Friday, September 02, 2005

Baby Proofing

There are many important and essential things to do before a new baby arrives in the household. Many of them are obvious: we must purchase diapers, clothing, formula, baby shampoo, and all the other little necessities required by a newborn baby. In addition, the mother and father must prepare by planning meals, taking off work, and providing extra help, if necessary, with the other children in the family. But of all the planning and preparing done by new parents, perhaps the most essential is to baby proof the house. While the nursery is usually quite baby proof, most new parents spend much of their time in the living room of the house or apartment.

Although newborns are several months away from any type of mobility, the creeping, scooting and crawling seems to come much more quickly than any of us realize, and usually when we least expect it. By the time a baby begins to crawl and move around the room, the parents are often exhausted from all the changes and lack of sleep, and they are often too enthralled with the baby's mobility to think about baby proofing the rooms. To save time later, the best thing to do is baby proof the house well before the little bundle's arrival; then when he does begin to move around, parents can simply watch and enjoy.

The first thing that will need to go is anything breakable: knick knacks, glass photo frames, china, or anything breakable that is below waist level. This is not only to protect the precious valuables, but also to protect baby from putting anything dangerous into his mouth or breaking something and getting cut. Even if something isn't breakable, but is heavy, cumbersome, and could possibly injure your baby, put it up or away.

Books are also dangerous to babies. Not only can books fall and hurt the baby, pages can be torn out and eaten. Put all your books up or away as well, to protect baby - and the books! When our oldest daughter was nine months old, she crawled into our living room unattended for less than two minutes. In this time, she wiped out an entire lower shelf of books, tore off their covers, and then moved on to the stereo, where she turned the volume knob up all the way. Thankfully the stereo was off at the time, but when we turned it on later, by remote control, the speakers blasted out and were ruined. She was quite the destructive one, but we learned!

Lastly, don't forget the doorways and fireplace. Put something soft and safe in front of the fireplace so your baby won't fall against the hard bricks or rocks when he begins to stand, not to mention protecting him from potential burns. Doorways should be kept closed or have protective gates put in so baby cannot leave the room unattended.
Remember, common sense is important, but baby proof your home before baby comes and all common sense has gone out the window!

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