If you have a little one on the way, one of the most important steps to take is baby-proofing and child-proofing your home.
You can hire a professional childproofing company to examine your home and provide a full list of recommendations. Most of the time, they can install the products at the same time.
But you also can take steps on your own to make your home safe for the little ones.
What should I be looking for when child-proofing?
You’ve probably already thought about some of the basics: baby gates on stairs, child-proof locks on doors and cabinets, bumpers on table corners and other potentially dangerous furniture.
In addition to that, go through your house and look for potential danger zones. Kitchens and bathrooms hold particularly high-danger levels. Take special care to make sure knives and cleaning chemicals are well out of reach and secured behind child-locked doors and drawers. Knob covers on stoves prevent your child from accidentally starting up a heat source.
Keep an eye out for choking hazards. Cords from blinds can easily entangle a child. Replace your blinds with cordless blinds if possible, or use a cord safety device.
In addition to baby gates on stairs, consider other areas of your home that would benefit from a safety barrier, such as fireplaces.
This is good advice in any situation, but always worth remembering for your family’s safety: Install smoke detectors and regularly check them.
What’s the best way to baby-proof furniture?
Babies and small children can get into places and climb things you’d never expect. First off, install straps and anchors to large and unwieldy furniture, such as dressers and bookcases, to prevent them from falling over. Cabinet latches and locks are a must as well.
Carefully read the instructions on any safety equipment you install yourself. A poorly installed safety feature can be worse than none at all.
How should I baby-proof the electrical outlets in my home?
If your home was built after 2008, your outlets are already baby-proofed to a certain degree. That’s when the National Electrical Code started calling for tamper-resistant receptacles, which block off access unless both slots are pushed in simultaneously.
If you have older outlets, an electrician can easily replace them. The cost will depend on the number of outlets.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to add another layer of protection. Outlet caps remain a longtime standard, but they’re also a choking hazard. Instead, place sliding outlet covers on the plates. You can buy these for a few dollars per cover and install them yourself.
How can I protect my small child against poisoning?
The most important step in poison prevention is keeping dangerous materials away from kids. Medication and household cleaning chemicals should be locked in cabinets, high up and out of reach.
Keep your state or local poison control center’s phone number close at hand, so you can find it easily in the event of an emergency. And when you have household cleaners or medications out for use, keep a sharp eye on them — it only takes a second for a child to get into them.