When babies start crawling, they can get into all sorts of trouble. Aside from creating messes, they can hurt themselves. That’s why it’s important to babyproof a home before a child begins to explore.
Coming up with a babyproofing checklist can help parents relax, knowing that their little ones will be able to crawl—and eventually walk—around the home without getting hurt.
A pre-baby financial checklist usually includes budgeting. A babyproofing checklist includes ways to ensure that a home is safe for a child.
Put Up Gates
If parents don’t have doors throughout their home, they can install baby gates.
The best types of baby gates can be screwed into a banister, wall, or door frame because they are the most secure, according to Babylist. Pressure-mounted gates are an option, especially if parents live in a rental and don’t want to put holes in the structure.
Some gates allow parents to step through, while others swing open. When looking for baby gates, parents may want to seek out the ones that are the top-rated for safety and the most convenient for their homes. For instance, they may get frustrated that they have to constantly step over a gate, so a swinging gate could be a better fit.
Buy a Hexagon Playpen
When parents can’t constantly watch their baby, they can put the baby in a hexagon “play yard” with toys and a bottle.
The panels can also be used to block off certain rooms or areas of a room.
However, parents should keep in mind that a toddler may be able to climb out of the panels or push them out of the room.
Cover the Outlets
Another part of a babyproofing checklist is covering all the outlets in the home.
The easiest option is to push heavy furniture in front of outlets so the baby can’t get to them. But if that’s not possible, parents can buy plug-in plastic covers, outlet shields, or sliding plate covers.
Remember to also get power strip covers and cord covers so the baby can’t play with those either.
Babyproof the Doors
Babyproofing doors is important so that babies can’t get into certain rooms or get their fingers jammed in doors.
To babyproof doors, parents can install doorknob covers, which are rounded, plastic covers that are too hard for babies to squeeze in order to turn the knobs.
Parents can also use a door strap, which will keep babies out of a room but allow small pets in.
Put Away Heavy Objects
If young children pick up a heavy object, they could drop it and break it or, worse, hurt themselves.
A major part of a babyproof checklist is putting away heavy objects that could injure a child. These objects could go in a closet or another room. It doesn’t matter where they go, as long as they are out of baby’s reach.
Install Latches on Drawers
One key part of babyproofing a home is to make sure that children can’t get into drawers and cabinets where dangerous objects like knives are stored.
Parents have a few options for babyproofing cabinets and drawers.
According to Babylist, they can use slide locks for double door cabinets, which tie adjacent knobs together, or magnetic locks, which go in drawers and cabinets and require a key to unlock them.
Parents could also purchase adhesive strap locks, which use heavy-duty, removable adhesive, or spring-action locks, which unlock when parents open a drawer and hold down on the lock at the same time.
Remove Choking Hazards
If parents have more than one child, there could be little toys around the house or other objects that are choking hazards for the baby.
Parents could store these objects in a safe spot and instruct their older kids to do the same. For instance, an older child could have a special trunk where they put all their toys when the baby is around.
Keep Chemicals Locked Up
Before having a baby, parents may have kept household cleaners and bug spray underneath the sink.
Now, when babyproofing, they need to put a lock on the cabinet where these chemicals are stored and/or install a gate to keep the baby far away from them.
A number of household substances must, by law, have child-resistant packaging. Still, one look around the average home shows potential dangers, including perhaps colorful single-load laundry detergent units and dishwashing liquid.
Use Corner Guards
Installing corner guards is an essential babyproofing step. Corner guards, which may prevent a bad bruise or eye injury, can be used on sharp corners of wooden desks, glass tables, and metal fireplace hearths.
Some corner guards are made of high-density foam; others from silicone rubber. They come in different colors and may include double-stick tape for easy installation.
Babyproof Window Blinds
Corded blinds are a strangling hazard for babies.
Parents can wrap a blind’s operating cords around cord cleats. Cord cleats should be installed at least 5 feet above a floor, where a baby can’t reach.
Other options are shortening cords and tying on plastic washers (the washer ties to the lift cord, preventing the lift cord from being pulled through the slats on the blind).
Secure Furniture to the Wall
Babies start to become very curious when they roam around the house. They may push furniture and try to move it. This is why all furniture they have access to should be secured to walls.
It’s important to secure furniture not only in the living and dining room but also in the nursery. Pay special attention to the baby’s bookshelf and dresser.
Every year children are injured in tip-overs of TVs, tables, dressers, and bookcases, some fatally.
Once babies start to crawl and even walk, they could slip and fall on rugs. Carpet Mill notes that parents can make rugs immovable by placing nonskid rug pads under rugs.
Double-sided carpet tape can also be used to keep down any slight upturns on the edges and corners of the rugs.
Block or Babyproof Stairs
Babies love stairs, but of course stairs can be dangerous. Parents can block stairs off with a baby gate or add carpeting, nonskid step pads, or a carpet runner to make stairs less slippery.
Paying for Babyproofing
First-time parents are prone to making common financial mistakes, but any way you slice it, child rearing is expensive, and that can start with babyproofing a home.
A metal baby play yard alone can cost more than $100, and gates can add up if there are a lot of open entryways to block off from the baby. Parents may also need to buy storage bins, carpeting, or furniture to keep the baby safe.
If they aren’t able to pay for babyproofing out of pocket, they could put the expense on a low- or no-interest credit card, look out for sales on their favorite items, or take out a home improvement loan.
A babyproof checklist is a must before babies start crawling and then toddling. Adding baby gates, playpens, and gadgets, and modifying furniture and flooring, can add up, but safety is the watchword.
A new child brings joy but, let’s face it, a lot of expenses. If a loan could help, SoFi offers fixed-rate personal loans without fees.
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