Making your home child proof is not something we usually think about until either the baby is on the way or our child is already here. The best way to make your home safe for your child is to make safety a habit. You should start this as soon as you can, and even start before the baby is born if possible. Once the baby is born, you may forget something as your time is short.
Here is how you can get started with 9 great tips to child proof your home.
1. Move all dangerous chemicals
All cleaning chemicals, drain cleaners, and anything that could be considered a poison should be relocated out of reach. Shelving in a utlity closet, basement, or garage are ideal locations to move dangerous chemicals to. Remember you want to make safety a habit right away, so do this as soon as possible.
2. Discard loose plastic bags
Everyone likes to keep plastic bags from the stores. They even sometime like to keep the plastic on their clothes from the dry cleaner. Your child will reach a point pretty early on where they will play peek-a-boo. They will grab onto plastic bags and put them over their heads, or in their mouths. You never want this to happen, so clean up your loose plastic and discard it now. Your trash bags should be stored on a high shelf away from your childs reach.
3. Choose organic non-toxic cleaners
Most cleaners will leave a residue on the floors surface. You young baby will be touching the floor and putting their hands in their mouth. You need to start thinking about what cleaners you use on your floors. A very safe option is to switch to white vinegar as a cleaner. It is safe an non-toxic for your child. White vinegar is also one of the only things that will get the sour milk smell out of baby bottles.
4. Cover your electrical outlets
Children are very curious and they love to put their fingers into things. They also learn by mimicking you. They may see you plug something into the wall, and they will try to put something into the electrical outlet on the wall. There is enough electricity in a wall outlet to fry you baby, so please take care to secure the outlets right away. Buy enough electric outlet covers to cover all of the outlets in your home. These small plastic covers will keep the little hands safe from electrocution.
5. Remove unstable items
That vase sitting on the small corner table could put your baby in the emergency room if it falls on their head. You do not go around knocking things over, but your little child will be grabbing onto everything. If there is something that is wobbly or heavy that can easily be knocked over, plan on your baby knocking it over. Remove these items from the common areas for now.
6. Secure your stairs with gates
Your little one will be crawling around, and you do not want them to sustain a life threatening head injury. Gates on your stairs are the safest way to prevent injuries. You will need two types of gates based on your home. Gates at the top of the stairs are stronger and are designed not to come off. I did extensive research after a friend told me their toddler was able to break their gate. There is a wooden variety that much more durable than many of the plastic gates you see in stores. I would recommend this type of gate if you want to keep your child safe from falls on the stairs. Evenflo makes a wooden gate that is extra tall, so it will still work when your child grows and gets a little taller.
For the bottom of the stairs, a different type of gate is needed. These are called pressure mounted gates. They are typically metal gates that come in different widths. Some come with expansion pieces. If you happen to have some very wide stairs at the bottom, you can buy some special hardware to accommodate these wider stairs. Kidco makes these special Y spindles as shown in the picture for wide staircases. If you do need the spindles, make sure you get a Kidco gate with them as they are not compatible with other brands. Please remember that you have to make safety a habit. This means practicing closing the gate when you go up and down the stairs. Its is easy to forget, and an open gate provides no safety to your baby.
7. Secure some draws and cabinets
I secure some but not all drawers and cabinets. Your child is naturally curious, and they will want to open some of your drawers. One simple solution is to empty out some of the lower drawers so they can explore their world without you having to worry. For other cabinets and drawers you wish to secure, their are a number of products and kits that you can purchase. Some will go over the nobs, others will need to be screwed in as a latch on the cabinet. It all depends on how comfortable you are with installation. If you are not comfortable with installing things, there are services that will come in and install all the baby safety items for you. You still need to practice safety even if you have someone else install the hardware.
8. Cover sharp corners on tables
It you own a kitchen table or other table, the corners are going to be trouble spot for your child’s head. Once they start moving upright, they will run into things. There is a soft rubber foam kit you can buy to cover the sharp corners on tables.
9. Door to the basement
Children will reach the age between 15 months and 24 months where they will be able to open doors. If you have a basement door or a door to some stairs, you will probably not be able to install a gate. The next best option is a door knob cover. This prevents your child from opening the door.
10. Create a learning environment
You should have a soft surface area for when your baby starts to develop rolling and crawling. Foam mats are one of the best ways to make your floors safer for your infant.
Those are my top tips for child proofing your home. Remember that your child’s safety starts with your habits. Make a conscious effort to practice these simple tips, and your child will be safer in your home.