Monday, October 31, 2005

Childproofing Your Home Office

When you are a work at home parent, you will find that you will need a new set of childproofing techniques. You need to keep baby safe in the office, of course, but your work items need to be kept safe as well. Here are some ways you can childproof your office so that both your baby and your work are safe from harm.

First, put away important papers. No, your baby should not eat your report, but he will. That is just the way of babies, and there is nothing you can do because you cannot reason with a baby. Your best bet is to find a place to keep important work documents. You can use a drawer she cannot reach or an accordion file if you would like. Just make it something that stubby little fingers cannot reach and make it a priority to put your work there every time you get up from your desk.

Second, secure the trashcan. It often seems that babies go for the most disgusting things they can find, and that includes the trash. While your baby may not be tall enough or strong enough to get into the kitchen trash or a diaper pail, your home office probably has a smaller trash bin. You should secure it to the wall or floor or put it in a place the baby cannot reach. The danger here is baby eating something she should not as well as pulling the can on her head before you can grab her. Think about securing any other office items, such as printer tables, that your baby could topple.

Third, keep cords at bay. Babies love cords; there's no doubt about it. They are often bright and are generally interesting to someone exploring the world. Try to keep the danger away from your baby by using the little cord ties you can find in electronic stores. Also keep cords position along the wall so they are not quite so tempting.

Next, you should back up your files. If you have to type with baby at the keyboard, which will be likely when you work at home, your baby will want to reach out and help. While it can be frustrating, it will be devastating if he manages to delete files or cause other problems by hitting hotkeys. Avoid this problem by doing nightly backups and keeping the files away from your desktop on a disk of some sort.

Finally, let baby have a desk. You can improvise as he gets older, but for now, get him a short basket with some papers. You can put in blank paper, or better yet, gather some bright junk mail. Even a six-month-old can have a blast going through it. That way, baby will be "working" when you are, and he won't be working in your materials. As she gets older, you can add a little table, some supplies, and a chair. Then your little one will enjoy going to work with Mommy or Daddy everyday!

By Julia Mercer

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