It’s time. My son has mastered the art of movement. It’s not graceful, it’s not fluid, I’m not even sure what you’d call it, but he’s got the slither and bump down and it won’t be long before the full crawl and walk are here. The grab has already been perfected. The cat, people’s glasses and cups full of liquid are favourites. I’ve been researching and testing products with a hint of crazy desperation, and I’m ready to share my findings and baby proofing hacks with you.
Plan early and methodically
You need to treat baby proofing as a military defense – because your kid will be on the attack. At first you might think of your home as feeling safe and secure – after all, it’s where you feel protected, but when you look around you, there are dozens of dangers for tiny fingers that don’t understand the world yet. When you first approach baby-proofing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you have lots of rooms to baby proof. It’s best to start small, in the room your baby is likely to be spending the most time in. For me, this is my living room, as we don’t currently have a dedicated nursery or playroom.
- Pick one room to start with.
- Make a list of every item in the room that could potentially be dangerous.
- Work through a checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
- Get down on the ground and get a baby’s eye view, see if there’s anything hidden away on the floor, behind the sofa or within reach.
- Decide how you’re going to tackle each problem.
Five simple steps. Each step has quite a few sub-steps and will take some time but don’t let yourself get overwhelmed or frustrated by baby proofing. We have enough on our plates as new parents, so try to keep this as simple as possible.
The Main Dangers
You can download this completely FREE simple PDF Checklist for baby proofing. It’s in black & white so should print quickly and efficiently. Print one out for every room and get cracking!
Here are the main things to evaluate in the room when baby proofing:
- Electrical Plugs
- Electrical Wiring
- Heavy items or furniture that can fall
- Sharp Corners
- Cupboards & Drawers
- Loose Items
- Radiators & Fires
- Rubbish Bins
- Escape Routes
The problem: Plugs are generally designed to be safe, but you still don’t want anyone sticking a sharp object in there.
Baby proofing solution: Entire plug covers can be purchased, as well as individual plug covers.
The problem: You don’t want baby grabbing a piece of cord and pulling it. This could result in it coming free, giving them a wire that will go straight in the mouth, or it could involve damaging your expensive equipment.
Baby proofing solution: Tuck electrical cords behind or under furniture and tack it to the walls, skirting boards or flooring. If wired objects aren’t currently plugged in, find a safe place to store them, for example, hair dryers or games consoles not currently in use.
Heavy items or furniture that can fall
The problem: Baby is going to be trying to stand up by grabbing anything and pulling on it.
Baby proofing solution: Everything that can fall that is heavy should have a wall anchor, but you also want to look out for lighter items that can easily be pulled over like floor lamps and attach them to something secure, or move them out of reach behind a heavier piece of furniture so they can’t possibly be toppled.
The problem: Tables and counters can have sharp corners. This is especially important if anything is at body or face height, such as a coffee table. It is all too easy to run and stumble into a sharp edge.
Baby proofing solution: You may want to remove unnecessary furniture. Children have been seriously damaged by falling into glass coffee tables for example. Once you’ve evaluated, if there are sharp corners left, you can buy rubber edges and corner pieces that protect them.
Cupboards & Drawers
The problem: Cupboards and drawers contain things you want to stay in there. If a child can open it, they can remove the contents. This is especially critical in somewhere like a kitchen, which is a veritable nightmare room full of knives, heavy plans, and chemical cleaning agents. As someone who had to have her stomach pumped at age 6 due to getting into a cupboard containing medicine, trust me, you do not want your kids getting into cupboards.
Baby proofing solution: For very important places like a medicine cabinet or dangerous items that pose chemical, choking or suffocation hazards, you can either use a full lock that will keep older children out as well as younger or be kept out of reach completely high up. For most simple things, a simple magnetic lock is usually strong enough to stop a baby from opening a cupboard. There are a lot of different locks and catches on the market that will keep the contents secure. Even the refrigerator can be locked with an appliance lock.
Loose items that can be pulled off surfaces
The problem: Lamps, books, ornaments, photo frames, plants – if little fingers can grasp them, they can pull them off causing damage to both parties. You might as well give up on things like tablecloths, placemats, and coasters for a bit.
Baby proofing solution: Treat it like it’s a ship in a storm. Yes, I just described your child as a storm, am I wrong? Everything gets battened down. Leave nothing within reach that you don’t want to see on the floor.
Radiators & Fires
The problem: They’re hot! Children’s skin is sensitive and they are easily burned.
Baby proofing solution: You can buy both fire guards and radiator guards to protect little ones from things that are hot. If you have an open fireplace, store any matches or lighting equipment, wood, and tools well out of reach.
The problem: You’ve just thrown away all the dangerous stuff in the room, good! But wait… now little prying hands can pull bins over, open lids and get into them. Bad.
Baby proofing solution: Either keep bins completely out of reach or ensure they have secure child proof locked lids.
The problem: Your baby will be able to crawl and eventually walk out of doors and potentially near things like stairs.
Baby proofing solution: Keep them contained with stairgates or baby fencing. The stairs should always be protected especially.
It’s pretty inevitable that there will be some bumps and scratches along the way and it’s definitely looking into a first aid course and making sure you have the basic medical supplies on hand for things that can be patched up at home. Good luck with the baby proofing – let me know how you got on the comments!