Baby, Toddler and Child Proofing Your Home - The How-To Guide - Page 2
By Jennifer Sprague, High Top Baby Designs
- Baby Gates - Baby gates are a great way to prevent your baby or toddler from going places you would rather them not go. They can be placed in door ways, or at the tops and bottoms of stairs. They can keep your baby safe from falling down stairs, keep them from entering the kitchen or bathroom, or even keep them in one section or room within your house. When looking for a good baby gate, the mesh center area or the holes with in the gate should not be large enough to put your babies toes in, if your child can put there toes in the holes, that means he can climb over. Many gates on the market today can be operated one handed, which is a wonderful thing if you have your baby in one hand, and need to get the gate open. Gates also can be free standing units; which is nice if you might consider moving it from place to place. They also have gates that can be screwed into your wall, which swing open; these gates are especially nice if you will be leaving the gate where it is.
- Corner Cushions - Corner cushions are for those corners on furniture. They are usually plastic and they sit on the edge of your furniture. By doing so they provide a blocker from your child's head and the corner of that particular peice of furniture. One draw back to them is that most of them seal to your furniture by glue or a sticky substance. However, now they have also come up with a full pad for tables. These are great, the have elastic inside of them and "fit" or "conform" to your table, meaning that you can slide a pad all the way around the outside edge of your table, adding some padding so that if your baby falls there will at least be something to break his fall. Since these have elastic they pull themselves taught and there is no need for glue or a substance to keep them stationary.
- Electric Outlet Covers - Outlet covers can be as simple or as complex as you want or need them to be. The simplest kind are, plastic covers that simply fit with in the electric outlet and are next to impossible to remove. (Though beware, they can pose a very real choking risk if found laying about in your house.) Now they also sell the actual electric outlet that is child proof. It has a "plate" on top of the outlet that an adult must slide aside in order to plug anything in. In addition to that, they also sell covers, these covers go over plugged in items as well as protect unused plugs. By using these you can use your plugs and be sure that your child cant pull the cord out of the wall (which is a choking hazard), nor can they then stick there fingers in the holes once it is removed, which is also a hazard.
- Cabinet and Drawer Locks - Cabinet and drawer locks are basically what they say. They are locks to help keep your baby out of dangerous things within your house. It is however recommend that you place any and all hazardous materials out of babies reach, or out in the garage, this is not always possible. So cabinet and drawer locks can work very well for this propose. They also work for keeping your baby or toddler from tearing though every one of your dish towels all day long as well. They can either be inside your cabinet or drawer or outside. Typically the ones that go outside only work if there is 2 door's next to each other, as they hook on each door handle and keep each other closed.
- When dealing with decks and banisters there are also products available. There is a mesh netting that does require that you screw it in place but it will prevent little bodies from getting though the holes with in the banisters or deck rails. They also sell plastic sheets that work well for this purpose as well.
Lets move on to talking about particular things you will want/need to do with in certain rooms of your house:
- The Nursery: When in the nursery, you will want to be sure first that the crib is not placed near a window or near cords from blinds. You will also want to be sure that you can not fit a can of soda between the rails of the crib (all cribs made after the 1950's are made so that you can not, that is why it is imperative that you do not use hand-me-down cribs from that era). The mattress also need to be firm, and there is no "bedding" with in the crib. The only thing recommended to be inside the crib with your infant (especially) is a well fitted crib sheet. (As your baby gets older and can move around better, you can put items to play with, or a "lovey" in, just be very sure that your child is in full control over there head before doing so.)
- The Kitchen: When in the kitchen you will want to take special care as well. First, you will want to either lock or put away items such as cleaners and/or chemicals (this includes soap). It is recommended that you remove them (or place them out of babies reach). Make sure any items which have knives, or even forks in them are locked. While your cooking take great care to place the handles towards the rear of the stove, and not hanging over the edge. You will also need to take great care that any and all electrical cords do not hang over the edge of the cabinets, your baby could pull on these and pull dangerously hot stuff onto himself. It is best if at all possible to keep your baby out of the kitchen why your cooking. Either that or place him within a high chair or even within a baby carrier, in the back carry!
- The Car: When baby proofing for the car, the most important part falls on correctly installing and using the car seat. To do this, its easiest to take your car and seat to a local fire or police station. These men and woman have to take a 5 hour course in order to learn how to install these seats. They will not only install your seat for you, but also show you how to adjust the straps and how to buckle them once the baby is inside. Another way to child proof the car that you might not think of, is remove any and all items that are loose. These items could become flying missiles in a car crash. You can move them to the trunk.
In closing, remember to look though your child's eyes for potential hazards, be mindful that alot of every day items, things we would never think of can be harmful to our children, and when in doubt hazard on the side of caution. Remember to "re-child-proof" your home at least once every 4-6 weeks. And always keep a watchful eye, even in the safest of homes, your baby or toddler will find ways to hurt themselves or test your limits (that's there job!).