Baby Proofing with Older Kids Around

Baby Proofing with Older Kids AroundWhen you have a mobile baby, it’s work figuring out how to baby proof your home. Those tiny outlet covers, baby gates, and other products suddenly fill up your living room. But what about when your baby isn’t the only child in your home?  For me, this has become a reality. My son Levi started crawling at 8 months and my 2-year-old daughter, Johanna, has many tiny toys. Here are some tips for babyproofing your home with other kids around.

What You Need

With all babyproofing, there are some items you may want to invest in.

  • Baby gates: These vary in price and keep baby in a certain room or area. We have a basic gate I purchased at Walmart, but you can get nicer ones, too. Be particularly careful if you have stairs in your room. Baby gates are also made for stairs to keep baby safe. You can even put a baby gate around your fireplace to keep baby from any harm.
  • Outlet covers
  • Cabinet locks
  • Bumpers to put on sharp corners

Here’s an awesome checklist with ideas on what to cover.

Think Ahead

With any number of children, you have to plan ahead. Be sure to think about things like medications, sharp utensils, cleaning products, etc., and keep them out of reach. When we moved into our current home, we had to move our knives and scissors where little hands couldn’t explore and find them. Remember, eventually baby will be walking and able to reach up higher. Think about your other children and what they can get into. Be sure to have dangerous items out of everyone’s reach. Lock up items that could be dangers to children, as well. Handguns are one danger that many parents have in their homes. Be sure that your home is a safe environment for your children.

Educate Your Kids

Take the time to explain to older children how important it is to help keep baby safe. For me, this means explaining to my daughter why the baby can’t play with tiny bracelets, earrings, etc. We have learned to eat our snacks at the table, not on the couch or floor. Choking is a serious hazard for babies. A tiny fruit snack or sticker stuck to the floor could be harmful. Let your older children be accountable to help you. My daughter will have a toy and ask me if baby can play with it. She knows to get my approval before handing the baby a small toy that will go straight into his mouth. Let your older siblings help baby proof. Teach them what is safe and what isn’t. Allow them to be an extra set of eyes on the baby. Johanna will tell me when Levi is getting close to the fireplace in our home. She also knows to tell me if he is need of something, most of the time.

With any kids, remember supervision is key.  You can baby proof all you want, but you still need to supervise. As helpful as my daughter is, if I leave her alone long enough with the baby, something will happen. He is just starting to cruise, and I have caught her knocking him over. Just be present in your kid’s day-to-day interactions. Teach them what is safe and when they mess up, show them what’s right. As your baby grows, there will be new things to get into. Babyproofing-childproofing-the work of a mom is never done, but it is so rewarding.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana where she lives, writes, and babyproofs on a daily basis.

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