Baby safety month: Prepping your home before baby arrives￼
By Cradlewise Staff
Baby safety month: Prepping your home before baby arrives￼
By Cradlewise Staff
The stove. The curling iron. The fancy coffee table with the sharp edges. There are probably tons of things in your home that are potentially dangerous to a newborn.
As you start looking at your surroundings through the vigilance that comes with becoming a parent, you’ll realize these potential dangers sprinkled throughout your house—the innocuous electric outlets suddenly start looking like toasters for tiny fingers, and the little coins and buttons lying around the house transform into choking hazards, among other things.
Amidst the whirlwind of excitement and preparation of baby showers and nursery decorating, it’s easy to overlook one of the most critical aspects of welcoming a new baby into your home: ensuring their safety.
The good news is that with careful planning and a few simple adjustments, you can create a safe and nurturing environment for your little bundle of joy.
Before you welcome your baby into your home, it’s crucial to babyproof your space. In honor of Baby Safety Month, we’ve put together some tips to ensure your home is a haven of safety and comfort for your little one.
We’ve divided our list into two parts: The “must-do” items, which include the things that you must absolutely do before you bring the baby home, and the “you-have-some-time” items, which include the things that you can wait to do until your baby become more mobile and start crawling and cruising.
The must-do items
1. Babyproof your baby’s nursery.
Your baby’s nursery will be their sanctuary–and yours, too!—so you’ll want to ensure it’s safe.
- Crib safety: Ensure that your crib meets current safety standards with no loose screws or slats. Remove any hanging mobiles or toys once your baby can push up on their hands and knees. Keep fluffy bedding and stuffed animals out of the crib to reduce the risk of suffocation. (If well-intentioned relatives complain that their gifts aren’t visible, refer them to this article. 😉)
- Changing table: Secure the changing table to the wall, and always keep one hand on your baby while changing them. Babies have a knack for wiggling when you least expect it!
2. Cover electrical outlets in your home–especially in your baby’s nursery.
Babies are curious creatures, and electrical outlets are like magnets for their tiny fingers. Cover them throughout your home, but pay extra attention to the nursery.
The most common and effective way to childproof electrical outlets is by using outlet covers or safety plugs. These are inexpensive and readily available at most baby supply stores. Outlet covers typically fit securely into the outlet slots, making removing them difficult for a child.
Also, consider replacing your standard outlets with tamper-resistant outlets (TRRs). TRRs have built-in safety features that make it more challenging for a child to insert objects into them.
Last, keep electrical cords out of reach or secure them to prevent your baby from pulling on them. Cord protectors or cord shorteners can help with this.
3. Remove choking hazards.
Babies explore the world through their mouths. Get down on your hands and knees to view the world from your baby’s perspective.
This will help you identify and remove small objects that could pose a choking hazard. These hazards could include coins, buttons, small toys, and any items that could fit into a baby’s mouth.
4. Use cordless window coverings.
Babies are surprisingly strong and can get tangled in curtain cords, which poses a strangulation risk. Tie up or secure cords from blinds and curtains or replace them with cordless options to keep your little one safe.
5. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Safety doesn’t stop with babyproofing; it extends to your home’s overall safety. Ensure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and regularly tested, especially in sleeping areas. These are non-negotiable.
Consider interconnected smoke detectors. That way if one alarm is triggered, all the sensors in your home will sound simultaneously, ensuring everyone is alerted.
Install detectors on the ceiling or high on the wall as smoke and gasses rise. Keep them away from corners and walls to allow for proper airflow. Avoid installing them near vents, windows, or fans, as these can alter their effectiveness.
6. Babyproofing the bathroom.
The bathroom can be a danger zone with slippery surfaces and potential hazards. Install safety latches on cabinets and drawers, and always supervise bath time.
- Practice bathtub and water safety: Water safety is critical. Keep the bathroom door closed when not in use and never leave your baby unattended during bath time.
Did you know?
7. Inspect baby gear
Before using any baby gear, such as cribs, strollers, and car seats, double-check that it meets safety standards and hasn’t been recalled.
Examine each item for any signs of damage, wear, or tear. Look for loose screws, frayed fabrics, or broken parts. If anything is damaged, repair or replace it before your baby arrives.
As your due date comes near, clean and sterilize all items that your baby will come into contact with (especially feeding equipment like bottles and breast pump parts). Use baby-safe cleaning products to ensure there are no harmful chemicals left behind.
8. Install car seats and strollers.
Have your car seat properly installed well before your due date. There are often experts in your community who can help.
Also, familiarize yourself with how to securely fasten your baby in their stroller. Practice folding and unfolding the stroller so you’re a pro when it’s time for that first walk.
9. Check heating and cooling appliances.
Radiators, space heaters, and air conditioning units can get hot and pose burn risks. Ensure that such heating and cooling appliances are properly secured and do not pose any burn risks or tipping hazards.
Also, make sure they’re out of reach.
10. Choose safer house plants.
If you have indoor plants, ensure they are not toxic to children. Babies often explore by putting things in their mouths, so having non-toxic plants in your home is important.
Some common houseplants, like philodendrons, pothos, and snake plants, can be toxic if ingested. It’s best to avoid these plants altogether, especially if you have curious pets or a crawling baby.
Opt for houseplants known to be non-toxic or considered safe around children. Some examples include:
- Spider plant
- Boston fern
- Areca palm
- Bamboo palm
- Christmas cactus
- African violet
11. Test toys.
As you set up the nursery, inspect toys for small parts that could be choking hazards. Opt for age-appropriate toys that do not have small detachable parts.
Run your fingers over the toy’s edges and corners to check for any sharp or rough areas that could potentially harm your baby.
Also, ensure that the toys are made from non-toxic materials. Look for toys labeled as BPA-free, phthalate-free, and lead-free. Avoid toys with a strong chemical smell.
12. Address pet safety.
If you have pets, ensure they are introduced to the baby in a controlled manner. Start introducing them to the idea of a baby gradually.
Here are some tips that might help:
- Allow them to sniff baby-related items like blankets and clothing, and consider playing recordings of baby sounds to acclimate them.
- Ensure your pet follows basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it.” This will help you manage their behavior around the baby.
- Establish specific areas in your home where your pet can retreat to if they need space or want to avoid the baby.
- Use baby gates or pet gates to separate these areas.
- Reward your pet with treats and praise when they exhibit good behavior around the baby. This will help them associate positive experiences with the baby’s presence.
Never leave your pet and baby alone together, especially during the early stages. Always have a responsible adult present to monitor their interactions.
13. First aid kit.
Stock a well-equipped first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic ointment, and baby-safe thermometers. Familiarize yourself with basic first-aid practices — it’s always better to be prepared.
14. Plan emergency exits.
Know your home’s emergency exits like the back of your hand. It’s essential in case of unexpected situations. Hopefully, you’ll never need them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
15. Secure heavy furniture.
Tall bookshelves, dressers, and T.V. stands pose a potential hazard if your baby attempts to climb on them or relies on them for support. To safeguard against accidents, it’s crucial to anchor these tall and heavy pieces of furniture to the wall.
(This precaution is especially vital in areas prone to hurricanes and earthquakes, where furniture can topple over regardless of your baby’s interaction with it.)
16. Put corner guards on table edges.
Sharp table corners can be hazardous for tiny tots who are still finding their balance. And sharp corners can lead to painful bumps. Soften those corners with protective guards.
Some parents like to take care of everything at once, but it’s fine to wait until your baby gets more mobile to tackle this.
17. Secure windows.
Install window guards or locks to prevent windows from being opened too wide, ensuring your little explorer can’t make a daring escape. This ensures your baby can’t take any unscheduled trips.
This can also wait till your little one starts crawling.
As your baby grows and becomes more mobile, they’ll start sitting up, rocking on hands and knees in their Cradlewise Smart Crib. Because the smart crib has been designed with the highest safety standards in mind, it is a perfectly safe sleep space for babies, regardless of how docile or active they may be. If, however, you are concerned that your little one moves around a bit too much, you may consider adding an Edge Protector on the inside of the crib’s wooden pieces. It will give you extra assurance and preserve the look of the crib.
As you prepare your home for your little one’s arrival, remember that accidents can happen even in the safest of spaces. But by taking these precautions, you’re creating a loving, secure environment where your baby can thrive, explore, and grow.
Here’s to the exciting adventure ahead!