The process of baby proofing your home can be overwhelming, but don’t panic—you won’t have to cover your entire house in padding to keep your new bundle of joy safe in your home. There are, however, a few precautions you should take before baby comes home.
Household items that should be baby-proofed fall into two categories: dangers and annoyances. Dangers are things can cause serious injury or even death, while annoyances are those less-dire things that may still cause injury to your child (sharp corners) or simply irritation for you (an overturned trash can).
Cover all your bases by baby-proofing both dangers and annoyances:
- Electrical Outlets: Invest in a box of plastic outlet plugs and put one in every open outlet in your house. Keep an extra stash around for when a few inevitably disappear.
- Power Cords: Try to hide or keep out of reach as many power cords as possible, especially if your child likes to chew on things.
- House Plants: Keep all houseplants out of reach, and get rid of any plants that might be toxic.
- Lead Paint: If you live in a house built before 1978, you may want to have it tested for lead paint. Ingesting lead paint can result in all sorts of health problems. If you think you might have lead paint, visit the EPA’s website for more information and certified specialists that can help you remove it.
- Unsecured Heavy Furniture: If you have any heavy furniture that could be tipped over, secure it to the wall. This will become an issue when your child starts to pull up to stand, or if they enter a climbing phase.
- Window Treatment Cords: Make sure all cords are off the ground and out of reach, as they can pose a choking hazard.
- Household Cleaners: Find a safe place for all your household cleaners, either up high or in a cabinet with a child lock.
- Stairs: Install baby gates at the top and bottom of all staircases if your home has multiple stories.
- Breakables: Breakable objects that are within three feet of the ground have the potential to be broken. If you have any valuable or sentimental breakables, keep them out of reach.
- Sharp Corners: Unfortunately, these are everywhere. If you’re concerned about sharp corners or edges on furniture, purchase some padded bumpers.
- Trash: There’s just something about trash, especially those smaller trashcans in bathrooms and offices, which attracts babies. You can purchase a baby-proof can or find a clamp that will keep a trashcan lid in place.
- Pet food and water: Be aware that pet food and water left on the floor are fair game for baby. Try to feed pets in an area that can be cordoned off by baby gates.
If you’re looking for ways to save money while baby proofing, consignment sales often have safety items for sale at a third of the original price—sometimes even less. You can often find baby gates and child locks there, and you may luck into outlet plugs and other items, as well.