Your kid’s about to be crawling, if they aren’t already, which means you can’t put off the baby-proofing process any longer. The genius home hackers over at Real Simple have come up with a baby-proofing checklist that runs through basics like baby-proofing drawers room-by-room and makes the whole process, well, yeah. Walked right into that one. Besides the obvious, there are a few baby-proofing precautions you may not have thought of; the key takeaways are listed below. The kid’s been curious, now the kid’s mobile. Batten down the hatches.
Baby-Proofing: Where To Start
The International Association For Child Safety (IAFCS) certifies professional child-proofers — experts trained to ensure your home is safe for your kid, not kids trained to turn your emails into gibberish nonsense. They’re definitely not cheap – expect to pay a $100 for an assessment followed by many hundreds more for labor and products – but they will give you the peace of mind of a proper install and CPSC-approved products.
If you don’t have the extra catch, or are a seasoned DIYer, you can certainly do the baby-proofing yourself. Just make sure you do due diligence on the products because they have a tendency to get recalled. Also, make sure you have plenty of patience (beer) and can follow installation instructions to the letter (so maybe forget the beer). These are, after all, devices meant to keep your child from harm or death.
You probably know to keep the knives in the kitchen well out of reach, and that cleaning supplies and other chemicals should be locked up. But there are other less obvious places you’ll want to install your safety arsenal. Also, maybe start by ditching, or at least locking up, your actual arsenal.
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- Secure The Crib: Of course your kid sleeps through the night and doesn’t mess around with nearby cords and windows. The rest of us need to guard against those things. Regardless, make sure your crib meets the most current safety standards.
- Install Window Guards: Not to be confused with baby cages. Although the view from there does seem lovely.
Even if you’re crazy diligent, your kid will likely topple off a stair or 2. Hell, you will probably topple off a stair or 2. But instead of replacing every stair in your home with an elaborate block and tackle system (as in boats, not NFL), gates are the way to go. Make sure you use the kind that are held in place by more than just pressure; those are easily bullied into breaking.
Safety Apparatus You’ll Need:
- Sturdy, non-pressure or non-friction install gates that anchors to the wall
- Adequate lighting — motion-activated a plus!
It’s totally reasonable that you want to teach your kid how to bro down in the garage, but they’re more apt to pour oil into their mouth than the car. If your kid is going to be around the tools and heavy stuff, make sure it’s stowed safely and not easily pulled down from high shelves. If your garage is a disaster, consider installing a high door lock to simply keep them out. That goes for almost any place that isn’t or can’t be baby-proofed.
Safety Apparatus You’ll Need:
- Cabinet locks
- Lockable storage
- Door lock that allows you to exit and enter while keeping the kid out
- New, high-end steel toolbox (Not at all for safety, your kit is just whack)
This isn’t just about knives. It’s also a tale of appliances and fire, which sounds like the least popular George R. R. Martin novel ever. Small appliances should be stored away from the edge of counters to keep them from being pulled down. Pot and pan handles should be turned inward on the stove for the same reason.
- All Latch Everything: Prepare to have to outsmart a baby lock to get anything done in the kitchen, and therefore to start eating more microwave dinners. Stove knobs and garbage disposals get covers, drawers and cabinets containing anything pointy or poisonous get latches, and you get asked, “Why don’t you ever let me play with anything fun?”
The bathroom can be a super dangerous place for a kid, and not just when they stumble in while you’re getting some reading done. Fact is, this is actually one of the most dangerous rooms in your house — nearly 70 percent of all accidents occur here, and again, not those kind of accidents — with abundant hazards from outlets, cabinets, and standing water. Even the toilet has been known to cause drowning.
- Lock The Throne: And you thought you only had to stop your dog from drinking out of the toilet. Safety latch the bowl. And medicine cabinets and drawers.
- Call A Plumber: Unless you’re comfortable installing your own anti-scald devices for faucets and shower heads … or knew anti-scald devices existed.
Baby-Proofing Living Rooms
So many objects in the living room are soft and inviting – the couch, the armchair, your belly – but therein lies a hidden danger. All those things are heavy (that’s right, all of them), and climbing kids topple TVs and bookshelves at a frighteningly high rate.
Safety Apparatus You’ll Need:
- Outlet covers
- Furniture harness to anchor heavy pieces to the wall
Establish a kid-free zone away from the grill and scary spots like the shed, which will end up regulating itself. Make sure your pool is properly fenced with a gate that’s smart enough to keep them out but easy enough to unlock so that you can get in there during an emergency after they outsmart it.
Baby-Proofing The Rest
If this all sounds like a lot of work, it is. But it’s very important work that will keep your kid safe, and it’s the best alternative to buying a house with no kitchen. Or bathroom. Or second floor. Or toilet. Which is basically, a van. A very, very safe van.
- Enemy At The Gates: All stairs get gates, which means your house will finally look like the zoo it’s felt like these last few months. The cool groovy safety experts say you can get away with pressure gates at the bottom, but everyone agrees that if you’re not anchoring top gates into posts or studs, you’re asking to send your baby and your gate down the stairs at the same time.
- Cover Your Corners. And your doors. And your outlets. Curiosity + mobility = little fingers finding sockets and hinges, and wobbly, giant baby heads finding coffee table corners. It’s science.
- Cut The Cord. Or use safety tassels or cord stops on your blinds so Junior can play Tarzan without strangling themselves.
- Harness Screen Time. Literally. Secure TVs and other heavy furniture items to the wall with harnesses so they don’t fall down when Lil’ Tarzan swings over and climbs them.