Home Safety Tips - General Childproofing Tips
Childproofing your home can be daunting for parents, but following a few simple tips can help set you out on the right path and make things easier as your child grows.
Give Yourself a Head Start
You may not be thinking of childproofing as a necessity while decorating the new nursery, but it’s a great idea to check it off before the baby arrives…and while you’re still able to get a full 8 hours of sleep each night. Pushing it off could leave you scrambling to catch up once baby starts to crawl. Start with the obvious rooms first, like the nursery and family room and move through the house to each of the rooms you see yourself and your baby together. As a bonus, starting this during pregnancy allows you to add these essential items to your registry. Safety 1st offers handy kits with a variety of items that are a great way to get you started out.
Get a Baby’s Eye View
Always remember to look at a room from your baby’s point of view. Getting down on your hands and knees will give you a better idea of what your baby sees and what sort of things will look attractive to curious eyes. Cords and smaller items that are hidden away from a standing adult are suddenly visible. Cord protectors and covers are easy to buy, but sometimes childproofing simply means moving tempting objects to a high and out of reach place.
Look around each room for low furniture with sharp corners and edges. Many brands provide temporary protective bumpers and corner guards that can be removed later once your baby has stopped using furniture as an aid in early standing.
Check for large furniture pieces, such as entertainment centers and drawers. These should be firmly anchored to the wall and cabinet doors locked. What seems like simple furniture to an adult can easily become an attractive ladder to a young child.
One of the most common ways childproofing devices are defeated is through simple observation. A good lock or latch can help keep a cabinet off limits for those first years, but toddlers learn by watching adults act. Use your body to block the view when unlocking a lock or loosening a latch and never allow them to “play” with it. This same principle should apply to any child safety product, from protective medicine covers to safety gates. While many of these products require dual action for release, a clever toddler will learn how to do it for themselves if they see it in action too often or are given access to the product. And as we all know, our own children are always the cleverest!
The most effective childproofing can be to simply create off-limit areas and teach your child right off to avoid them. Laundry rooms, garages and balconies should be made available only to age appropriate children who have learned to avoid the hazards that each of these present. A safety lock or doorknob cover can be the first layer of protection for these interior rooms and be sure to install hard to reach locks for doors leading to the outside, basement and other high hazard rooms. Be sure to back these physical precautions up with age appropriate parental commands emphasizing that these areas are not child friendly and not meant for play.
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