When you bring a new baby into your home, one of the common worries is “baby-proofing”. However, as a newborn they really don’t do much but eat and sleep and then as they get older you can still control where you put them and expect them to stay. You are so proud when they learn to roll over on their own, start pivoting and then army crawling around the floor- and then finally they learn to crawl around 8-12 months. As proud as you are, all of sudden everything changes! They can get into EVERYTHING! This is when you really need to start baby-proof. I would also dare say it’s not always a one-time thing. Baby-proofing is more like something you do every time you put your little one down in a room. Some things can be done once as a precaution but often it becomes a habit to scan the room for any potential hazards in the room.
Use this list of 10 common hazards to safeguard against when you baby turns 8 months or starts to becomes more mobile.
- Outlets – There is something fascinating to a baby about the little holes in the wall that we plug things into. This is generally an easy fix to get some outlet plugs or covers. However, make sure when you take out the plug cover to actually use it that the small cover is placed out of reach because it could create a choking hazard if left conveniently on the floor by the plug.
- Cords- I’m not sure what is so intriguing about cords- maybe it’s the rubbing casing that makes a great teether for babies around this age getting their first teeth. Whatever the reason, babies seem drawn to any kind of cords left lying around. These can be dangerous for many reasons- mainly being shocked if they put it in their mouth while plugged in. You also want to beware of any long rope or cord that they could get wrapped up in while moving around that could get them stuck or choke them. This could also mean blind cords to pull up the window shades that can hang down into the child’s reach.
- Small objects- The most common thing to scan for in a room before leaving your 9 month old there would be small objects. It seems like no matter how many times you vacuum, something small will be tracked in from the kitchen or outside. Common culprits are small coins, little toys like Lego pieces from older siblings, leaves tracked inside on shoes or food crumbs – dropped by the baby themselves!
- Pet food or liter boxes– These items are often on the ground where children can easilyreach them. A water bowl quickly becomes a wet mess and the little nuggets of pet food will quickly go to their mouth. Liter boxes should also be put behind a door or reach of the child for similar reasons.
- Stairs can be extremely scary with a baby at this age. They do not understand depth or have any kind of fear for heights, so just like you wouldn’t leave them on a couch alone or kitchen counter, you want to make sure they can’t fall down the stairs. Don’t underestimate how quickly they crawl! In a matter of days, they can go from a slow army crawl to a crawling sprint! They can get to stairs quickly so don’t risk them getting there before you. The most common solution to stairs is a baby gate in your own home. If you are visiting family or friends with stairs you could possibly bring your own or use household items to block the staircase.
- Secure furniture- This is the age that babies start pulling themselves up to a standing position by pulling up on anything at the right height. The couch is perfect for this but unfortunately they will use anything. Make sure anything that is about their height is something stable that can hold their weight without toppling over on top of them. Bolt dressers or shelves to the wall behind them and be careful around smaller objects that may not be heavy enough to stabilize them like a wobbly piano bench or night stand. Along with this, be careful with tablecloths or similar decorations that the baby could pull on only to have everything on the table fall down on top of them. Also make sure their crib bar is set at a safe height now that they can pull themselves up and any sharp edges or corners are padded.
- Baby locks- use baby locks on any drawers or cabinets within babies reach. Be extra carefulto lock anything dangerous like cleaning supplies or sharp kitchen gadgets. Some items may be safe to leave accessible like Tupperware but be prepared to do a lot more dishes if they are strewn across your kitchen floor and in and out of baby’s mouth.
- Shut bathroom doors. Don’t underestimate the power of shutting doors! Bathrooms can be really hard to baby proof with the little trash can and toilet and just a lot of things we don’t want little fingers touching. With rooms like this or a sewing room or office- just keep the doors shut.
- Baby buckles– this may seem obvious but there are many valuable baby items that come with safety buckles that aren’t always needed until this age. For example, strollers and high chairs. I’m not saying the buckles are not important before this age but if we are being honest, many parents do not use the buckles on younger babies that can’t move much on their own. At this age they become a must! The buckling straps on your diaper changing table may have seemed silly before but now can be a lifesaver while you try the impossible maneuver of changing a diaper on a restless baby with only two hands.
- Cleaning will become a much more frequent necessity. Babies at this age are putting everything in their mouth so while small objects are choking hazards, germs are an even smaller object that can cause sickness. Consider having your carpets cleaned before your child reaches this more mobile age. Try to remove shoes at the door that could track in dangers on their soles. Disinfect regularly- especially phones that always seem to be a baby’s favorite toy. Plan to take your general cleaning routine up a notch.
Babyproofing your entire house may seem overwhelming at first but will quickly become as natural as being a parent. Start with just one room that you are in a lot and use jumpers and exersaucers in other rooms that aren’t quite ready for them yet. Use this checklist to be prepared for immediate dangers and then take comfort in the fact that you have created a safe and welcoming environment for you and your little one to create some great memories during this fun stage of their life.