Baby-proofing Your Home
Be proactive to secure potential hazardsBy FamilyFeatures.com
First-time parents quickly discover how little they know, especially when it comes to critical tasks like baby-proofing the home. When a tiny tot’s safety is at stake, the entire house can seem like one giant danger zone.
Before you distribute tiny hard hats, take some time to sit down and assess where changes can be made. Tackle the project room by room and you’ll be surprised how quickly the chore grows more manageable. Be sure to give special attention to common safety pitfalls like open stairways, electrical outlets and cords.
When you’re decorating the nursery, it’s easy to get wrapped up in little touches that make the room feel complete. However, adding too much flair can create some safety concerns, especially when it comes to windows. The crib may look just right centered under the window, but the area can be a potential hazard once your little one can reach any curtains there. In fact, as your infant becomes more mobile, the same concerns apply to windows throughout the home.
Curtains are a temptation most young children can’t resist. They’re perfect for peek-a-boo and pretend forts, but can also pose a suffocation hazard. And if the curtains are tugged on too hard, the whole rod ensemble can come crashing down. That’s why it’s a good idea to skip floor-length curtains and opt instead for valances or bolsters that still add a decorative touch but are out of reach of curious hands.
For new parents desperate for sleep, blocking the light to create a darkened room may be a top priority. However, some light-blocking options also pose a risk to children. Window and door blinds are a common solution because they allow the versatility of being raised or lowered and opened or closed to create different looks and lighting filters as needed. However, many blinds have exposed cords, which not only present a strangulation and choking hazard but also can cut off circulation and cause permanent damage if wrapped tightly around extremities and limbs. Look for cord-free styles or opt for a semi-permanent film or tint instead.
If you want to cover window-paned doors, consider enclosed blinds that fit inside doors. (ODL, at troublefreeblinds.com, is one company that makes add-on blinds for existing doors.) Look for blinds that are easy to install and use, efficiently block light and don’t have any exposed cords.
For most families, it’s not practical to re-furnish your home before a baby arrives. Fortunately, there are ways you can baby-proof the items you already have and as your little one grows, work on teaching boundaries to ensure safety. Options like adhesive foam can soften the sharp edges of coffee tables, while wall anchors help prevent large items like TVs, dressers and bookshelves from being tipped or pulled over.