Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Baby Proofing Already?

Is it time to baby-proof your house already? Here you are - just relaxing and getting into the swing of feeding with your baby and getting her to sleep only to find out that it is time for the little one to start moving on her own.

Now you have to determine what goes and what stays. There are some quick decisions you can make. First, once your baby starts to be able to scoot, go ahead and baby proof. It never hurts to get it done early.

There are some basics that you should do no matter how strongly you feel about baby-proofing the whole house. You will need to watch out for household chemicals. While you may subscribe to a Darwinian approach to parenting, you will want to keep the little ones from bleach and other cleaners that could be very harmful or even fatal should baby get into them. You can try locks on the cabinet doors although a toddler eventually will figure them out. You also can try putting them in a more secure location so that height is a deterrent for your little guy.

You also should cover your electrical sockets. While stubby baby fingers will not fit in the electrical sockets, a bobby pin, paper clip, or fork will cause serious damage is it meets the socket. Just avoid this dilemma by keeping your sockets protected.

Beyond that, how much you baby proof is really dependent on how closely you monitor baby and how you feel about allowing him to get hurt to learn. Some parent put everything away because they believe they should bring out the breakables and potentially dangerous items only when baby can handle them. Other parents leave everything up because they say that baby needs to learn quickly what can and cannot be bothered.

Most parents, however, fall between these extremes. Try seeing what could be dangerous before you make the decision. Get down on the floor on your hands and knees or even your belly. Then you will be able to see what baby can see. If you see small beading that could come loose or other choking hazards, then you should remove those items. If you have electrical cords in various places, you may want to consider wire wraps, which you can purchase at most stores for pennies, and keep the wires together.

Look at the corners of your furniture. How likely is baby to get hurt from bumping your particular coffee table? You can get rubber protectors or use cut tennis balls to remove this hazard.

Look at any tears in your carpet or furniture. Are there are pieces that could come off easily? Snip them or find a way to cover them so that baby will be protected.

Remember that your baby will get hurt. There is no way to keep a baby from ever getting injured unless you are going to keep her under lock and key. That method is not a safe idea because your baby will have to deal with dangers in the world. It is best to allow them to start now under closely supervised circumstances.

By Julia Mercer

No comments: