Names. Nursery themes and color schemes. What you’ll wear his or her Presidential inauguration.
These are all natural (and fun!) things to consider as you prepare for a new child, but none of them trumps health and safety, which is why baby proofing should be at the top of every parent’s list.
Easy ways to begin baby proofing your place
A baby proofing checklist will go a long way in helping you remember the most important issues when it comes to keeping your child safe. And as any parent will attest, anything that helps you remember things when you’re on the sleep schedule of a brand-new mom or dad is a great idea!
From baby proof cabinets to safety gates to oven locks, do the research and collect all that you’ll need to ensure your apartment is a safe-and-sound place for your child to grow and explore.
Based on your apartment’s layout and your lifestyle needs, a baby gate may not be essential. Some parents, for example, might cook with a roaming child placed safely in a playpen within eyesight – but for those of you with stairs, pet areas that need blocking or other potential hazards, a baby gate could be necessary.
Most rental communities are fine with simple hole-drilling (you’re already hanging pictures and other things in your home) but double-check your lease to be sure. Oftentimes, it’s just as easy to keep some of your home’s paint on hand and, if moving, spackle and paint any holes. Pressure-mounted gates are a good substitute, but aren’t suitable for use near stairs because they are easier to push over.
Baths, kitchens, cabinets
The best way to keep babies away from hazardous products like drain cleaner or dish liquid is to store them in high cabinets, well out of reach. If that’s not possible, cabinet locks are mandatory to ensure little ones stay safe.
Pro Tip: leave at least one cabinet accessible and fill it with fun things – such as empty Tupperware containers and pots – so that baby can hang out with mom or dad in the kitchen and jam!
Oven and fridge locks are also important for kids who are tall and mobile enough to open these appliances. Pay careful attention to dishwashers, where dangerous utensils like knives are sometimes left in easily accessible places as they await cleaning. Instead, get into the habit of handwashing these items in case a lock fails.
Windows, patios, balconies
Make sure those cords are tied up where little hands can’t reach, and if the windows don’t already have childproof locks, consider purchasing them (they can be found online in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices). If possible, keep furniture clear of these areas as well, and consider window or screen guards if you absolutely have to open a window.
First-floor apartments don’t have the same high-fall issues as those up high, but patios – often lined with landscaping – can still be hazardous. If applicable, find out what sort of plants surround yours and whether they pose any risks, then take appropriate action.
And if you have a balcony you’d like to enjoy with less worry, rail guards – made of mesh or other materials – will prevent children from slipping between bars.
Added peace of mind
Baby proofing your apartment takes some time, but it’s not rocket science.
Just remember: even in the safest surroundings, adult supervision is always mandatory!