Getting ready for a baby can be filled with excitement, joy, and—yes—sometimes a little bit of angst. There are nursery colors to choose, birthing plans to finalize, adoption papers to review, and occasionally regulating that nagging doubt over whether you are qualified to raise another human being (pro-tip: you are!).
As part of your nesting process, consider baby proofing your home before baby arrives. Amidst the madness (we know, you’re tired from growing a human—that’s a LOT of work!) you may be tempted to put this off until your little one is getting ready to walk. However, you’ll probably be glad you got a jump start on the process once baby arrives and you very well may find that you’re running on three hours of sleep every night and your to-do list has been used as a napkin because you haven’t had time to get to the store.
In the Nursery
- Do not purchase a crib with drop-down sides—they were banned in 2011.
We know that a tricked-out crib looks really cute, but do not put bumpers, soft bedding, or stuffed toys in baby’s crib. These create suffocation hazards for tiny people.
- Keep your crib away from both windows and electronic cords. Your little one will be standing before you know it, and these cords can become entanglement and strangulation hazards.
- Curious little ones may look at dresser drawers less like a piece of furniture and more like an impressive staircase to be climbed! Look for a dresser that passes voluntary tip-over standards to keep your aspiring mountaineer safe.
In the Bathroom
- Install cabinet and drawer locks to ensure medications and other potentially hazardous materials aren’t accessible.
- Keep the toilet lid down and secured with a lock to avoid little fingers being smashed, accidental drowning, and toddlers taking cues from the family dog about the best place for a drink of water.
- Consider covering the tub spout with a soft cover and getting a non-slip bathtub mat (note: these are not replacements for supervision!).
- We know you’re only half awake when you’re spraying down your hair with dry shampoo and running a straightener through the wreckage, but always remember to turn off and put away any of your hair appliances to avoid burns or strangulation.
In the Living Room
- Bumps are bound to happen, but you can (hopefully) avoid a few by attaching corner and edge guards to coffee tables, TV stands, and window ledges.
- Secure furniture that can topple (bookcases, chests, etc.) and anchor TVs with safety straps.
- Keep curious fingers out of wall sockets with childproof socket.
- Try to keep all toys larger than a toilet paper roll and check for loose teddy bear eyes and doll bows to avoid choking hazards.
In the Kitchen
- With so many knobs to turn and doors to open, a stove can look like a fascinating toy to a child. Install knob covers and an appliance lock to thwart adventures that could turn dangerous. Got something bubbling? Be sure to keep pot handles toward the back of the stove or install a stove guard to keep your little one from pulling on handles.
- Use a study highchair or baby booster seat with safety straps. If you go the baby seat route, be sure to hook the seat onto a secure chair that cannot tip over.
- Every kitchen should have a fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detectors. These are actually aren’t exclusively to protect parents, so if you don’t have these essentials be sure to get them as soon as possible!
There might be a room that you don’t childproof—and that’s okay. Just be sure to keep a baby gate up so that your little one doesn’t wander in and have an accident.
This is, of course, not an exhaustive list of every baby proofing measure you could take and we recommend chatting with your pediatrician for advice before you embark on your baby proofing journey. You might also try getting in touch with your inner baby and getting a baby’s eye view of your home by crawling around to double-check for any potential hazards adults might not see.
Perhaps most importantly, remember: no matter how many precautions you take, bruises and bumps are going to happen occasionally.