Babyproofing demystified

Your baby is almost mobile. Now is the time to babyproof your home. Are you scared already? Don’t be. As scary and difficult babyproofing sounds, trust me, it is not. We will go through it step by step together.

A toddler trying to reach dangerous items in the dishwasher
Photo credit: Shutterstock

1 Why babyproof your house?

The facts clearly state that more children are injured (often fatally) in their own homes more than in any other place. The best way to keep children from getting injured is to always be aware of what they are doing so that you can step in when necessary. However, we all know that this is not always possible, especially if you have more than one child in your care. So to keep your baby safe and save your sanity in the process, babyproof your home.

2 When to babyproof?

When babyproofing your home, it is very important to be proactive and start early. Don’t wait for example until your baby is crawling to put gates on the stairs. You can even start before your baby arrives. In fact, I advise you to do so for two reasons:

Reason #1

When your baby is here, you will get busy and sorry to say exhausted! There are days when a shower will seem like a luxury.  So why not get this babyproofing off the list? One less thing to stress about when your baby is here.

Also, by doing so, you will have more time on hand instead of rushing things later. Remember, you don’t have to do it all at once. You can start with the things that require effort. This way, you will have a strong base that you can add to it later.

Reason #2

It takes a while to adjust to change and build new habits. You put extra effort in installing locks on the hazardous cabinets at home only to find that your partner does not lock the cabinets after use. Whose fault is that? Nobody. It simply takes more than 21 days to build a new habit, including locking the cabinet after use. Read this article by James clear on how long does it actually take to form a new habit (Backed by Science).

We can debate “If I can do it, why can’t he/ she do it?” but we will get nowhere. So, don’t wait, start early. Give yourself and everybody else at home the time to get used to the new system in place.

Note that babyproofing is not a one-time event, but a process. As your baby grows and develops, he will have access to new places and get himself into new situations. The gate you put at the top of the stairs for your 1-year-old may become his favorite climbing structure when he’s 2. That’s why babyproofing is a continuous exercise and it’s important that you examine it before your baby hits new milestones.

3 Where to babyproof?

To get started, consider your family’s lifestyle and your home layout. If you have a big house, you might not want to babyproof every room. Start with the rooms where your child spends his time like the nursery or the living room. As for the other rooms, you can simply lock them to prevent your child from entering. Keep in mind though that today you might be able to keep your child away from one room, but the older he gets, it might be more difficult.

4 How to babyproof your house?

Companies make babyproof items for the obvious (table corners, toilets, drawers, stairs, etc.), but in reality, babies get into anything they can reach. Everything in and around the home could be a baby hazard. The best tip I can give you is to learn to look at your home from your child’s perspective.

How? Simply enter a room, get down on your hands and knees, and crawl around. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s effective, trust me. This exercise will allow you to see potential dangers and hazards you haven’t been aware of. Look around. What’s within reach? What looks tempting? Where would you go if you could crawl, toddle, or walk? Now, list down every hazard you see on a paper. If you are unsure about a hazard, write it down; you can always scratch it later.

Now let’s do some thinking. For each hazard, decide on the control measure using the Hazard Control Hierarchy. Click here to read the article on how to use the Hazard Control Hierarchy. I advise you to do this exercise as a couple (if applicable). Why? Because there are decisions to be made and some of them will require a small investment. If your spouse has delegated this task entirely to you, even better.

Voilà, your list is now ready. The next step is to implement what is on that list. Because what’s the point of doing all that work if you are not going to put it to good use? I just want to add that it’s okay if on the way you change your mind about something. You might find that an option you chose previously is no longer working for you and that is totally fine. 

5 Babyproofing Tips

If you are not sure about the control measure for each hazard, I put here some general tips that could inspire you. Again, those are just tips. They cover the most common and preventable hazards. However, they are by no means all-inclusive. Specific hazards vary from home to home and from baby to baby. So, please follow the list, do the exercise, and don’t just rely on these tips.

So, without further ado, let’s get started. Click on any links below to read the full article.

6 Tidy up! It’s the most important babyproofing tip of all

When we embark on the mission of babyproofing our house, we tend to forget the most important task of all, tidying up! This is different than installing gates or window guards for example, as it is not a one-time thing. It’s a way of living, but that can save your baby’s life. Here are a few tips to stay on top of organization and tidiness:

Keep an eye out for tiny objects that your baby could choke on

Pick up any coins, buttons, batteries, marbles, beads, paper clips, rings, bottle tops, marker caps, and other small objects  off of all floors and surfaces. Don’t forget the low drawers or cupboards. Watch this slideshow on what you should know about swallowed objects

Beware of button batteries

Did you know that button batteries are one of the most damaging and dangerous things your child could swallow? If ever ingested, these small disc-shaped batteries react with the saliva and gastric fluid , causing a deadly poisoning. Read all about their danger here.

Keep surfaces clear

The more clutter on your flat surfaces, the more your baby will be drawn to explore them.

Put photo frames up and away

Your baby would just love touching anything within his reach. So, he might have the tendency to drop a frame or knock it over. Other options would be replacing the photo glass frames with plastic ones or mounting them on the wall.

Use shelves for decorative Items

Shelves are your best friend when you have a destructive baby. A house with plenty of shelving out of reach of babies is a safe house.

Don’t use tablecloths or place mats

Your baby can pull them and anything on them down.

Put breakable items up and away

Store large glass vases and other breakable items high up, where your baby cannot reach them.

7 Conclusion

Do you find this post helpful? Please give it a like below and don’t forget to share it with family and friends. The safety of our children always comes first.

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