Help your baby explore his world safely by baby-proofing your home well before he is mobile. Although he is always supervised, it’s amazing how fast a baby can crawl or walk, and he is curious about everything around him.
One tactic often advised is to start by getting down on your hands and knees in order to see your home as your baby will. Keep in mind the stability of furniture such as bookcases and side tables. As babies learn to walk, they will use furniture as a crutch so it should all be stable enough not to topple. You can also print out the following checklist, although it is a general list and there may be something particular to your home that is not included.
- Mobiles and anything hanging above the crib should be placed out of reach as soon as your baby shows signs of being able to sit up so as to prevent him from grabbing at them.
- The crib should be placed away from windows and there should not be anything nearby (such as pictures on the wall, tall plants, etc.) that could be a danger.
- Toys should be kept in a child-safe toy box. The lid should have hinges with safety stops or be removable.
- Cabinets at child level should have childproof locks.
- Anything dangerous – such as cleaning products, knives, etc. – should be kept in higher cabinets with locks.
- Ensure that tabletop appliance cords (coffee maker, toaster, etc.) are wrapped short and out of reach.
- Avoid tablecloths on tables as baby could pull on them.
- Cushion any sharp table corners with baby bumper pads.
- Put a childproof lock on the oven door. Put covers on the knobs to prevent baby from turning a burner on.
- Turn pot handles to the back when cooking and use the back burners as much as possible.
- Keep the dishwasher locked.
- Install refrigerator and freezer locks.
- Remove any fridge magnets and place them safely out of reach as they can be a choking hazard.
- Plastic bags should be safely out of reach as they can be a suffocation hazard.
- Bookcases should be anchored to the wall with brackets.
- Audio/video equipment should be positioned so they cannot be pulled down.
- Bureaus and entertainment centres should be stable.
- Cushion sharp furniture edges with baby bumper pads.
- Fireplace should have a screened barrier.
- Set your water heater on 49° Celsius or install an anti-scald device on faucets. (A child can be scalded in 5 seconds in water at 60° Celsius.)
- Install a childproof lock on the toilet lid.
- Use a safety mat in the tub and a rubber-backed mat on the bathroom floor.
- Use a protective cover on taps and spout.
- Keep bathroom door closed to prevent baby's unaccompanied access, perhaps with the use of high hook lock on the outside of the door. Also use a high hook lock on the inside of the door and dismantle any other door locking device - this way baby can't lock himself in.
- Toiletries, medications, razors, nail clippers, etc. should be in a high cabinet that is locked.
- Appliance cords – from a hairdryer, curling iron, etc. – should not hang down to the floor and should be unplugged when not in use.
Throughout Your Home:
- All electrical cords should be secured and out of reach.
- Blind and drapery cords should be shortened or tied up securely out of baby’s reach.
- Cover all electrical outlets with safety plates.
- Radiators should have screen barriers.
- Install removable window guards on all windows, or latches that prevent windows from opening wide enough to be a danger.
- Window screens should be tightly secured.
- Floors should be free of tripping hazards like small rugs; any carpet should be tacked down securely.
- Heavy or breakable items should be put away.
- Coins or anything that baby could put in his mouth should be safely out of reach. This is anything that is smaller than the width of a cardboard toilet roll.
- Any plants that may be toxic should be removed.
- Sliding glass doors should have decals at child-level to keep babies from crawling into them by accident.
- No furniture should be placed near windows.
- Any sharp furniture edges should be covered with rubber protectors.
- Baby safety gates should be used at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Railing guards should be used on staircase balusters, if necessary, to prevent baby from getting his head stuck between them.
- Plants should all be out of reach (to prevent baby from toppling them or eating their leaves).
- Garbage cans should all have childproof locks.
- Use doorstops to prevent fingers from getting pinched. If the doorstops have plastic end caps on them, remove these, as they are a choking hazard.