Essential Babyproofing Steps First-Time Parents Might Not Think About
March 14, 2023
by cora gold, guest contributor
You’ve read all the baby books and scanned all the parenting blogs to prepare for the day you get to bring your little one home. Yet, like most first-time parents, you still don’t feel ready. How will you care for this precious baby and keep them safe when the world seems like such a scary place?
You know you need to cover the outlets and move your medicines and cleaning supplies to higher shelves, but you still feel like you must be missing something. This list of less common babyproofing steps is just what you need to relieve that nagging feeling.
1. Turn Down the Water Heater
Most water heaters come automatically set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which can burn your child’s thin skin in less than three seconds. Give them more time to pull their hands free without injury by lowering the settings on your water heater. Reducing it to a more manageable 125 degrees could give your little one half a minute to pull away.
2. Make Your Rugs Non-Slip
As your baby starts to toddle around the house, your flooring poses a new level of risk. The carpets that kept their small bodies cushioned could now cause unnecessary falls. Protect your child by switching out your rugs for non-slip options or adding no-skid padding underneath your old ones.
3. Remove Common Allergens
A baby’s skin is extremely sensitive. You must check around your house for possible irritants. For example, scented laundry detergent can make your little one break out in a rash. They’re also more sensitive to dust than adults are.
Additionally, as wonderful as it is when a loved one brings you flowers, many bouquets contain irritating pollen-heavy blooms bound to wrinkle your little one’s nose. Choose less bothersome options like orchids, which produce very little pollen, or irises, which trap their pollen well.
4. Cover Heat Sources
Water isn’t the only way your baby can burn their delicate skin. Heating vents and radiators are also a serious risk. Purchase or build unique covers to enjoy the warmth in your home without worrying about your little one’s safety.
5. Research Your Houseplants
Houseplants can liven up your home and bring fresh air to any space. However, your favorite greenery may be dangerous for the baby. Take some time to research the toxicity of the plants in your home. Remove any possibly poisonous varieties and move even the safe plants to a higher ledge.
6. Find a New Home for Pet Supplies
Most of your pet items could also pose a risk to your little one. You should keep kitty litter, pet food, water bowls and dirty toys in a separate room from your baby. Babies put everything in their mouths and could get sick from ingesting any of your pet supplies.
7. Store Plastic Bags Out of Reach
It may be handy to keep your plastic bags within easy reach. However, if your toddler or small child gets a hold of them, they could suffocate. You’ll need to place them up high out of reach for the next several years.
8. Store Your Tablecloth
Your tablecloth may be the perfect accent in your dining room, but the dangling edges are tempting for eager little fingers. Turning your back for one moment is all they need to reach up and pull everything down on top of them, which is especially dangerous if you decorate with candles or anything highly breakable or heavy. Plan to store your tablecloths until your children are old enough to know better.
9. Check Your Doorstops
You should carefully check each doorstop in your home. Many stops are a spring with a small removable cap. Little kids can easily remove the tip of the stopper and pop it in their mouths, which is a severe choking hazard.
You’ll need to remove the loose pieces or change out your doorstops for models with a single-piece design.
10. Anchor Heavy and Tall Furniture
Over the last 20 years, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recorded 482 child deaths and thousands more injuries from furniture tip-over accidents. Protect your kid by anchoring necessary furniture to the wall. You should secure your TV and any tall, heavy or easily tippable pieces, like dressers and bookshelves.
Spread Out Your Babyproofing
If all these babyproofing essentials have you feeling more overwhelmed than relieved, you’re not alone. The simplest way to approach getting ready for your little one is to take small steps throughout your pregnancy. Work with your loved ones to tackle a few items each weekend, and you’ll be prepared in no time.
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