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Is Your Home Safe for a Crawling Baby?

Bringing home baby is so exciting. You already have the nursery just right, and you are probably still reeling from the investment it took to get the stroller, crib, bassinet, toys, breast pump, etc.  All of the newness becomes more familiar over time, and before long, you start to feel like you actually have a handle on this whole motherhood thing.

Then one day, baby learns to roll over. And rolling over turns to sitting up, then crawling, and walking is not far behind. I remember what a shock it was when my son got totally mobile. Now, if I put him on his play mat and went into the nursery to get a diaper, he could be on the other side of the room when I got back! This brought to light every scary and dangerous place in my home – all of which seemed perfectly benign before – where a baby could really hurt himself. I decided to call in an expert for help. Enter the Baby Proofer.

With no family nearby and my baby on the move, I felt an urgent need to get things in order. Honestly, I never realized how many doors, drawers and cabinets I had until I needed to secure them all. After a consultation and a return visit to install the safety items, it was like a mini Fort Knox in my home. I did learn a few things along the way, like which things are very important and which we could have skipped. I wanted to share some of that information here so that you can learn from my mistakes. 

-Safety latches on cabinets and drawers (Definitely do) This keeps baby from getting into the wrong places and from slamming their fingers.
-Secondary locks on doors, placed out of baby/toddler’s reach and/or guards on the door knob so the child can’t open it without help (Definitely do)
-Furniture “no-tip” kits (Maybe do) These are plastic straps that attach your furniture to a wall or the floor so baby can’t tip them over on themselves. We didn’t need them.
- Cushions to cover sharp edges of tables. (Definitely do.) Babies fall. The first time baby splits a lip on the corner of the coffee table or the fireplace hearth, you will be running out to get these. They are easily removable later.
-Baby gates (Do in certain places) I did find it helpful to have certain areas off limits, like the bottom of the stair case and the two steps that go down into my kitchen. These are falling hazards, for sure. We used the gates sparingly, and they worked fine, though they did leave marks on the walls when removed.
-Electrical outlet covers (Definitely do) My son was never attracted to the outlets, but a lot of babies are. These are clear, inexpensive and are not very noticeable.
- Locks to keep toilets, dishwasher and oven doors closed (Maybe do) The first day after install, I broke both the dishwasher and the oven straps that were supposed to keep the doors closed. I forgot they were latched, went to open the dishwasher, and the strap just snapped. Same with the oven.  If your baby is curious about the oven, definitely lock it. Mine wasn’t, which I found out AFTER I paid to install the strap and then broke it! The toilet lock was handy, though, to keep little hands from exploring inside. :)

Also, don’t forget to put blind adjustment cords high out of baby’s reach and put cleaning fluids and medicines in high cabinets. Here are a few links to help you find great products, ideas and installers for your baby proofing adventure. Hiring a baby proofing pro is also a great baby shower gift!

Kid Safe – shop for baby proofing items
http://www.kidsafeinc.com/category/child_safety_locks/?gclid=CKrWioP-g6wCFcmm7QodFQ7PNA

Baby Proofing Shop – shop for baby proofing items
http://www.babyproofingshop.com/baby-safety-products/category/all-0.html?gclid=CJubo8f-g6wCFYTt7QodJ1f8LA

Baby Proofing Directory – a listing of professionals across the country
http://www.babyproofingdirectory.com/

Parent Magazine – tips on how to baby proof your home 
http://www.parents.com/baby/safety/babyproofing/babyproofing-home-top-to-bottom/

Baby Proofing – Blessing or Curse?

We have the best of intentions when it comes to baby proofing, don’t we?

When my husband and I were decorating our home WAY before we were thinking of getting pregnant, we bought a beautiful cream-colored sofa. Not the best choice for new parents, but we weren’t that forward thinking back then.  Not only was it cream, but it was some special material that couldn’t be scotch-guarded, so we had to promise never to stain it.  Three years later, along came baby, and we were breaking out the Oxi-Clean daily with fingers crossed.

When Max began crawling, we called a local baby proofing company. For a flat rate, they locked up our cabinets, toilets, ovens, dish washer, electrical outlets – you name it, and now it not takes two or three steps to use all of these items!  We put padding on every sharp corner, moved breakables to higher shelves, and switched to all natural cleaning supplies (which were in the newly locked cabinets). It’s amazing just how many changes there are to make when a little one becomes mobile.

Of course, now that Max will be four in a couple of weeks, he knows how to open all of the child-proof locks. That’s just funny to me. The problem now is that in order to take off all those gadgets, we will have to repair all of our cabinets in some way (fill in the holes, sand, stain, etc.), so we are in flux between how annoying it is to need both hands to open a drawer and spending the time and effort to reverse the process. The saga continues in the Marko household…

In surfing for tips on this topic, I did find several sites, which I will pass on here. I hope you have a smooth transition to babyproofing. If nothing else, it will be an enlightening experience!

http://www.savvydaddy.com/content/site/survival-guide/00240/how-baby-proof-your-house

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