Many parents are familiar with this scenario: You work tirelessly to babyproof your home, purchasing gates and light switch covers and all of the things. Then, your precious bundle learns to crawl and manages to find the one stray crayon and promptly proceeds to eat it.
Babyproofing can sometimes feel like climbing a mountain. One that, in most cases, your baby could climb faster than you, especially when your back is turned.
Welcome to parenting, a brutal and wonderful job that is full of more twists and turns than your local amusement park. Babyproofing seems like a really important task, especially when a busy toddler is left alone for mere moments and manages to grab a sharpie and draw on her face.
So, how are we supposed to properly protect our little ones in our homes? What are the most important things to consider when babyproofing your home?
First of all, parents must remember that babyproofing will be an ever-changing task. As your baby learns to crawl and then walk and then run, you will have to protect different parts of your home.
When a baby is very young and just learning to crawl, baby gates, electrical outlet covers, and cabinet locks will be really important. It is best to keep anything breakable, poisonous, or dangerous out of baby’s reach. Remember, some house plants can be toxic to small babies, and anything small enough to be a choking hazard can also pose a threat. Stairs can also be a threat, so ensure that you have them blocked off until baby is bigger.
Once baby is more mobile—say, a faster crawler or grabbing onto things and pulling him/herself to standing and cruising—parents should take care to check windows for cords or any other strangulation hazards. Check that wires and cables are up and out of reach or tucked away in a hidden place. Tablecloths are a bad idea at this point, as babies really like to tug on things. You will also need to fix any large pieces, like bookshelves, to the wall so that your budding climber doesn’t pull anything heavy onto him- or herself. Stairs should still be blocked off, although some parents like to keep the bottom one or two stairs available for practice. Always stay close to your baby, though, as your supervision is the best way to keep them safe.
Keeping your toddler toddling
Once your baby, now a toddler, is walking or running, their main thrill will be entering the bathroom. Whether they intend to throw a favorite toy down the toilet or pull every square of toilet paper from the roll depends on both their mood and the phase of the moon.
Toilet locks are a good friend to have at this point, or you could even just keep the bathroom door closed when not in use. Also, be mindful that your child does not have access to water when alone, as this poses a drowning risk.
One of the most important things to remember in babyproofing your home is that you can never protect your baby from everything. Some bumps and bruises are likely to occur many times throughout the course of a child’s babyhood. Your goal should be trying to protect your child from any of the more severe injuries.
Also, realize that teaching children what is and isn’t safe in the moment can be a valuable life lesson for them. Children are incredibly creative in their ways to get around your babyproofing and create messes, so facing these things with a sense of humor may be one of the more effective babyproofing hacks of all.