Thursday, August 31, 2006

Basic Babyproofing

If you have a baby in your life, it is important that you baby proof your home-- at least to some degree. While most expectant parents know that they should baby proof their homes by the time their baby is a few months old, grandparents and other family members should also make sure their houses are baby-friendly when baby comes to visit. It's not very expensive to baby proof your house and it's certainly a worthwhile investment regardless. Here are some baby proofing basics:

Outlet protectors. You should purchase a large package of plastic protectors for all of your wall outlets. This should be your first order of business, as curious babies love to crawl around and poke and prod at things. You want to make sure all of the outlets in your house are covered. Outlet protectors can be found at any baby specialty store or discount store.

Baby gates. You should have a baby gate at the top and bottom of every staircase in your home. It's not worth the risk to skip this one. All it takes is a quick turn of your back for a fast moving baby to try to hightail it up the steps. Baby gates can range in price, anywhere from 15 dollars to 50 dollars or more. Buy what you can afford but make sure that the gate fits securely in the space you are trying to block off. If you have a sunken or step-down room in your house, you may want to block baby's access to the step-down as he or she learns to crawl. If you can't afford to buy gates for all of your staircases, be diligent about rotating them as you are upstairs and downstairs with your baby.

Foam pads. You should cover any sharp edges (like coffee table edges or raised fireplace edges) with foam pads and corner guards. You can find foam pads at baby stores and specialty stores.

Cabinet latches. If you don't put latches on your cabinets and drawers, expect baby to drive you crazy opening and shutting them all day long-- as well as taking all of your pots and pans out of the cabinets. It's especially important to hinder baby's access to your utility drawers and to all cabinets that house chemicals or other dangerous substances.

Other baby proofing tips:

Keep detergents and cleaning products up on a high shelf or in a high cabinet, out of baby's reach.

Keeps your bathroom doors closed so that baby can't wander over to the toilet--serious accidents have occurred with young babies playing with the toilet.

Keep baby away from the kitchen while you are cooking. Keep hot pans out of reach and when cooking on the stove, make sure all pot handles are tuned inward so that your baby can't try to pull them down.

Keep baby's diaper rash cream, powder and baby oil out of reach. Even though these are baby items, they are extremely dangerous if ingested.

If you have a swimming pool in your yard, obviously you should keep the gate locked at all times. But don't leave baby unattended near a kiddy pool either-- top heavy, wobbly babies can tumble right in if you're not careful.

Be sure to put away plastic grocery and shopping bags-- these are a real hazard for babies and young children. Buy a plastic bag storage holder or take the bags to the recycling center. Most grocery stores even have bins where you can deposit your old plastic bags.

Baby proofing is such an important thing that some folks hire professional baby proofing company's to come to their home for a consultation. If you are truly concerned about how to baby proof your home, you should consider this service. Of course this will add quite a bundle to the cost of baby proofing your home, but you really can't put a price on your baby's safety.

And even if your house is completely baby proofed with all of the latest gadgets and devices, the number one way to keep your baby safe is to supervise him or her constantly. There is never an excuse for leaving a baby unattended so make sure your baby is always within your sight during his or her waking hours.

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