Get your house ready!
“I can’t wait until she smiles!”
“I can’t wait until he’s talking!”
“It will be great when she’s walking!”
Be careful what you wish for! I’m only kidding… sort of…
Parents are so eager for each milestone, and a little while after one is achieved, they are often looking for ways to ‘turn it off’. Kids don’t come with mute buttons, nor do they come with a strong sense of perspective. Those stairs going from the bedroom to the toys in the living room don’t seem so bad, from their point of view. And that’s how tumbles happen.
You can’t stop them from learning, growing and developing, nor would you want to, but you can minimize the risk of their getting hurt in the process, while at home.
Four hazards in the home for crawlers you might not think of
While most of us will think of putting gates on the stairs and those little plastic covers on open electrical sockets, there are a few hazards that you might not have considered when you were getting ready to baby proof your home!
Number 1 — Dishwashers
Between the detergent pods that can give baby a chemical burn or irritate their skin to sharp knives and breakable glassware, the dishwasher is a major home hazard. If your dishwasher has a lock or latch, get into the habit of using it; point knives and forks downwards and NEVER put in the detergent until just before you turn it on. Better to run a load without the detergent by accident than having baby swallowing a chemical!
Number 2 — The Dog
Yes, your furbaby is important to you but about 100,000 kids go to hospital in the US every year because of dog bites. In most cases, this happens with a family pet or a friend’s pet. Why? Crawlers like to tug on tails and ears, fur and feet. Dogs are animals and you have to remember that they might react as a dog would to being mishandled. NEver leave a baby alone in a room with a dog, whether your family pet or not.
Number 3 — Hot Beverages
You put your cup of coffee down on the table for a second while you go and get something in the dining room. Baby spots it and makes a grab for it, dousing themselves with steaming hot coffee, suffering burns as a result. Get into the habit of putting these higher up, or even using a travel mug, to be extra safe.
Number 4 — Throw Rugs or Loose Carpets
Carpets or rugs that aren’t taped down, with all bumps and lumps removed, are a tripping hazard for crawlers who are just starting to stand. Check them or move them until kiddo is older.
Don’t wait until it’s too late
Okay, it’s never really too late to baby proof your home BUT it’s probably best not to wait until their motoring around the house at full speed. If you have a postpartum doula, ask them about their experiences and things that parents forget about checking.
Be a baby… For a few minutes
Get down on your hands and knees and see the world from baby’s perspective. Suddenly, you’ll notice things you didn’t before: the open socket behind the bench, the sharp corner on the coffee table, the lamp cords well within tiny hand grabbing distance. All things that you can take care of if you know they’re there.
Don’t forget the gates
Baby gates at the top AND the bottom of the stairs are essential. Sometimes people only think of the top, worried that baby will go tumbling down but a baby that is climbing the stairs can easily slip and fall halfway up, so don’t forget the bottom steps too!
Close the doors
Get used to closing the doors of rooms that can present multiple hazards, like bathrooms, to ensure that baby can’t get in when you’re not looking.
A short list of things to double check
•All electrical outlets near ground level.
•Televisions – make sure they are secured and cannot be pulled down.
•Furniture – make sure they are secured to the wall and cannot be pulled over or toppled by standing in a drawer, for example.
•Chests – secure lids so they cannot be lifted and snapped down on tiny fingers.
•Drawers – see if they can be pulled out and dropped; secure with a latch if they contain small / sharp or otherwise dangerous objects.
•Cabinets – move all cleansers and chemicals out of reach and use latches on cabinets that a child can reach to open the door of.
•Make sure all of your small appliances like remotes and flashlights, which use batteries, are secured. A battery can do a lot of harm, if swallowed.
◦This is also true for loose change and magnets – keep them off the fridge or high up.
•Check hardwood floors for any nails sticking up, uneven areas, or splintering areas which could be really hard on tiny knees.
The stage where they are crawling and learning to stand, seemingly bumping into everything and falling over, is short lived so while you do need to remain vigilant, make sure that you have some fun too. And don’t forget that your newborn care specialist or postpartum doula is a font of experience and information about all of these things! Ask them!