18 fail-safe ways to baby proof the house
Get our expert-approved list of important ways to baby proof the house and create a safe environment for your little one
18 fail-safe ways to baby proof the house!
Your child maybe a snuggler, wrapped in a warm cloth at all times, but there are chances that the minute he learns to walk, he would bump into things and hurt himself.
And if you bought a babywalker, thinking you have averted an unfortunate incident, think again. A walker alone will not save the day, and neither will confining your baby to the cloth. You need to think of right ways to baby proof the house right away!
When to baby proof the house?
It is advisable to start as early as the baby is born. Smriti Sawhney, Chief Psychologist at ePsyClinic.com, Delhi, says, “Babies are explorers by nature and once they start crawling around a house that’s not ‘baby proofed,’ it can become a hazardous zone for them.”
To baby proof the house, look at it from your baby’s perspective. “You have to make your home baby-friendly so that the baby's movement and play are safe,” advises Dr Tarlochan Singh Randhawa, paediatrician, BM New Born & Child Care Centre, Jalandhar.
"Concentrate on major danger areas such as toys, kitchen, stairs, bathroom and the bath tub, furniture, ramp, pets in the house, window blind cords and plants," he points out.
Continue to read to know more about the things to remember while preparing to baby proof a house & more ways to baby proof the house!
Ways to baby proof the house?
Be methodical and survey the different rooms of your home one by one. This checklist of ways to baby proof the house should help:
- Bedrooms: Keep your baby's room clean. Remove those super-cute bumpers, blankets, pillows and stuffed animals from baby's crib. These have the potential to suffocate your child. "Mobiles with small hanging parts should also come out as soon as baby can pull herself upright," says Dr Ragini Agrawal, director, W-Hospital by Pratiksha, Gurgaon.
- Bathrooms: Identify the water source in and around the house. “Safeguard your child from slips by using nonslip mats in and out of the tub as well as on any hard-surface floors near the bathroom. Chances are you'll be chasing a naked, wet baby through the house at some point,” says Agrawal of W-Hospital by Pratiksha.
- Kitchen and prayer rooms: Identify areas that use heat or flames such as a kitchen or a religious place. According to Vaastu Shastra, one must light incense or diya in the morning and in the evening since fire is believed to be a cosmic cleanser. So if you plan to do the same, make sure its away from the floor level where your baby would usually do all his explorations.
- Living room: Use door knob covers for doors that lock easily, especially in your living room. Also avoid leaving the key in the door locks.
- Stairs: Got a second floor? If so, a baby gate is a must. It comes in various styles to match your home's decor. According to Vaastu Shastra, stairs should not be visible to visitors and, therefore, you can easily install stair gates at the beginning and end.
In every room of the house, take a thorough inspection of the following:
- Crib: Identify areas that can create risk of a fall such as the crib. Move the crib mattress to the lower level. Also, make sure the safety rails are sturdy and the gap between the rails is not too large for the baby to slip through and fall out.
- Cabinets: Identify areas where you keep toxic substances. Babies and toddlers explore a lot using their mouth. So the medicine cabinets, the garage or garden shed, or even in a purse or other place where medications are stored, should be either above the height of your kid.
- Drawers: Always keep dresser drawers closed properly and make sure they have their handles on securely as babies may use an open drawer to climb on or may accidentally get their hand stuck in a partially-opened drawer.
- Flooring: Keep the floor carpeted and clean and remove objects on the floor that pose choking hazards. Anything that can be swallowed and can choke your baby should be removed.
- Electrical chords: Identify areas to prevent electric shocks. Install outlet covers for sockets if you have small babies just learning to crawl. They can easily insert their fingers into the open socket.
- Electronic gadgets: Identify potentially dangerous gadgets such as computers, laptops, drills and hammers and keep them locked. Try to also keep your fridge locked. “Babies find the refrigerator a very interesting place to explore. However, it's a dangerous place as they risk eating items they can choke on,” says Sawhney of ePsyClinic.com.
- Entertainment units: Place the television behind closed doors in an entertainment center, or mount a flat-panel model to the wall.
Baby proofing also means arming yourself with emergency tools and know-how:
- First-aid box cabinet: When you baby proof the house, keep a first-aid box ready to deal with cuts, burns and bug bites. You can also train the elder sibling if he or she is old enough to handle a first-aid kit. Be trained in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) as well to provide for timely help with suffocation or any other grievous injury before actual medical help arrives.
- Go in for pest control: Make sure to get pest control done regularly to avoid the presence of rats or other reptiles and dangerous insects and bugs to avoid various forms of infections and bug bites.
Continue to read to know more ways to baby proof the house
How to psychologically baby proof the house?
Apart from these physical changes, baby proofing also entails psychological changes around the house in order to facilitate a safe environment for the baby. “It also means ensuring that the house is emotionally safe and cognitively stimulating for your baby or child,” says Sawhney of ePsyClinic.com.
He lists four changes to psychologically baby proof the house:
- Avoid aggressive or emotional outbursts in the presence of your baby. Babies bloom the best in physically safe, warm and loving homes. Anger or other negative emotions can scare and scar our kids for life. Learn more effective and less violent ways of reacting to negative stimuli and remember your kids are learning from you.
- Know your kids’ reactions to people who visit your house. All visitors may not be safe for your kids. Look for fearful reactions from your baby towards specific people. Never leave your kids unattended with these people and never force your children to get friendly with people they are uncomfortable with.
- Provide cognitive stimulation. When you baby proof the house, keep things that are safe and that can stimulate your baby or child within their reach. For instance, keep interactive books for babies within reach or keep some appropriately sized cloth pieces on a side-table.
- Do not use TV/laptops/iPads as a babysitter for long hours. This may reduce the child’s exploring needs and may make your child technology dependent from a very early age. (READ: New AAP guidelines for children’s screentime)
While you chart out your ways to baby proof the house, remember that exploration is the key to a healthy baby. Physically, it provides exercise and is a source of learning for the baby or your toddler. However, baby proofing the house alone cannot replace your supervision.
So let your child explore and enjoy every moment of their growing up by creating a physically and psychologically safe environment.
What are your ways to baby proof the house? Please share in the Comment box below.