During the newborn phase, you might be a little sleep deprived, but at least you always know where your child is. When your child becomes mobile, however, you experience a new level of exhaustion. You have to keep everything out of reach or you’ll have a mess on your hands—in some scenarios, it can even be dangerous if you don’t take proactive steps.
If you haven’t been through the childproofing process before, you’ll soon learn there’s a lot to do. Here are four places that you can start:
1. Be Careful with Window Treatments
You might not have been aware that certain window treatments can be very dangerous for your child. A Consumer Protections Safety Commission study reveals that, sadly, one child per month dies when they’re entangled in window blinds. Although corded blinds and shades are among the cheapest and most convenient options, they may not be the right choice for bringing home baby.
Instead, Bailey Bales of the online window treatment company Blindster recommends the use of cordless blinds. “Cordless blinds and shades are sleek and stylish, while also making your home childproof! There are less small plastic ends and long dangling cords… everyone wins!”
2. Put Locks on Drawers and Cupboards
As soon as your baby becomes mobile, you’ll understand the importance of locking drawers and cupboards so that they can’t access them. Babies are naturally inquisitive—they’re still learning about the world around them, after all. So, when they come across drawers and cupboards that hold all kinds of untold wonders, they’ll naturally be drawn to them.
First and foremost, this presents a safety hazard. Babies do not yet have the coordination they need to open a drawer or door without slamming their fingers in it as well. Some injuries may be more serious than others, but you certainly want to avoid this if possible.
There’s also the issue of hazardous chemicals, such as those that are often kept under the sink. If a baby ingests them, it can be fatal to their tiny systems.
Additionally, failing to lock these will lead to one colossal mess after another. If you want to avoid sweeping up flour and cleaning up silverware strewn all over the floor, you’ll take proper care ahead of time.
3. Block Stairwells
Stairs are hazardous even to adults, which makes protecting your young even more important. “Stairs are a common source of injury among all ages, and the frequency and rate of stair-related injuries are increasing,” Dr. Gary Smith of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio who did a study on stair-related injuries by age told Reuters. “This underscores the need for increased prevention efforts.”
As mentioned previously, babies lack certain coordination and motor skills. They will not have the ability to climb down the stairs, but they’ll want to because they see everyone else in the house doing it. They’ll also want to explore this unknown phenomenon.
Therefore, blocking stairwells is absolutely imperative to keeping your baby safe. At an appropriate age, usually between 18 months and two years of age, you can begin working with them to walk up and down the stairs, but only remove the baby gate when they’ve gotten the hang of it.
4. Avoid Choking Hazards
Babies are constantly putting things in their mouths. It’s part of their exploration and discovery process, and it indicates healthy development. However, allowing your baby to put everything in his/her mouth will not always be healthy for them, particularly if the item presents a choking hazard.
Remove all potential choking hazards from anywhere that your baby may be able to reach. This includes small toys or toys with small parts, beads, foam pellets, pennies, and other random items from around the house. Check under furniture as well.
More importantly, always monitor your baby at mealtimes when your child begins consuming regular food. According to the CDC, the vast majority of choking incidents occur with food, particularly nuts, hot dogs, and fruit or vegetable chunks. Break up food items into small pieces and keep a close eye on kids to prevent choking at mealtimes.
You can also help protect your baby by learning what to do if he/she is choking. Consider taking an infant CPR class or reading more information about it so that you’re prepared in the event that your preventative measures fail.
Prevention is the key to stopping many household accidents involving your baby. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to keep your baby safe and happy while he/she learns and grows in a loving environment.