Early Stage Babyproofing

Early Stage BabyproofingSome of you have already baby proofed your pad. I know you have. You did it when you or your significant other was 7 months pregnant. You are the planner, the prepared one. The rest of us may have done a bit here and there, and some of us are just realizing that the time to baby proof is upon us. Have you recently retrieved the baby from under the kitchen table, because you didn’t realize he could roll that far or that quickly? Then it’s time.

When baby just begins to roll or sit up, around 4 to 6 months, is the perfect time to start babyproofing. He’ll be on the move soon and getting into everything before you know it. Start out by taking a stroll – or crawl, really – around the house. Being down low really can give you an idea of what he will see that you otherwise could miss. Take note of what cords are out, where the sharp edges are, where the outlets in the room are located, and test out pulling up on furniture. Take a look around at decorations. Have you left anything fragile or small on lower shelves because baby couldn’t move around yet? Do your curtains or blinds have cords that dangle down?  Figure out if you can block access to certain rooms, or if all areas of the house should be addressed.

The easiest first steps are the outlets. In our house, we used the basic plastic caps on most of them, choosing to use these sliding types on a few key locations that get used frequently. Most of our long term, always-in-use outlets are behind furniture, but if yours aren’t, consider these types of covers to keep small fingers away from the plugs. Also consider bundling loose cords with cord keeper devices. While you’re at it, tie up any hanging cords from those blinds. The less temptation for little fingers, the better.

Next comes securing any cabinets that early crawlers can reach. This is so very important, because lower cabinets are often places we secure heavy pots and pans, cleaning chemicals, and many other baby dangers. Plus, you’ll save your sanity down the line if baby just assumes he can’t get into any of them. My daughter is nearly 3 and still doesn’t touch any cabinet that has always had a lock on it. She just ignores them like they aren’t there. The two drawers we left unlocked and full of tupperware for her to play with, though, she’s in all the time. There are many cabinet lock options, so you may have to try a few to find ones you like.

Finally, make sure any furniture that might get pulled on is secured to the wall. This includes entertainment centers, tvs, dressers, bookcases, etc. It’s actually not very hard for furniture to tip over onto little ones, especially if a drawer gets pulled out and throws the unit off balance. Children are seriously hurt and killed every year, so even if you feel that everything you own is heavy and stable, make sure it’s all completely tethered and secured to the walls.

By taking care of a bulk of the babyproofing before your child is more mobile, you won’t find yourself scrambling once he starts walking, or taken completely by surprise when you find him in a room you thought he had no access to. A little preparation also gives you time to get used to your own newfound limits within the house! I have to admit, though, that after 3 years of cabinet catches, I still forget that there’s a lock on the pantry door every time I reach for it. You’d think I’d have caught on by now!

Kate Cunha is lives in the Pacific NW with her husband and daughter. She’s an easy going kind of mam, except when it comes to her child’s safety.



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