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Once your baby starts to become mobile they will naturally want to start exploring the world around them. And by doing this your baby will start to learn and experience their surroundings.
The only downfall to this is when your baby starts investigating places or objects that aren’t safe for them.
And while certain parts of your home may be completely safe for you, your baby could become injured or even worse by playing around where they shouldn’t be.
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What is Baby-Proofing?
Baby-Proofing or (childproofing) is when you make your home and all of the objects inside safe for your baby.
For example, many babies like to get into kitchen cabinets that are at their level but by baby-proofing your kitchen, you can ensure that your baby cannot open the cabinets and get access to any potential hazards that could harm your baby.
Do I Need to Baby Proof My Home?
My home seems fine. I don’t think there’s anything that could hurt my baby.
Some parents try their best to keep their home clean and organized but even though your home seems safe, it really is not. There are dangers around every corner that your baby can get to.
When Should I Baby-Proof My Home?
Many new parents often wonder when they should start baby-proofing their home. The answer is honestly going to be different for each family.
The best way to know that it’s time to start baby-proofing is to watch your baby’s milestones. One of the biggest milestones to be on the lookout for is when your baby starts crawling or scooting around.
Once your baby is able to move around your home he or she will quickly learn that there is so much more in their home that they can explore. And since babies are naturally curious, they will want to get into everything and open everything they can.
So as soon as your baby can get around on their own, start taking these steps to keep them protected in your home.
1. Get Down on Your Baby’s Level — Literally!
When you are standing several feet above your baby, your home may look very safe. And most of the things that you would normally think to protect your baby from are up high where they cannot reach.
But the truth is that there are actually numerous things that your baby can get into at their own level. So the best way to see what your baby sees is to get down onto their level.
Seriously! By getting down on the floor, you may see several potentially dangerous things that your baby can access that you never saw before. For example, there may be pieces of old food in corners that your broom couldn’t reach or pieces of furniture that are chipping at the bottom.
So the very first thing I recommend doing is getting down and viewing the world as your baby does to look for anything that could be harmful to them.
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2. Block Off The Stairs
Does your home have stairs? If so, it’s time to get those blocked off so your baby won’t try to climb up or down them and end up falling.
The best way that I have found to baby-proof stairs is with a baby gate like this one. When looking at a baby gate for your stairs always make sure that it is made well for your home’s stairs so that your baby cannot climb over it or push it down.
When we lived in a home with stairs, I personally installed two baby’s gates for our stairwell. We had one at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom to keep our baby safe at either end.
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3. Put Cords Out of Reach
Everything now is electrical and needs to be plugged in. And when your baby is crawling around and sees an electrical cord sticking out, naturally they will want to play with it.
The best way to keep your baby safe from electrical cords is to try to keep them behind furniture or use command hooks to keep them out of reach.
You can also use different products that cover your power strips to prevent your baby from getting them.
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4. Secure Large Furniture and Heavy Items to Wall
Every year babies and small children are injured by large furniture or flat-screen TVs falling down on them. Babies just love climbing up onto to look at everything and end up pulling the furniture down onto themselves.
But fortunately, there are a few different ways that you can protect your baby from these types of dangers.
The best way is to use furniture straps. Furniture staps can be attached to your heavy furniture and the wall to keep them from falling over if your child pulls or climbs up on them.
They also make these safety straps for your flat-screen tv to keep it from taking a tumble as well. Check them out here.
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5. Baby-Proof All Edges
Babies always seem to be able to find an edge to bump into or hit their head-on. And since a lot of furniture such as coffee tables, tv stands, and other tables have edges on them, your baby is likely to have some tumbles nearby.
This is where having edge covers can come in handy. They literally make edge covers to fit just about any edge you can think about – even rounded table edges.
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6. Check All Outlets
Electrical outlets are another potentially dangerous thing that your baby can often reach down on their level. And the biggest thing to worry about when your baby sees an electrical outlet is them trying to insert something inside the outlet.
When this has happed to other parents, it has been known to shock the baby or even cause a fire.
So the best way that I have found to keep my baby safe from electrical outlets is with outlet covers. And there are actually tons of different types of outlet covers available for very inexpensive. However, I have learned that not all outlet covers are as safe as they need to be.
For example, there are very cheap plastic outlet covers that just plug into the outlet and are supposed to keep your baby from getting them out.
WRONG! Both of my babies learned quickly how to remove these outlet covers before their second birthday. So I found these amazing self-closing outlet covers that actually keep babies safe while not getting in the way of parents using the outlet.
And since they are self-closing, I don’t have to worry about putting anything back in after I’m done using the outlet. They simply slide closed when you unplug your cord.
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7. Lock-Up Potential Hazards
As a mom, I am definitely a clean-freak. And even though, I don’t have very many cleaning products and they are completely natural, I still didn’t want my baby getting into them.
That’s why I tried to keep everything up high or in a locked cabinet. For example, I keep my all-purpose Thieves cleaning spray up on a tension rod so only the adults can reach them. I also keep my DIY air freshener spray and our insect repellent up there.
For laundry items, I have a shelf in our laundry room where I keep all of our laundry soap and etc.
And finally, in the bathrooms, I keep a cleaning spray just like the one in the kitchen and hang it on the shower rod to keep it out of reach.
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8. Put Locks on Drawers and Cabinets
Drawers and cabinets are other things that are often on your baby’s level and are just asking for them to open them. And of course, your baby cannot resist investigating.
Once your baby starts exploring your home, be sure to put locks on all cabinets and drawers that are within your baby’s reach.
There are actually a few different baby-proofing locks for drawers and cabinets so you will have to see what fits your family the best.
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9. Secure Pools and Body of Water
Do you have a pool in your home or a family member’s home?
It is reported that 350 children under the age of five years old drown in backyard pools each year nationwide. It’s incredibly frightening to think that your family pool could potentially harm your child, but it’s true.
That’s why if you have a pool in your yard, you need to baby-proof it by installing a pool fence that wraps around the entire pool and is locked. This is because a baby or toddler can get out of your sight for seconds and end up falling into a pool and drowning.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is if you are going to be visiting any family members with your baby who have a pool. If so, always keep your baby close by and never leave them unattended.
Lastly, I recommend that any parents who have a backyard pool to take your child to swimming lessons to add another level of safety.
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10. Secure Windows
Of course, you may not think about baby-proofing your windows because your child is mostly on floor level, but babies learn to climb very fast and can get up onto furniture and get access to a window very quickly.
It is because of this that parents should be prepared and make sure that the windows in the home cannot be opened and are securely locked. This is especially important if you live in apartment buildings.
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11. Keep Doors Locked
Realistically, there are just times that you cannot baby-proof every single room – especially offices or older children’s rooms. This is why it’s a good idea to either keep the doors to those rooms locked or baby-proofed so that your baby cannot get into them.
You can either use baby cabinet locks on double-doored rooms or install different doorknobs that have a key lock. And for older children’s rooms, you can put door knob covers that prevent babies from opening them.
12. Put Baby Gates on Rooms to Keep Baby Out
Another option for keeping your baby out of rooms that are not baby-proof is to install a baby gate in the doorway of those rooms.
This option is great because you can still see you can walk into that room and close the gate behind you to keep your baby from coming in.
13. Keep Your Baby Away From Stove and Oven When Cooking
Everyone has to cook and many stoves and ovens are not made for your baby’s safety, so it’s up to us to baby-proof our appliances to keep them safe.
One huge tip that doesn’t cost any money is trying to cook on the back eyes or burners of the stove to keep them far away from your baby. This prevents them from seeing a handle up on the front of the stove and trying to grab it.
There are also oven door locks that prevent your child from opening the oven and getting burned and if you have a stove with the temperature knobs on the front, there are knob covers to keep your baby from turning up the heat.
So keep your baby safe when you are preparing meals.