The When and What of Baby Proofing
Originally Posted by: Mickey Farmer on Families of Multiples
When do you start baby proofing?
Babies generally start crawling somewhere between 6 and 10 months. That means that you, the parents of a newborn, have plenty of time to do the baby proofing needed to keep those little ankle-biting crawlers safe, right?
Baby proofing takes money and time. The sooner you can get started on it, the better. That way, you can piece it out little by little.
The to-do list of baby proofing is extensive.
One way to break this herculean task into manageable portions is to do it in mobility stages. Yes, there are things you need to be doing before your multiples are even crawling.
-Make sure smoke detectors are installed in each story of the house as well as hallways and bedrooms.
-Get a fire extinguisher. Learn how to use it.
-Install carbon monoxide detectors if you have any gas fireplaces or appliances.
-Gone are the days where you put stickers letting firemen know the rooms with kids in them…because child predators also found those helpful, but fire stations do give out stickers you can put on the internal doors of your kids that help firemen know where to search while in the house.
-Prepare a first-aid kit.
-Learn baby CPR and choking prevention.
-Decorating your nursery? Be sure to finish any required painting or wallpaper 2 months prior to the baby's homecoming. The fumes can be dangerous to them.
-Crib decorations are adorable. Most used to come with bumper padding. Well no more! Remove any bumper padding, blankets, pillows, soft toys while the babies are sleeping.
-Set your house’s water heater to 120 degrees max. This setting prevents scalding water.
-Baby Gates at stairs. If the babies are going to be spending time upstairs and downstairs, you’ll want to put a gate at both the top and the bottom of the stairs.
-Door Knob Covers: These keep the kids safe and are extremely entertaining when adults try to use them!
-Oven-door lock: Also, when cooking on the oven, be sure to turn pan handles away from the stove’s edge so your little climbers can’t grab them.
-Dishwasher lock: You need to keep them from opening it and getting burned from the steam but also from playing with utensils and knives!
-Safety covers over all electrical outlets
-Bumper guards for coffee tables: You don’t want your babies bumping their heads on table corners. (Just be aware, these things really stick to the tables, so you may never get the table restored back to normal when removing the bumper.)
-Most tall furniture comes with wall anchors. If you’re like me, though, you may have skipped this step when putting that furniture in place. Time to go back and put the anchors in now because babies can pull that furniture over on them!
-Anchor flat screen TVs too!
-Move lamps away from the edges of tables, and move tall lamps behind furniture.
-Tie up window blinds cords so that they are up out of the reach of babies.
-Cover fireplaces with a screen.
-Ensure all medicines are out of reach and behind some sort of cabinet lock.
-Also, lock up all cleaning supplies and detergents.
-Tablecloths and placemats can be a problem as toddlers can use them to pull things off the table onto themselves.
-Does the baby or babies have older siblings? If so, you’re going to have to figure out a way to separate the older kid toys from the baby toys since the older toys have more of those dastardly choking hazards. Big brother or sister’s toys will be a Holy Grail to the little ones as they strive to be like their older counterparts but can be dangerous for kids not ready for them.
Are You Done?
Having baby proofed your house, does that mean the baby can now run free reign while you do whatever the heck you want? Of course not! With baby proofing, keep “proof” in quotations. Really, it’s more like a 60 second delay that keeps them safe till you catch them and put a stop to whatever their curiosity has gotten them into.
That's the "when and what" to baby proofing, but your life with baby proofing isn't quite over. It’s one thing to put all the effort into keeping your new additions safe, and another entirely to undo all of the precautions once your children have reached an age where the safty measures are no longer needed. Most of ours has been gradually removed in areas where it was a nuisance. I mean, you don’t want a toilet locked when your pottyer-in-training is making a mad dash for the bathroom. Also, how many times can you watch your own mom fail with opening the front door and it remain funny? (OK, that one took a while!)
About the author:
Mickey Farmer is currently a staff writer for the site FamiliesofMultiples.com. Families of Multiples is a parenting resource helping Moms and Dads of Twins, Triplets, Quads, or more overcome the hurdles of raising multiple children of the same age. Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or on their monthly podcast.