When you have a baby, your whole world changes. Suddenly, everything revolves around this little person you've created. One of the most important things you need to do as a new parent is to baby proof your home. Keep in mind baby proofing isn't just about childproofing your home against potential dangers, but also about creating a safe environment that encourages your child to explore and learn. Here are five things you need to know about baby proofing:
1) Start baby proofing before your baby is crawling.
It's best to be prepared ahead of time. The majority of babies start crawling between the ages of 6 and 10 months. Expect it and get ready for it. Once they realize that they have total mobility, toddlers will begin exploring their environment on their own terms, so you don't want to be caught off guard when this happens.
2) Cover the basics first, then work from there
Typically, the first things you should baby-proof are your electrical outlets, cabinet locks on kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and sharp furniture corners and edges. Covering additional threats may be unnecessary expensive and time-consuming. Take notice of your baby's most important living areas' environment to see what you may need to protect there.
After covering the basics, start by taking an inventory of all the things in your home that could be hazardous to your little one, including cleaning supplies, medications, and household plants. Next, make a list of places where there could be hidden dangers. And finally, come up with a game plan for each room in your house to keep baby safe - locking it up or moving the items out of reach.
As a good starting point, see our checklist.
3) Use a variety of methods to baby proof - some are temporary and some are permanent
There are many different types of baby proofing products available, so take your time to find the ones that work best for your home and your child. Pay particular attention to the main space and surrounding environment where your infant plays throughout the day, such as nearby electrical outlets, sharp corners from tables or fireplace hearths, etc., and extend your attention to next locations like kitchens, bathrooms, and wherever else the baby might explore.
Some baby proofing products need permanent installation (with screws, for example), while others are temporary (using adhesives or pressure mounting, etc.). While most parents prefer temporary products, there is usually a tradeoff in terms of how well and how long they will stay put. Drilled product installations, for example, will always have greater staying power than adhered ones, but will unfortunately leave holes in your furniture and walls. Keep in mind that some adhesive baby proofing products are so well made that they can withstand even the strongest pull attempts by your toddler.
4) Test everything that you've baby proofed
Have you tried yanking the cabinet lock and seeing whether it budges? Have you applied a gentle slap on the area where you installed the corner guard to see whether it really absorbed enough impact? Not all baby proofing gadgets are made equal in terms of design or quality of materials and production. Take time to double-check them.
5) Keep a close eye on your child at all times, even if your home is baby proofed, to prevent any accidents from happening
You can baby proof all you want and take every precaution available, but nothing is 100% safe. No baby proofing product is fail safe, or a substitution for adult supervision. Always keep an eye on your child, especially right after you install or apply any new product for baby safety.
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