By Double Duty Mama
When my first son was born, we didn’t rush around trying to childproof our home. We figured, since all he did was lie there gurgling and pooping, we had plenty of time to make our place safe for him — and from him. Then, one day, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, he was on the move.
And into everything!
The DVD player, the cat food, the pots and pans cabinet, the toilet … everything he’d been eyeing from the safety of our arms and the bouncy seat was suddenly his to explore.
We decided on what we hoped was a practical approach to safety, and bought electric socket covers, door stoppers, locks for the cabinets and the toilet, two baby gates and rubber bumpers for the sharp edges of our entertainment unit. My husband spent the rest of the weekend, electric drill in hand, fastening and screwing tight anything that moved. We used one gate to block the hallway from the main living area and the other, a multi-piece play yard, was wrapped around the other end of the living room to separate it from the kitchen.
We plopped him inside what became known as the Baby Zone and felt assured.
For about five minutes.
Because that’s how long it took him to figure out that he could use his head as a battering ram to move the play yard gates and get to the pebble-sized, choking-hazard cat food.
When I was pregnant with our second son, we remodeled the kitchen. After, I thought through where to put things, and made sure that anything in reach of a crawler and a toddler was safe. So, the cleaning fluids were behind locks, but my sons could play with the plastic mixing bowls and containers all they wanted.
Considering how active and curious my boys seemed, we were pretty lucky that we never had any major safety scares. Like most busy parents, my husband and I tend to be lazy and easily lose patience with things like complicated toilet locks; but we knew it was important to remain vigilant for our kids’ safety. You can’t put them in a bubble, but there are certainly easy steps you can take to ensure they stay safe in the place where they should be the most secure — your home.
Here are some tips to keep your house safe for your little ones:
- Take a new look at your house from your baby’s level. Clear all surfaces at or below your chest.
- Remove rubber tips from door stops. The small pieces are a common cause of choking in babies.
- Drape cloth diapers over the door top to keep baby from shutting his or her fingers (or other limbs) in the door.
- Keep pillows and loose blankets out of the crib until your baby is a year old.
- Small children can easily drown in a toilet; invest in a toilet latch.
- When running bath water, turn off hot water first so if baby turns on the faucet he won’t be burned by leftover water.
- Things that can fit through a toilet paper tube can cause a young child to choke. Keep small items and hard foods or candy out of sight and reach.
For more tips and information on how to keep your kids safe at home, visit the Home Safety Council.