When baby is around 6-months of age, most parents need to begin childproofing their home.
Here are 3 simple tips to keep your home a safe place for exploration and play.
1. Begin with the “Big 3.”
Outlet plugs: Most families begin with outlet plug inserts. But, if you are anything like my family, these plugs end up lying on floor once removed. Outlet plugs will not protect a child from electrocution unless in the outlet, so consider installing child-protective swivel outlet covers as an alternative. Traveling? Use duct tape.
Stair gates: There are multiple options for stair gates. Be sure to head to the store with the exact measurements for the area you need to protect. I recommend a gate that is secured to the wall (screwed-in) at the top of the stairs. Tension-type gates are not reliable for top-of-the-stairs protection. If you purchase a walk-through style gate, beware the cross-bar near the floor. It can easily be tripped over by tired parents.
Cabinet/drawer latches: Most families use pressure latches to close cabinets containing hazardous items. These inexpensive and quick-install latches work great for early explorers. Many toddlers, however, are able to open these latches. For more secure cabinet/drawer protection, these magnetic locks are great. Just don’t lose the magnetic key!
2. Watch your baby play.
After you have mastered the “Big 3,” now is time to sit back and watch.
I mean really watch.
Every child has their own level of curiosity. For some babies, the “Big 3” is all that is needed for adequate home protection. Some babies, however, will be much more interested in exploring everything in their environment. If you notice your child consistently heading for a dangerous spot in your home, add the required safety devices for their protection. In my opinion, however, there is no need to get every safety gadget and gismo installed before your child demonstrates risk. Closely watch, then secure accordingly.
3. Don’t ever think you are “finished” childproofing.
As your child changes, so do the risks they will take. It is NORMAL for children to test boundaries and push limits as they grow. This can put them in unexpected places in your home.
Reaching babies can get to window cords. Toilets can be fascinating to toddlers. Kids love to mess with entertainment centers, and can become entrapped under fallen TV sets. Older children can use chairs and toys as “ladders” to get to higher tables and cabinets. Table corners, appliances… the list can go on and on.
Don’t get complacent with your protection. Routinely check what you have already installed to defend against wear and tear. And, be ready to add new devices as your child grows into new places.
When there are more than one child in the home, childproofing can become more of a challenge. Watch this video for an effective DIY project to keep an older child’s small toys (choking hazards) away from younger siblings. And, here is a great childproofing checklist for items you may have forgotten.
Explore and be safe!All product links used are for example purposes only. I have no vested interest in any of these products, and you may find some that you like better – feel free to comment, if you do!