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Guide to baby-proofing

Being a new parent can be overwhelming. A baby in a home.With so many appointments to keep track of, shopping lists to tackle, planning and packing – it is enough to make anyone’s head spin. This may be why many forget about one of the most important tasks on the horizon: baby-proofing.

It’s hard to imagine that before you know it your new little bundle will on the move, but it is advantageous to get as much done as early as you can. Family Nurse Practitioner, Leslie Rideout, RN, NP, offers tips to new parents on how to prepare the home for baby’s arrival.

Fall prevention

  • Make sure a baby gate is placed at the top and bottom of each staircase. The gates at the top should be anchored to the wall so your baby can’t push it forward.
  • Try and keep your floors as clutter-free as possible to prevent tripping.
  • Use the fastening straps on baby equipment, such as changing tables and high-chairs, to decrease the likelihood of falls.

Bedtime safety

  • Keep the bath water slightly above lukewarm temperature to prevent burns. Test the temperature with your elbow before placing the infant in the tub.
  • Make sure your home’s water heater is set to 120 degrees or lower.
  • Keep the crib clear of blankets, pillows and toys. A tight fitted sheet and a firm mattress should be the only items in the crib.

Pet safety

  • Don’t buy pet toys with eyes or buttons that kids can pull off and try to swallow.
  • Teach your little one to be gentle when petting and to never tease, corner or steal food from your pet.
  • Remove any hard dog/cat food from the floor after your pet is done eating to avoid a choking hazard.

Areas you might not think of

  • Purchase outlet covers to keep sticky little fingers away from electric sockets.
  • Get in the habit of cooking on the back-burners of your stove and turning pot handles inward so small hands are unable to grab them.
  • Add protective stove nob covers to your stove so your little one can’t accidently turn it on.
  • Make sure window blind cords are out of reach. They often have plastic pieces hanging from the bottom of the string and can be a choking hazard to babies when they start to pull up.
  • Consider putting window gates on your windows if you like to keep them open. It can be easy for a small child to push through a screen.
  • Use a bracket and screw to secure large pieces of furniture to a wall stud so they cannot easily tip over.
  • Latch your cabinets, toilet seats, refrigerator and dishwasher so curious minds can’t access hazardous items.
  • Make sure all chemicals, soaps and cleaning supplies are out of reach – especially laundry pods, which can be mistaken for candy.

Baby proofing doesn’t need to feel overwhelming. Start making a checklist of hazardous areas in your home now so you can enjoy watching your baby learn and grow – stress free.

Read more safety tips and learn about our trauma center and injury prevention programs.