A baby’s first year involves rapid development. It seems as though one day they are helpless infants, and the next day they are moving around the house, eager to explore every nook and cranny. Babies have an insatiable appetite for discovery, which makes it important for parents to baby proof the home.
According to the National Safety Council, mechanical suffocation causes the most home fatalities for newborns to four years of age. This is caused when babies and toddlers ingest objects found around the home. Drowning is also a leading cause of death in young children.
In order to prevent these types of accidents from occurring, parents need to take a proactive approach to baby proofing the home. Areas where the baby will spend most of his time need immediate attention. Sleeping areas must meet safety standards, and parents should exercise caution if the baby will be sleeping in the bed with them. Crib mattresses must fit tightly so there are no gaps for the baby to fall into.
The family room or living room area also needs attention. It’s important to make sure floors and tables are consistently kept free of small objects to avoid the chance of choking. Toys with long strings or chords should also be kept away from infants. Parents should make certain that outlets have plug covers and that furniture such as bookcases, or television stands are secure.
The kitchen is also an important area to baby proof. Child safety expert Kimberlee Mitchell makes some practical suggestions for kitchen safety. Some of these tips include keeping baby in a high chair to avoid mishaps. She also suggests gates as a great way to keep children out of harm’s way. Children should always be kept away from appliances, and cabinets with hazardous materials need to be kept locked. Bathrooms are another place where gates come in handy. Children can drown in just a few inches of water so toilet seats should be secure and children should never be left alone in the bathtub. Mitchell also notes the importance of making sure the baby’s car seat is safe too. Parents should ensure the car seat is appropriate for the child’s age, height and weight.
Even though baby proofing can be a daunting task, Mitchell suggests parents baby proof in phases and start during pregnancy in order to make the process more manageable. She explains the importance of getting a jump-start on baby proofing, as parents will find the process both educational and expensive. Whether you are a do-it-yourself parent or one that enlists the help of an expert, Mitchell explains child proofing is an inevitable part of bringing home a new baby. Make certain that every room in your home is covered in order to avoid common baby accidents.