Take Precautions Before You Baby Crawls
Every dad needs support, encouragement, information, confidence and tools to help him be as involved as he possibly can with his new family. Our fatherhood expert, Armin Brott, author of Father for Life
, has advice for your growing family!
Armin Brott Your question:
What should we do to childproof our house?
Armin Brott answers:
Once your baby realizes that he's able to move around by himself, his
mission in life will be to locate -- and race you to -- the most dangerous,
life-threatening things in your home. So if you haven't already begun the
never-ending process of child-proofing your house, better start now.
The first thing to do is get down on your hands and knees and check
things out from your baby's perspective.
Taking care of those pesky wires and covering up your outlets is only
the beginning, so start with the basics:
Anywhere and everywhere: Move anything valuable out of the baby's reach.
Bolt to the wall bookshelves and other free-standing cabinets (this goes
double if you live in earthquake country); pulling things down on top of
themselves is a favorite baby move.
Don't hang heavy things on the stroller -- it can tip over.
Get special guards for your radiators and move your space heaters and
electric fans off the floor.
Install a safety gate at the bottom and top of every stairway.
Adjust your water heater temperature to 120 degrees F. This will reduce the
likelihood that your baby will scald himself.
Get a fire extinguisher and put smoke alarms in every bedroom.
In the kitchen: Install safety locks on all but one of your low cabinets and drawers. Most
of these locks allow the door to be opened slightly -- just enough to
accommodate a baby's fingers -- so make sure the kind you get also keep the
door from closing completely as well.
Stock the one unlocked cabinet with unbreakable pots and pans and
encourage your baby to jump right in.
Keep baby's high chairs away from the walls. His strong little legs can
push off and knock the chair over.
Watch out for irons and ironing boards. The cords are a hazard and the
boards themselves are easy to knock over.
Get an oven lock and covers for your oven and stove knobs.
Use the back burners on the stove whenever possible and keep the handles
turned toward the back of the stove.
Never hold your baby while you're cooking. Teaching him what steam is or
how water boils may seem like a good idea, but bubbling spaghetti sauce or
hot oil hurts when it splashes.
Put mouse -- and insect traps in places where your baby can't get to them.
Use plastic dishes and serving bowls whenever you can -- glass breaks and,
at least in my house, the shards seem to show up for weeks, no matter how
well I sweep.
Post the phone numbers of the nearest poison control agency and your
pediatrician near your phone.
In the living room Put decals -- at baby height -- on any sliding glass doors.
Get your plants off the floor: over 700 species can cause illness or death
if eaten, including such common ones as lily of the valley, iris, and
Pad the corners of low tables, chairs, fireplace hearths.
Make sure your fireplace screen and tools can't be pulled over.
Keep furniture away from windows. Babies will climb up whatever they can
and may fall through the glass.
In the bedroom/nurseryNo homemade or antique cribs. They probably don't conform to today's
Remove from the crib all mobiles and hanging toys. By five months, most kids
can push themselves up on their hands and knees and can get tangled up (and
even choke on) strings.
Keep the crib at least two feet away from blinds, drapes, hanging cords,
or wall decorations with ribbons
Check toys for missing parts.
Toy chest lids should stay up when opened (so they doesn't slam down on
Don't leave dresser drawers open. From the baby's perspective, they look
an awful lot like stairs.
Keep crib items to a minimum: a sheet, a blanket, bumpers, and a few soft
toys. Babies don't need pillows at this age and large toys or stuffed
animals can be climbed on and used to escape the crib.
Don't leave your baby unattended on the changing table even for a second.
In the bathroomIf possible, use a gate to keep access restricted to the adults in the
Install a toilet guard.
Keep bath and shower doors closed
Never leave water standing in the bath, a sink, or even a bucket. Drowning
is the third most common cause of accidental deaths of young children, and
babies can drown in practically no water at all.
Keep medication and cosmetics high up.
Make sure there's nothing your baby can climb up on to raid the medicine
Keep shavers and hair dryers unplugged and out of reach.
No electrical appliances near bathtub.
Use a bath mat or stick-on safety strips to reduce the risk of slipping in