Gone are the days when your baby is constantly confined to bed. Your little bundle of joy has now grown into a curious toddling mess-machine. Everything in her path are now objects of interest. You are now faced with the challenge of baby-proofing your home for the safety of your child.
Baby-proofing equipment and accessories are widely available and are mostly easy to install. Outlet covers, drawer locks and cabinet latches are some inexpensive examples. There are also the costly ones like baby gates and fireplace guards. While it is advisable to invest in these protective pieces, it is not absolutely necessary. Here are some ways to child-proof your home without spending:
1. Double check. After putting all potentially dangerous and breakable items on higher places, get down on your hands and knees and crawl like a baby. Being at the same eye-level as your baby will help you figure out what kinds of dangers lay ahead of her. Things you normally forego as safe when you’re standing up may not be the case after all.
Check your refrigerator for old and possibly expired food to prevent food poisoning. Expiration dates are also found on medicines and other baby products like diaper rash cream, so be sure to throw out anything past the date. Inspect your child’s toys regularly for broken parts that might be choking hazards. The same thing goes for loose buttons on clothes. Before leaving the bathroom, make sure all of your stuff like razors and dental floss are not left lying around. Completely drain the tub and sink of water, and close the toilet lid all the time. Children can drown when they fall upside down on any open container with even a little water.
2. Rearrange. A little feng-shui around the house can bring peace of mind to parents. Push big appliances and furniture against the wall to prevent your child from pushing them over (or pulling them down). Position solid objects like cribs or toy chests away from an unsafe window to eliminate the risk or falling.
Always put things like a glass of water or your purse in the middle of the table where it is harder for your child to reach. Keep your table mantels until your little one is old enough not to pull on them. When cooking, use the back burners and rotate the pan so that the handles are facing away from you.
Out of sight is out of reach. Put away anything you don’t want your child playing with. Vacuum regularly and turn over sofa cushions to remove any debris that may find its way to your child’s mouth. If you cannot take out house plants, be sure you know the names of the plants so you can check whether they are poisonous when ingested.
3. Improvise. Tape the undersides of floor rugs to keep your toddler from slipping. Stuff crumpled paper on door jamb slots to disable door locks, so your child cannot lock herself in the bathroom, for example. Use old towels to cushion sharp corners.
Unplug any unused appliance or power tools that are not in use. Tie up blind cords and electrical cords to make them short. Secure drawers with handles with a broom or pole. Use masking tape or duct tape on anything you don’t want your child to open or poke.
4. Supervise. Always keep an eye on your child since accidents can happen instantly. Sometimes, those little plastic outlet covers are the reason why your kid is attracted to the outlets in the first place. For some kids, child-proofing devices are just obstacles they have to defeat. Always make sure that she is not watching when you “un-proof” an area. Conversely, a child has to have somebody watching over her shoulder as she learns to unlock a safety latch or open a childproof medicine bottle.
There are plenty of things in the house that your child would want to investigate. Observe your kid and see which ones are her favorites, then go from there. If you go to another house or any public place, the best way to keep a baby safe is grown-up supervision.
All these child-proofing are merely measures to deter your little one from inflicting harm to herself. Limiting your child’s access to certain things will help her learn about right and wrong. Explain to your child why some things in the house are off-limits by using simple words like ‘no’, ‘bad’ or ‘hot’. Teaching her to understand these things early on will help her lead a less risky childhood.