When you first bring home your beautiful, sweet little baby, you might be thinking more about whether you installed the car seat properly than if your immobile infant will be able to tip over the bookcase.
But those little ones grow very quickly, and before you know it you’re constantly chasing a short person that seems bent on self-injury and property destruction!
Here are some things that would be a good idea to tackle before your baby becomes a tiny tornado of terror.
1. Cupboard Latches
This is usually the thing I think of first, partly because after I install these safety locks it takes me about 6 months to remember they’re on the doors, and I keep trying to open them anyway.
Put them on any low cupboards that contain sharp objects, heavy things like cookware, or hazardous chemicals.
2. Pinch Guards For Doors
You can buy the commercially made versions of these, and to be fair they’re the best for any door you need to be able to close completely.
But if you have a hallway or nursery door that often stands open, you can cut a wedge of pool noodle to go over the edge of the door (either at the hinge side or the knob side).
3. Toilet Locks
Sometimes little kids just get really interested in the toilet!
That can be very dangerous, however, because if a toddler leans too far over they can end up head-first in the toilet and drown.
A toilet seat lock will keep them safe, but look at a few models to make sure they’re something you can unfasten in a hurry, should you need to.
4. Electrical Cords Protector
A hazard in so many ways – electrocution, strangulation, not to mention being able to pull the plugged-in item over and have it come crashing down.
Bundle up all cords with a protector and keep them tucked out of reach.
5. Blind Cords
A strangulation hazard. Wrap them up and keep them well out of your child’s reach, even if they were to stand on furniture.
6. Furniture Anchors
IKEA has brought this into the news recently, highlighting several tragic stories in which a child pulled a bookcase, dresser, or TV stand onto themselves and died.
There are special safety straps you can buy that will allow you to tether the top of your furniture to the wall – buy lots of them and use them everywhere.
Yes, even on that one piece that you’re sure is far too heavy for a toddler to tip over. Give yourself that peace of mind.
7. Non-Slip Mats Or Decals In The Bathroom
You can use whichever you prefer. The non slip mats are easier to clean and remove, but the stick-on kind are more secure – they’re just really hard to remove eventually.
Both will help keep you and your baby from slipping and falling in the tub, though, so go with your preference.
8. Lower The Temp On The Water Heater
Prevent any accidental burns by lowering the temperature on your water heater to below 120 degrees Farenheit.
(This is a good practice if you have any elderly relatives living with you as well.)
9. Get A Tub Spout Cover
You know, the rubbery ones that look like a whale? It’ll guard your tot’s head against head clonks when they get too excitable in the bathtub.
10. Electrical Plug Covers
Most people think of the little plastic ones that fit into the plugs, but those are pretty nasty choking hazards if your baby figures out how to pull them out.
There are some very nice switchplate covers that have sliding covers for the outlets – invest in those, especially for the frequently used outlets.
11. Up-To-Date Crib
A few years back, crib standards were updated – slats were made thicker and heavier, bases were made stronger, but the biggest change was that drop-side cribs were eliminated.
Drop side cribs can drop without warning, causing an entrapment hazard.
If you bought a new crib, or bought a used crib that was made since the standards were updated, you should be fine as long as all the hardware is present and the crib is solid.
12. No Pillows Or Other Soft Bedding In The Crib
Not even those adorable quilted bumper pads.
Come to think of it, all those adorable baby bedding kits are pretty much useless, since they tend to come with puffy bumper pads, comforters, and other plush items.
Just stick with a well-fitting crib sheet and cozy pajamas – everything else is a smothering hazard at this young age.
13. Install Oven Knob Covers (Or Remove The Knobs)
If your knobs are at the back of the stove, this is something you don’t need to worry about as much.
But if you have stove and oven knobs toward the front, you either need to install guards on them, or (the cheap fix) just pop them off and put them back on when you’re cooking.
14. Coffee Table Bumpers
I hate coffee tables – I swear they’re out for blood. At least one child every generation has needed stitches from falling headfirst into coffee tables in my family.
I eliminated ours in favor of padded ottomans, but if you would like to keep yours out (or you have similar low furniture, like an entertainment center), pad the edges and corners.
15. Get Houseplants Up And Out Of Reach
Like hanging near the ceiling out of reach.
Your toddler will LOVE digging in the potting soil, ripping leaves off and eating them, and stuffing dirt in their mouths. Get ‘em up and away!
16. Put Pet Dishes Where Baby Can’t Get At Them
Same deal as with the potted plants, only potted plants don’t usually get territorial about their plant food.
Keep your baby from being able to splash in the water dish or eating the pet kibble, and always keep them away from pets while they’re eating.
17. Gate Your Stairs
No brainer, right?
But don’t assume that a tension-mounted gate at the top of the steps will keep your baby safe – they can be knocked out of place too easily.
Tension mounted gates are fine in between rooms, but at the top of the stairs you need a gate with screw-in mounts.
Get a good one and install it right.
18. Put Up Safety Gate For Fireplaces/Wood Stoves
If you have a fireplace or wood stove, the risk of burns is too great to leave unguarded.
Get a fence guard and set it up all the way around the hearth, and pad any hearth corners to make sure they don’t get hurt on the stone or brick.
19. Install Fire Extinguishers
You mean you didn’t have any already?
Get some, put them throughout the house in the most likely spots.
The kitchen, near the fireplace, in the laundry and utility rooms, and make sure there’s at least one near the bedrooms.
Check with the local fire department to see if they have trade-in events or recharging services for extinguishers that have gone “flat” from age.
20. Remove Choking Hazards
Ah, the ongoing battle.
The rule of thumb is if it can fit through a toilet paper tube, it’s a toddler choking hazard.
I’m not saying that it’ll be easy, but soon you’ll develop a sixth sense for choking hazards around your toddler, especially if you have a hand-to-mouth kind of kid.
I hope these tips help you get your home comfortable and safe for your little one!