items that have their scent on it.
5 Don't Toy Around With Toilets
Once babies turn into toddlers and start running around, they become more independent in a sense; wanting to explore the world on their own. That being said, toilets can seem like fascinating small puddles in their home. It's a random bowl of water that they want to explore more of. The problem is, toilets are literal germ pools that can also lead to an unfortunate drowning. There might not seem like a lot of water in a toilet, but if a baby slips in head first, they may not be strong enough to pull themselves out.
I have some pretty shifty faucets in my home. I can turn the faucet to the warm setting, and it becomes so hot, it burns my skin! I could honestly give myself a facial by how hot my water gets. And if I'm silly enough to burn myself every time I do the dishes, imagine an unknowing child who tries to brush their teeth, wash their hands, or play around in the bathroom. It may seem hard to keep faucets out of reach from children, but it's something to try. No one wants their baby burned by something as simple as water.
3 Pretty But Sketchy
I saw a meme the other day that said "Plant ladies are the new cat ladies," and I couldn't agree more. Houseplants are making a comeback and people are really falling in love with the idea of raising different plants in different corners of their home. However, something most parents don't think about is if their plants are poisonous to humans or dogs.
Plants like Peace Lily, Mother-In-Law's Tongue, Ivy, Pothos, and Arrowhead are all toxic to those who lick or munch on them. And since babies are curious and plants are beautiful, it's easy to see why they may try and play with them.
Do your homework on the plants in your home before bringing baby home.
2 How High Is A High Chair?
It's odd to think baby proofing high chairs since they were literally made for babies; aren't they safe enough? But if they're not regulated or stable, that can be a long fall for a baby.
Stutter Health says to "Always secure the safety strap. Be sure there is a strap between your baby’s legs, as well as a waist strap to prevent your baby from slipping out." They also remind parents to "Keep [the] high chair away from stoves, electrical cords and other areas where your baby could be hurt."
1 Think About Yourself, Too
Baby proofing isn't just for your baby — it's for you, too. Having a new baby means living on a few hours of sleep, navigating through dim hallways in the middle of the night, and bopping a baby around al hours a day. Make sure your home is easy to navigate through; make a safe (and happy) place for you. Are there low hanging lamps or walls? Are there sharp picture frames? Make your as home clutter and accident-free as possible for all.
References: Motherly, Den Garden, AAP News & Journals Gateway, Stutter Health, Very Well Family