What you need to consider right away and what can wait for another day.
Google ‘baby proofing your house’ and you’ll get a lot of different points of view on what you need to do to make your home safe for baby. The reality is, however, that baby isn’t moving around much until about 7 months of age, so you don’t have to get all of the proofing done day 1.
that said, they ARE wiggly from day 1, so there are measures you need to take at every age and stage to ensure their safety.
0-1 month old baby proofing
Babies can move their arms and legs, and lift their heads, when placed on their stomachs. If not being watched carefully, they could swing themselves off of changes tables, beds or sofas. Unless they are in a play pen or their crib, make sure you’ve got your eye on them! While technically they’re not rolling yet, they can go quite a distance, faster than you think, on their tummies!
1-3 month old baby proofing
At this stage, they are putting things in their mouths, so use the toilet roll test to see if something is too small. If the item fits in a cardboard toilet roll, it’s too small for baby. The moving around as if swimming, from the point above, holds true more than ever now, as baby gains more control of their neck muscles.
5-6 month old baby proofing
Baby might be sitting up at this point, and definitely rolling over, so you need to be extra vigilant when they are on a surface such as the sofa or a change table. They’re beginning to reach for items and it’s not long before they can grab at things at their height. This is a good time to start going around on your hands and knees to see what they see and what might be tempting to grab.
- Power cords should be hidden under carpets or behind furniture.
- Window blind cords needed to be lifted out of reach.
- Any and all breakable items.
- Phones, remote controls and other items that suddenly look tasty to the kid that wants to gum everything!
6-8 month baby proofing
At this point, whether rolling, crawling, or scooting, your baby is probably more mobile than ever. NOW is the time to do the majority of the proofing, including:
- Outlet covers on all baby level outlets.
- Locks on all cabinets baby can reach. Better still if you can remove all chemicals, including dishwashing and clothes washing detergents, alcohol, and medications to a higher level or in a room that baby can’t access.
- Remove items from coffee tables and low side tables that could be pulled and drop on baby’s head.
- Pet food needs to be placed out of reach of baby.
- Don’t forget baby gates for stairs (top AND bottom) and make sure that doors that should remain closed stay that way, like bathrooms.
8-10 month baby proofing
At this stage, baby is pulling themselves up on tables, chairs and so on, to a standing position. And when they figure out how to do that, they’ll do it all the livelong day!
NEVER put hot beverages or sharp objects (including pens and pencils) within reach of a baby that is now standing and be sure to anchor all heavy furniture, including televisions, that baby could pull on top of themselves! Check all baby height furniture for sharp corners and edges and protect them by adding some corner covers or removing the furniture altogether for a while!
12 month baby proofing
Baby will be walking soon if they aren’t already, so all the rooms that they can get into, they’ll try! It’s all about testing their newfound skills, which is perfectly normal for them and stressful for you!
Make sure drawers are locked and small objects are out of reach and revisit the cords and outlets now that baby is upright and moving! Either place latches on doors to prevent their being opened or get some door knob covers that make it impossible for them to open a standard door by accident. It’s also a good idea, if you don’t want to keep the bathroom door closed, to get a latch for the toilet.
Phew! Anything else?
You’ve bought the latches for the toilet, and locks for all the kitchen drawers and cabinets, so what’s left? Here are a couple of other areas that you might not have considered:
Ideally, plants and dirt will be kept out of their reach but you might want to check your backyard too, as crawling babies will put just about anything into their mouths. Here is a partial list of some common plants that are toxic to humans, if ingested. If you’re not sure about a plant in your garden, check online or call poison control at 1-800-222-1222 (PS: this number should be on your list of numbers that you keep handy all the time!)
- Calla lily
- Daisy Rhododendron
- Morning glory
- Boston ivy
- Cherry tree
- Buckeye tree
- Holy bush
- Rhubarb leaves
Sure, you may have latched down the toilet, but don’t forget the brush! You probably don’t want to imagine what amount of bacteria is on it, nor how you would feel if baby put it in their mouth! When baby starts motoring, it’s time to put it in a locked cabinet with the other bathroom supplies.
Pictures and mirrors
You’ll no doubt think to avoid putting a framed image near the crib, where baby would be able to reach it but even in the rest of your home, you might want to check heavy gilt frames and mirrors. A good bang to the wall by a baby cruising along with a toy could bring a picture crashing down on their heads!
Check the anchors and make sure it’s secured to the wall, as if it was a priceless museum piece! If you’re not sure, best to take it down for the time being.
Now that you’ve baby proofed your home, you can relax and enjoy your time with baby, practicing tummy time and enjoying a little leisure.