Like most parenting decisions, deciding what – and how much – to baby proof is a family decision and there isn’t a right or wrong answer. While some parents invest in hiring professional baby proofers, others do little to nothing and choose to depend on oversight.
Either way, the right time to think about baby proofing the house is BEFORE your baby becomes mobile. Crawl around the house on your hands and knees to see the world from baby’s perspective. This view will help you see what needs to be moved higher or locked up. Though it may seem like will be a while before baby is mobile by crawling or walking, it can happen suddenly and you will want to have baby proofed before these milestones are met.
Here are a handful tips for babyproofing the house that have worked for parents at the Lansinoh office:
- Potted plants on the floor and cleaning supplies in the kitchen are baby magnets, as are electrical outlets! Make sure electrical outlets are covered, and cupboards with any cleaning supplies – like the ones in bathrooms and kitchens – are closed and secured.
- Small objects on the floor – especially small toys or game pieces – are very attractive to babies-on-the-move and are a serious choking hazard. Older siblings need to understand that everything needs to be picked up and put away when they’re done playing.
- Designate one lower level cupboard in the kitchen that baby knows is just for them. Fill it with safe objects – like small pots or pans, plastic bowls and cups, or measuring cups – and always direct baby there when they try to get into other cupboards.
- Stairs can be one of the most intriguing places for newly mobile babies, so make sure you put a gate at the top and the bottom, or put another plan in place to always monitor them near stairs.
- As baby begins pulling themselves up, you will want to make sure that hard edges are protected with cover guards.
- Turn the handles of pots and pans toward the back of the stove so baby can’t reach up, grab them, and pull them down.
- Be sure that blinds cords are high up away so baby cannot pull on them or get tangled in them.
- Ensure that bookshelves and other cabinets are secured to the wall so they don’t accidentally come crashing down if baby pulls on them.
- Use a nonslip mat in the bathtub and never, NEVER, leave baby unattended near water.
- Give baby rules and be consistent. If someone is consistently reprimanded when they do something they’re not supposed to – whether it’s go near outlets or climb under kitchen sinks – they will soon learn that “no” means no.