When you’re a parent even the smallest lifestyle changes can seem daunting. You’re no longer able to think like a young student without a care in the world, and you definitely can’t make impulsive decisions. For young couples, moving to a new home is a fairly straightforward affair – you find a house that you both like, make sure to inspect for little problems, pack up your things, move and clean up before moving on to interior decorating.
Sure, there are still a lot of mistakes you’ll want to avoid when buying your first house, but things get a lot more complicated when you have a baby. After making sure that everything is in order, and you’ve bought the house, it’s time to start an extensive baby-proofing project. There will be a lot of tricks you’ll pick up along the way, but you’ll need to tackle the most glaring safety issues first. Let’s go over some of the most important areas that you have to cover.
This is the place where the baby is most vulnerable, as it is the only place where you’ll leave the little rascal unsupervised for longer periods of time. There are several basic safety issues to consider here:
- Make sure that the crib is structurally sound and up to safety standards
- Avoid placing toys, blankets and pillows in the crib until the baby is at least 7 months old
- Make sure everything is tucked in tightly, including the baby, and make sure the baby sleeps on her back
- Use open shelves and add a thick rug
- Go for age-appropriate toys and keep them in a big open box
- Install plastic locks and pinch guards where needed
- Have a good baby monitor near the crib
- Throw some pillows on the floor
The nursery should be a place of rest and fun, so it’s best to go for a minimalist approach when it comes to furniture, and keep everything soft and fluffy. Apart from a few basic precautions, it won’t take much work to get this room to the highest safety standards.
You’ll probably find the kitchen to be the most dangerous place for a baby in the entire house. There are tons of sharp or easily breakable objects, chemicals, cabinet doors that swing open and so on. Here are a few big safety improvements you can make right now:
- Install plastic cabinet and drawer locks
- Keep all your cleaning products up on the highest shelf in the cabinet
- Move all the knives and sharp objects, as well as plastic bags higher up
- Glassware should be kept out of the way, with only plastic containers, cups and plates on the lower shelves and in low cabinets
- Unplug all equipment when not in use, and keep the cables out of the way
- Use plastic knob covers and locks on the oven and stove
- Buy a baby seat that straps firmly onto a chair and secures the baby in place
As long as you plan smart and cover all the bases, you won’t need to spend much to baby-proof the kitchen, but you’ll need to set some boundaries as well. Let the child know that some things are off limits, and have additional safeties in place, just in case. There are tons of useful books on parenting, and regular reading has all kinds of added benefits, so be sure to do plenty of research – you can’t just rely on safety equipment to keep your baby out of harm’s way.
The Living Room
The biggest problem with the living room, as far as baby safety is concerned, is that there are all sorts of things to trip over and bump into. To make the living room a much safer place for your little bundle of joy, make sure to take the following precautions:
- Move the furniture around so that there is plenty of open space for the baby to crawl and run around
- Add a thick rug to help cushion falls
- Use plastic covers to smooth out the edges and corners of tables, desks and other furniture
- Make sure that there are no chairs or shelves near the windows, and avoid leaving the windows wide open
- Big flat screen TV’s need to be wall mounted or firmly secured on a quality stand, as they are easy to push over
- Keep remotes and other small objects up high, and have a dummy remote or smartphone that the baby can play with safely
- Install safety gates, particular around staircases
- Anchor bookcases to the wall, and keep heavier items and baby toys on the lower shelves, but avoid placing small decorations like snow globes and figurines high up, because they can fall on the baby
- If there is a fireplace, cover it with a screen and keep the firewood out of reach
- Install cordless blinds
With a little bit of work, you can make any living room reasonably safe, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security – always keep a watchful eye on the baby.
Since babies go to the bathroom in their pants, and multiple times a day at that, you won’t be spending too much time in the actual bathroom, but there are still a few precautions that you should take:
- Get a decent thermometer to ensure that the water is just the right temperature when preparing for a bath
- Remove shower curtains or get them out of the way
- You should keep the baby on the end of the tub furthest from the faucet
- If you only have a walk-in shower, get a plastic baby bath
- Put a plastic lock on the toilet and all the cabinets
- Store all electrical equipment out of sight, preferably locked in a cabinet
All in all, you should probably keep the bathroom off limits by simply locking the door, but you’ll need to have these additional safety measures in place as well.
These tips are definitely something that all new parents and homeowners should look into, but don’t let the fact that it takes plenty of work to raise a family discourage you, because as they say: “Nobody ever said life was easy… they just promised that it would be worth it.”