UPDATED: Mar 24, 2020
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Baby proofing. To some, those words don’t mean a whole lot. But to those with a new child they want to keep out of harm’s way, baby proofing brings a whole new meaning to the word “safe.” Of course, when you really start looking for ways to keep your baby protected, your home might begin to look like a walking minefield.
It’s no secret, soon after babies are born they become mobile on their own. Parents have to think about any and every possible thing their child can get into.
But that’s not all. As a new parent, you have to keep your child from actually putting themselves in hazardous situations.
Of course, being forced to think about every counter, every corner, and every cabinet that has the potential to harm your child can get overwhelming. This thought process often leads to you asking: “Where do I even start?!” Well to keep it simple, let’s take a look at seven home improvements you, as a parent can do to help keep your newborn safe!
#1 – Cover Any, and All, Sharp Corners
This is likely the first baby proofing measure that can come to mind for new parents. It’s true, corners are everywhere! They can range from hard furniture corners to the edges on your counter. Covering these sharp edges is essential to keeping your newborn safe.
There is a simple solution. Almost all hardware stores have adhesive padding that you can purchase and easily apply to any of those sharp edges. This simple solution will keep your child’s head safe if it ever comes in contact with those hard corners.
#2 – Tuck Away Cords, Power Strips, and String
Here’s the deal, a hanging cord or string has the potential to be in your child’s reach if they remain unsupervised for long enough. As a new parent, one of the most important things to do is be sure to tuck away any potentially harmful cord, power strip, or string that may be within your newborn’s reach.
There can be many cords in your house including:
- Electrical appliance cords
- Stray earbuds
- Curtains and blinds
- Phone, tablet, or computer chargers
Any and all cords that are within a baby’s reach should be tucked away.
Whether that means shortening the cord on the blinds or charging your phone on the countertop instead of the floor. But that is not all, once you have moved all the cords out of the newborn’s reach, you will need to follow tip #3.
#3 – Block Off Open Electric Outlets
Most people already know this, but children enjoy shoving things into any hole that will fit it. The holes they find can be on a variety of things, but the most dangerous ones can be found at some of the lowest points in most homes, the electrical outlets.
Thankfully, there are plenty of cheap and effective ways to keep these outlets covered so that your child doesn’t ever find the opportunity to stick anything in them. Pick up a few packets of outlet plug covers from the hardware store and block off all the outlets in your home.
#4 – Baby Proof Your Fireplace
Beyond a burning fire, there are a few dangers your newborn can encounter around the fireplace, and these dangers need to be addressed. Of course, your methods really depend on the type of fireplace you have installed in your home and its components.
Making your fireplace’s hearth (the flat surface in front of your fireplace, typically made of hard, fire-resistant stone) a safe area is of major importance. As a parent, the last thing you want is your kid hurting themselves by tripping onto it. Not to worry though! There are tons of interesting covers that you can purchase, and even some fun DIY ones you can make right in the comfort of your new baby-proofed home.
The firebox is the actual area that your fires are kept in when they are lit. And many fireplaces already have a sort of “cage” or “gate” around them for safety. Of course, when you have a child who is learning to stand on their own, you don’t want them grabbing onto a loose cage that’s heavy enough to hurt them should it fall.
That is why you should get a baby proof gate for your fireplace.
There are many ways to baby proof your firebox with different gates depending on the look and style that you want.
These gates can be flat against the opening of your firebox, or mount on either side and sit on the hearth.
In fact, there are even fireplace gates that cover not only the firebox but the hearth as well. These can be found online in a variety of designs and prices that may best suit you.
#5 – Child Proof Doors and Windows
There are tons of doors in your home.
- Cabinet Doors
- Refrigerator Doors
- Bathroom Doors
- Closet Doors
Regardless of the type, baby proofing all of the doors and windows can be as simple as adding an extra lock or replacing the old one with a newer, more secure version. Childproofing doors can also be as easy as adding a latch that clips between the door and the frame that it’s on. Including these can be lifesaving to a child.
That is not all, you have to baby-proof your drawers too, that is step number 6!
#6 – Keep Your Drawers Shut and Latched
Babyproofing your drawers is also a vital part of keeping your adventurous child safe.
You do all you can to keep your child safe with routine medical care and proper nutrition, but are you protecting them from things they come in daily contact with around your home? It could be as simple as something sharp they could hurt themselves with that is now reachable for them in a drawer. Or in a split second, they could climb drawers to get on top of furniture – risking heavy or sharp items falling on them as well.
Like windows and doors, there are many ways to childproof your drawers. A lot of the methods you use are really up to personal preference. The most common solution is an interior latch which prevents a drawer from opening accidentally.
#7 – Relocate Medicine, Cleaning Supplies, and Chemicals
This can be a difficult thing to do. You may not have the space to put your medicines and cleaning supplies up high enough that your child can’t reach them. But nothing can be more important than relocating your medicines, chemicals and cleaning supplies.
It’s true, childproofing cabinets and drawers can be extremely effective, but so can moving dangerous items out of your child’s reach completely. Cabinet safety locks may not always work, so removing poisonous items from a child’s reach altogether is the best solution.
Simply put, move any poisonous or harmful chemicals out of a child’s reach to eliminate any possibility of things going wrong.
Another thing you may want to consider is throwing out any toxic chemicals in your home and buy non-toxic, or natural cleaning supplies. At the very least, discard toxic products that you have had around for years, and don’t plan on using.
Safety is Key: They’re Worth it!
Not unlike preparing to bring home a new puppy, childproofing can be painstaking. Childproofing may have to be updated as your child grows and learns how to stretch for higher cabinets. But, if you follow the seven simple steps that were laid out, you’re well on your way to having a safe home. And more importantly, a safe child.
Whitney VanNostrand is an avid horse rider and home improvement writer for Dickson Plumbing LLC, a plumbing company in Elizabeth City, NC.