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How do I babyproof my house, and when should I start?

Picture of two babies in a playroom.
Babies are curious about the world, and like to explore everything.

As moms, we all worry about our kids getting hurt. As they get more mobile, it is important to start baby-proofing the house. But what exactly does that mean?

Babyproofing means making your house safe for your baby to move around, and can include things like moving dangerous objects out of reach, putting in outlet covers and corner protectors, and child locks on cupboards and drawers.

It is important to babyproof so that your little one doesn't get hurt on something in your home accidentally. There are many household items that we use on a daily basis that can be very dangerous for our little ones. It is especially important to consider choking hazards, as babies often put things in their mouths.

When to Babyproof

You can start to baby proof before you bring your baby home from the hospital.

According to The Bump,

It’ll be several months before baby starts scooting around on her own, but there are still baby proofing tasks you’ll need to tackle to keep your newborn safe. And you’re not just checking for things that could pose a direct risk to your little one—anything that could harm you while you have baby in your arms (think slippery floors and wobbly furniture) will need to be addressed too.

Then, when your child gets to the point where they are sitting up on their own, or when they start crawling, you will want to do a second, more intense, round of babyproofing so that they aren't getting into anything dangerous.

My youngest started walking at 9 months, and I wasn't prepared at all! I had to run out and buy baby gates with her in tow, because my partner was out of town for business. This is why it is important to start early, so that as your little one becomes more mobile you won't be running after them and taking things out of their little hands.

How to Babyproof

Baby gates should be placed at the top and bottom of your staircase, so that your newly-mobile little one doesn't try to go on the stairs alone and have a fall.

It is important to keep anything sharp, breakable, or with small pieces out of your little one's reach. You should try to baby proof everything that is about a foot higher than what your child can reach, because they are surprisingly agile, and will try to grab for things above their heads.

In addition to moving items to higher shelves and cupboards, you may also wish to secure heavy furniture to the wall, to avoid having it fall over.

If there are areas of your house that you want to keep off limits from your little ones, you can use baby gates on the entrances to those rooms to keep your little ones out. This is helpful if you have one room with breakable items, or a work room with tools.

Also, you may want to get bumpers to put on the corners of any sharp furniture or moldings so that your little one won't bump their head if they fall down.

You can buy a Baby Proofing Kit for your home, like this one from Amazon.

Baby proofing kids are also available at Walmart, Target and other local baby retailers.

What is most important to remember, is that although baby proofing is important, it is not a substitute for supervision. You will still need to pay close attention to what your little one is doing at all times.

Another alternative to baby proofing is buying a portable play yard for your little one, so that they will be in a safely enclosed area while you do things like washing dishes or folding laundry that keep us busy all the time.

The portable play yard is great because it can be used indoors or outdoors as well. This is bigger than a play pen, which may only be appropriate with a smally baby. The play yard can be used for toddlers as well.

As your child continues to grow, you will need to continue babyproofing different areas of your home. It will feel like just minutes have gone by, and all of a sudden your little one will be able to reach that highest shelf where you put all of your breakable items.

Eventually, when they are around 3-4 years old and understand not to put things in their mouths anymore you can stop with the need to baby proof as much.

Still, no matter what age kids you have, your house is going to move into a new and different 'normal' than the way it looked before you had kids.

Our youngest is five now, and it still looks like a toy store exploded all over our house! There is a clutter of toddler furniture, toys, shoes and games in almost every room of the house.

At her age, we still do have to be careful what we leave lying around, and where, because she is apt to do things like run through the living room or throw balls. It is important to keep clutter out of walkways, so that your little one doesn't slip and fall. Also, you may want to limit your breakables to either one formal room, or keep them on the highest shelves through childhood.

I hope that you find these tips helpful! If you have any other questions about babyproofing your house, let me know in the comments!

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