Baby-Proofing...Again, but in a Totally Different Way

Toddlers’ curious and helpful natures are one of the things we love most about them but are also what makes them a hazard to themselves and their siblings! So here are some baby-proofing tips to ensure their environment is as safe as possible to avoid “accidents” of all varieties.

Written by Moms on Call Consultant Sydney Smith, BSN, RN

I went a little crazy about baby-proofing for my first baby. I had everything childproofed before he even arrived. Of course, it would be months before any of the items I had to have in and installed would be used, but that’s nesting for you! My first was and is still our calm rule-follower. Baby proofing took on a whole new meaning when my second arrived. Here are some tips from the “expert” who continuously scans the floor for everything from race cars to raisins.

Let’s start with the baby-proofing musts.

(These are the things you most likely took care of as a neurotic first-time parent, but triple-check they’re in place!)

  • Outlet protectors (We like these and these.)
  • Anchor furniture (bookshelves, dressers, etc.). We see a bookshelf; they see a ladder!
  • Safety locks on windows, doors, and cabinets
  • Electrical cords are out of reach
  • Cover furniture corners that are sharp
  • Gates at the tops and bottoms of stairways
  • Keep hand sanitizers out of reach. These are highly poisonous (even in small amounts).
  • Always have the number for Poison Control handy. It should be programmed into your phone, family members’ phones, and anyone else caring for your baby. I gave them a ring when my toddler ate the “blueberries” from the monkey grass plant.
  • It’s helpful for sitters, even grandparents who know your child well, to have a list of allergies, medications your child takes, and a number to reach the pediatrician in case of an emergency.

Get down on all fours and look at each room from the baby’s perspective.

This seems silly, but it’s a great way to see the world from your baby’s eyes for baby-proofing purposes! Keep a toilet paper roll handy when you do this to use as a guide. If it can fit through the toilet paper roll, it is a choking hazard for your baby.

While you’re down there, ask yourself:

  • What could the baby get into? Or pull down?
    • Plants (Put them on an elevated, secure surface.)
  • What will the baby run into?
    • Lookout for corners (fireplaces, tables, etc.)
  • What could the baby find on the floor and put in their mouth (or anywhere they shouldn’t)?
    • Small toys and toys with small parts (think older sibling toys here)
    • Wires (Make sure electrical outlets are covered.)
    • Animal food/litter (Raise or place in a closed room.)

Every baby is different. My first was an explorer, but he was very content to play with his age-appropriate toys or sit and stare lovingly at his mommy all day. We didn’t have any big scares with him. So, of course, I figured I had everything figured out the second time around. SO WRONG. Our youngest is BUSY. He was very early to crawl and walk (insert exhausted mama here). He is always on the move and has made a point to find his way into every cabinet, drawer, and toilet (eww!) in our home!

  • If you have older ones, ensure all of their small toys are out of the baby’s reach.
  • A basket for the older child toys and one for baby toys is very helpful.
  • A bath seat for safely bathing them together (more on bathing two here.)

Baby-proofing 101. Deputize your Toddler! They’re smarter than you think!

I am very direct with my toddler about things that can hurt baby brother and that he can’t eat the same stuff as big boys. We have empowered our toddler to ask about things his little brother may be putting into his mouth. For example, I will hear him say, “no, no, Baby Ford. That’s dangerous,” when he tries to gnaw on a small toy car. This sometimes comes off as a bit bossy (he loves the opportunity to be “in charge”), but it does help us to catch the small things we may miss with our backs turned for that one second. Always praise older siblings for helping to keep littles safe.

When we started introducing less mushy solids, near the end of his first year, we had to discuss sharing food. I never thought I would be anything but happy to see a toddler share, but we can’t share our yogurt-covered raisins, pretzels, etc. But, again, he knows to ask if he can share it with his brother.

And lastly… Baby-proofing travel tips!

  • Travel with painter's tape. You can tape over outlets; tape cabinets closed, and more without damaging your host’s home.
  • Do you have a pool at your house? Of course, this is a whole other blog post, but you can buy these peel-and-stick alarms that alert you when a door is opened.
  • Bring a portable gate for the stairs or to block off a safe area for the baby.

Moms on Call provides simple, sensible parenting resources to sleep, feed, laugh, and love birth through toddlerhood.

View all of the Moms on Call’s safety product recommendations on our Products We Love and Toddler Toys & Safety pages. Our Online Video Courses and books are also great resources with safety tips throughout!

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