Thursday, February 19, 2009

Baby Proofing

I had a request for baby proofing and thought it was a really good idea. I don't consider myself an expert, and I've improvised many times to try to baby proof. So here are a few ideas and tips to get you started. In later posts, I will review different products that we are actually using to baby proof and why we do or do not like them.

My very first tip would be to get on the floor. I'm sure you will feel awesome doing this right? Yes you may feel dumb, but crawl around and see things that you could "get in to." Babies have a totally different perspective. They don't see the world from a 5 foot + perspective. By getting down on the floor you will see things that you might not have noticed before. And believe me, your little one will find every cheerio, every dust bunny and more....and then will proceed to eat them all :)

I notice that my home is most baby proofed when I keep it clean. It seems like simple common sense, but it really works. If there is a lot of clutter, you better bet your baby/toddler will get into anything within their reach. By keeping your home clean, you also avoid choking hazards. Babies use their mouths to experience the world and will put anything in their mouth - it's just second nature. In fact, I pulled a crayon out of Rowan's mouth today and found a penny in there the other day. I know well where the crayon came from, it's called his 3 year old brother, but I have no idea where the penny came from. It's scary to think how easily he could have choked on that penny.

Another tip for baby proofing is to give your baby their own designated cupboards.I have a cupboard in the kitchen that just has pots and pans in it. It is easily accessible to Rowan and he knows he can get into it. (It used to be the drawer under the oven when we lived in our apartment - alas the picture.)  He loves having the independence and not being told no, and also getting to play with the pots and pans. This is something I wish I would have done when Chandler was a baby. He got into every cupboard and was always making huge messes. I didn't restrict him or give him his own cupboards, and although it was fun for him, there was always a mess for me to clean up.

Something else that should be common sense is to make sure all cleaners, sharp objects, medicines, etc are kept up high or locked up.

Make sure your bookshelves and dressers are secure. Chandler has a pretty light dresser in his room and Rowan pulled it over on himself one time when he started pulling up. We fixed the problem by making sure there was more weight in the dresser and then tried ourselves to pull it over.

This last tip seems funny but has worked for us. At around 8 months when Rowan started crawling and getting into things, I would tell him no in a firm voice. Although he didn't necessarily understand what no meant at first, he understands it perfectly now at 13 months. I was consistent in telling him no and gave him alternatives of things he could do or play with. We have a gas fireplace in our basement and I was really nervous when we moved into our home 2 months ago. We thought about getting something to go around it, but decided to see how Rowan acted with it. When he would go near it, we would say, "!" I would hold his hand close to the fireplace so he could feel how hot it was. He kept testing his limits and we kept telling him no in a nice but firm voice. This last month he hasn't gotten close to the fireplace as he knows he isn't supposed to. I thought it was young for him to understand this, but it's been a great way for us to baby proof.

I know some of these tips might not be what you were expecting, but from a mom's view, it is a few things that have worked for us. It is important to try different baby proofing methods and decide what works for you. I remember someone once telling me, "Take what advice you like, and use it. Whatever you don't like, just throw it out the window." Simple enough, right? Good luck with your baby proofing and watch for reviews on different products that will help baby proof your home!


Holly Mayer said...

Thanks tiff. I think I will give her one place to play in the kitchen.

Wii are the Nelsons said...

I think these tips are great...I have a 3 month old in a tiny apt. so I've been thinking how to start baby proofing

Cassandra said...

I love the tip on the special cupboard in the kitchen because it has worked well for us. It was an accident though, we were one short on the locks, so we didn't lock the pots/pans cupboards. It is loud sometimes, but I don't have to worry and she LOVES it. Sometimes I change what's in there (throw in a few tupperware or plastic bowls) to keep her interested.

Just the five of us said...

We too experienced the dresser falling on Becca and Kevin. At the time Kevin was only 20 months old and he was pinned between it and the floor. I am still not sure how they came out of that with out a scratch. The dresser was pretty heavy but they opened the bottom drawer and stood in it to try and reach something on top. I learned that the best way to prevent this is to buy a simple anti tip bracket at any hard ware store. They could have been seriously injured or worse.