Watching our babies crawl, walk and climb for the first time makes our mummy hearts proud and happy. But these milestones are also our signal to start creating a baby-proofing checklist for our home. Even if you are in a small house, you’ll be surprised at the many things you need to keep out of your little one’s reach. This detailed list can help you stay extra vigilant.
Importance of Baby-Proofing Your Home
Baby-proofing is the process of making your adult home more baby-friendly. That means keeping hazardous items up or hidden, locking things your little one shouldn’t open and more. Aside from ensuring child safety, baby-proofing also protects the items in your house and prevents costly damages. More importantly, it lessens your worries when you’re not near your baby.
Is it common for babies to get into accidents? In Australia, there are about 68,000 hospitalised children each year due to unintentional injuries. The most common causes include falls, poisoning, burns and scalds, and drowning. With baby-proofing measures in place, we can prevent these accidents from even happening.
General Baby-Proofing Checklist
Baby-proofing an entire home may sound overwhelming. But the key here is to do it in phases. For example, start with identifying dangerous items within the house before assessing specific high-risk rooms. It helps to get down on all fours to spot areas that your crawling tot can access.
Check all electrical outlets and cords
- Put electrical cords behind cabinets or furniture, or use cable concealers, ties and management boxes.
- Single plug-in caps are good but can end up in your baby’s mouth. If possible, use an outlet shield or cover box with a built-in cord shortener to eliminate electrical hazards.
Add furniture safety measures
- Install anchors or straps to secure furniture that can fall like bookshelves and filing cabinets.
- Cover sharp furniture and tables with self-stick corner or edge guards.
- Have spring-loaded hinges for large chests or cabinets to prevent doors from slamming.
- Mount your TV on the wall or secure it with safety straps to keep it from toppling over.
- Use child safety locks for cabinets. Keep drawers closed, so your child can’t turn them into a ladder.
- Position floor lamps behind furniture to prevent your baby from pulling them down.
- Use gripper or non-slip pads for rugs and carpets. Also, avoid rugs that curl up and cause tripping.
Assess your windows, doors and stairs
- Keep your baby’s bed or crib away from windows or furniture.
- Use window stops that you can screw into the frame, or use those with suction cups.
- Putting window guards is another option. But make sure older siblings know how to remove them during emergencies.
- Install cordless window blinds or covers to avoid choking or strangulation accidents.
- Stick colourful stickers on sliding glass doors to prevent your baby from running into them.
- Use doorstops or holders to prevent slamming and protect your child from hand or finger injury.
- Block doorless openings with safety railings or fence. Also, install banister guards or nets for stairs, balconies or patios.
Install baby gates and detectors
- Install child safety gates for the stairways, front door and pool area. Choose one that’s easy for you to operate but hard for your little one to unlock.
- Have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in place. Make sure to check them regularly and replace batteries when needed.
Baby-Proofing Checklist for Kitchens
When babies begin to walk, they’ll love to explore the house and stay in places where you hang out often. These include the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Here are a few baby-proofing tweaks you need to do.
- Protect your knife and utensil cabinets with child safety locks.
- Use your upper cabinets for storing glassware, dinnerware and other breakables.
- Swap tablecloths with placemats. This way, your baby has nothing to pull while crawling.
- Unplug electrical appliances when not in use, then tie the cords or use the built-in cord storage.
- Have locks or latches for appliances with doors like the oven, microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator.
- Remove the dial of your stove or use knob covers. You can also install a stove guard, especially if you need to use the front burners.
- Store grocery bags, plastic wrap and other suffocation risk out of reach.
- Purchase a stable and sturdy baby high chair with straps. Look for one that you can clamp on the table, or don’t leave your baby unattended during mealtime.
- Empty the sink cabinet for now, and put your cleaning supplies in a high storage area.
- Be extra careful of chemical products like detergent pods that baby hands can quickly grab or eat.
Baby-Proofing Checklist for Bathrooms
- Keep bathroom doors closed or put childproof covers on the knobs, so your child cannot enter the room without supervision.
- Keep the toilet lid down and secure it with a toilet lock.
- Install an anti-scalding device on your faucets or set the water heater temperature to no more than 49C.
- Store sharp objects like razors and nail clippers properly, and put away hair dryers or curling irons when not in use.
- Protect the tub spout and knobs with a rubber or plastic guard to prevent your child from bumping his or her head.
Baby-Proofing Checklist for Bedrooms
- Choose cribs smartly. The crib slats should not be too far apart that soda cans can fit through.
- Steer clear of drop-side cribs. Rail height should be 66cm from the mattress support.
- Inspect the crib material thoroughly and keep an eye on splinters or peeling paint.
- Make sure the mattress is snug and has minimal space from the side of the crib.
- Adjust your baby’s crib rail height to prevent him or her from jumping out.
- When your child can now sleep on a bed, install a guard rail. Then lay some pillows or a soft mattress on the floor near the bed’s edge as added protection.
More Baby-Proofing Tips
Keep in mind that your baby-proofing measures have to change as your baby grows and becomes extra curious. It’s ideal to have all older kids and adults in the house help you ensure home safety.
For instance, have everyone know where the medical supplies are or how to administer first aid. Keep a fire extinguisher at home for small fire accidents. Practice your escape route with the entire family. Also, save all emergency numbers to your mobile phones and make a list of them for your nanny or babysitter.
Baby-proofing your home takes a lot of work for sure. So, I highly recommend prepping ahead before your newborn becomes more active. That way, you have more time to get the house ready for you and your little tot’s adventures!