My almost 6-month old is crawling already. Yeah, I know… I didn’t get much of a chance to get ready for that one.
Now that he’s suddenly very mobile, I’ve had to remember what it’s like to have a baby crawling around the house. My older kids are somewhat reckless but at least I can tell them not to do something because it is dangerous and I know that they will have at least understood me, if not listen to me. The baby, unfortunately, will neither understand nor heed my words.
So baby proofing…
I didn’t realize how many cords we had at baby level (although, really, aren’t they all?) until Spike started crawling all over. Just the other day he almost got himself caught up in the iPad charger. Eek! So now I’ve looked for all the cords that might cause a problem and have moved them, hidden them, or anchored them so the baby can’t get tangled in one.
If you have older kids, this is the time that you start to realize how many toys they have that are either teeny-tiny (I’m looking at you Legos) or have teeny-tiny parts. While I can’t take all of the older kids’ toys away, there are some that have either gotten news rules or now come with a lot of warnings for the older boys. Legos now can only be used on the table. “Is this a choking hazard?” has become my almost-3 year old’s favorite question. Because I want them to help me keep the floor free of dangerous toys. We all keep an eye out now.
Some people use outlet covers, and they’re a good option. I tend towards the less-is-more approach with baby proofing, so I usually just move furniture to cover the outlets up. While Spike is very mobile, he can’t yet move a couch on his own so I’m happy to use my couches and other furniture as make-do covers.
Speaking of heavy furniture, mobile babies = time to anchor furniture. Bookcases, dressers, media consoles… anything the baby might pull himself up on (or, in the not too distant future, try to climb on) should be anchored to the wall. Luckily, this step is already done in my house because of my older boys. But it’s a good thing, because my kids have tried to climb on every piece of furniture we own and I’m glad that it’s all securely anchored to studs in the wall.
If you have pets, they probably have bowls of food and water out. On the floor. Right where your newly mobile baby will find them enticing and available for exploration. Believe me when I say that your baby will eat dog food if you don’t move it out of the way. Water bowls are also a drowning hazard. Please find a way to make them inaccessible to your child!
We live in a one-story ranch right now but with my other kids we have had stairs along with a crawling baby. A gate at the top of the stairs is great but keep in mind that if you spend most of your time on your ground floor, you may need a gate at the bottom of your staircase. Babies can sometimes pull themselves up the stairs and not know how to get down… except to tumble. Be mindful of where you spend your time and how to use gates on your stairs.
There are other things that can be done to baby-proof, like toilet locks, appliance locks, cabinet locks, exterior door locks, moving chemicals up high, and sometimes removing things entirely. This list is just what I have noticed as I try to make the house a little safer for my youngest.