When there is a baby on the way, especially a first baby, all parents feel fear that they won’t be able to cope. Moms and dads-to-be lie awake at night, imagining all the dreadful things that might happen. It’s completely natural, and it shows that your maternal and paternal instincts are exactly what they should be.
To help ease just some of your fears and to ensure that baby will be as safe as can be, it’s a great idea to make a Baby Proofing Checklist.
What Is a Baby Proofing Checklist?
A baby proofing checklist is a list of all ways you can make your environment safe for your new baby. Not just your home, but any place that your baby is going to spend time. So we would include your vehicle, your yard, and even the homes of people who will be looking after your baby for extended periods of time – such as grandparents.
Writing everything down is a great way to ensure that you have everything covered. And you can share the list with those grandparents, aunties, uncles, and friends who might need to make some changes in their homes too. Of course, the most baby-friendly changes will be made in your own home. Having those simple ideas on hand can prevent easily avoidable accidents wherever your baby might be.
Your baby will be crawling before you know it, so make those changes while you have some energy left!
The Ultimate Baby Proofing Checklist
The first thing to check out is your actual building.
Make sure that all that painting and decorating is finished two months before your baby arrives, ensuring that the air is fresh and completely unpolluted by fumes from paints and glues.
Install smoke and carbon dioxide detectors throughout the house, as well as fire extinguishers at key points, and learn how to use those fire extinguishers.
Consult your pediatrician or gynecologist, and stock your medicine chest with first aid items for likely baby issues.
Ensure that you have all emergency contacts programmed into all your phones and also those of your near relatives and friends.
When your baby first arrives, he or she will not be very mobile, so let’s start with the places that the baby will sleep. Make sure that you have the correct mattress and bed coverings specially designed for babies. Crib toys should be age-appropriate and gently removed once your baby is asleep – if possible! Your midwife or pediatrician will be able to advise you about your baby’s sleep hygiene.
This is one we can all figure out. Make sure that sharp corners are fitted with bumpers.
If you are buying new furniture, consider round tables instead of square, and furniture with rounded corners.
Cover all outlets with safety covers, or you can make sure that they are protected by heavy furniture.
Pots, Pans, And Handles
The cooking stove is a key place to make safe. At a minimum, swap over your pans with long handles for pans with short ones. Get used to using the back burners on your stove. You can cover the knobs on your stove so that little fingers can’t turn them on.
All Around The House
Starting with the kitchen, put all dangerous objects out of reach. And remember, what is harmless to an adult is dangerous for a baby. A knife is obvious; a small battery, for example, not so much, yet it can easily choke a baby. In the bathroom, get a lockable cabinet for medicines, razors, and all of those things you have been used to leaving around. Clear your bedroom of makeup, sleeping pills, and the like. If you have rugs, make sure they have non-slip backing – you don’t want to fall over with your baby in your arms.
You might want to turn down the temperature of your hot water supply, to avoid accidental scalding. Another often overlooked item is the toilet which can present a drowning danger, not to mention a hygiene challenge – get a lockable toilet lid, or leave the toilet door locked.
The garage is a minefield, and it’s hard to make this baby safe. We all keep tools, garden stuff, old junk we can’t throw away, and more in our garage. The best idea is to keep your baby out of this area completely unless you are carrying him or her to the car. If this isn’t possible, put everything up on high shelves that your baby can’t reach. And hang the ladders so they can’t be reached!
Sometimes overlooked, the car should be fitted with an age-appropriate baby seat and, of course, child locks. But other small items should be swept away – air fresheners and the like – and the glove compartment should be locked. It goes without saying that the car should be disabled if ever baby will be left there alone, even for a short while. Windows should always be open for ventilation and shaded when the sun is hot.
Common Baby Proofing Mistakes
- The most common mistake is not to move along with your precautions as your baby gets older. So revisit your list as your baby hits each developmental stage – the challenges will be new!
- Forgetting that other people’s houses are not baby-proof (and why should they be?) Just take care when you are visiting people who don’t have to worry about young babies and limit what you allow your baby to do, e.g., crawling around and exploring unattended.
- Leaving pet food where it can be reached. You won’t be the first parent who has been greeted with the sight of Junior sharing Buster’s dinner. A little bit of pet food probably isn’t going to hurt Junior – unless that small morsel gets stuck! So keep pet food out of baby’s reach, or supervise feeding time.
- Leaving purses and bags on the floor. Especially watch out for visitors doing this and leaving all those tempting but potentially hazardous bits and pieces within reach of little hands.
- Mixing toys. Keep baby toys separate from older kids’ toys – that may have small parts that are dangerous for babies. You are going to need the other kids’ help with this, so why not make it one of their chores.
Don’t Be Overwhelmed!
This all sounds like a lot, and once you start thinking about it, you can find many other ways that you might make your home baby-safe.
We should console ourselves with the thought that millions of babies have grown up and thrived in homes that today we would regard as being incredibly fraught with danger!
However, there is no harm in making our homes as safe as possible in advance because when your baby comes, you won’t have the time or the energy. It helps both mom and dad to satisfy their nesting instinct, and it also can give fussing relatives something positive and useful to do for you.
Preparing your home can help you relax and prepare for your baby, and it can save the distress of an easily preventable accident.