How to Baby Proof Your Apartment
As a new parent, you know how fast your baby grows. Just when you get used to your baby’s feeding schedule and diaper changes, you realize you need to accommodate his or her ever-changing routine. As your baby grows older, take some precautions to make your apartment safe and secure for crawlers and toddlers. Here is how you can baby-proof your apartment as your growing baby explores the world around him or her.
For the first three months, you may have not given much thought about how safe your entire apartment is for babies. They don’t really move much as you carry them back and forth to their cribs, playpens, car seats and strollers. But be prepared after four months to think about the nooks and crannies that your baby will be exposed to as soon as she starts to crawl.
Step 1: Inspect from a baby’s eye-level
One of the best ways to see the potential household hazards to your baby is to crawl around your apartment floor. Dog bowls, nails, wires, dust and other small objects are some things that you may not even think about while standing upright, five or six feet above the ground. Babies have keen eyesight for small things up close. They will inspect things that you wouldn’t even notice if you were not looking for them. So, get down on all fours and remove anything from the floor that you would not want them putting in their mouths.
Step 2: Remove or cover sharp edges
Furniture with sharp corners and clumsy babies learning to stand or walk are not a good combination. You may want to exchange your square or rectangular coffee table with a round one or, better yet, just get rid of the coffee table so your baby has room to scoot about on the floor. If you absolutely cannot part with furniture, or sharp edges in your apartment are unavoidable, you can always buy safety guards to turn sharp corners into soft corners. They are not very stylish, but you may as well face it: If you have a child, your apartment is probably not going to look stylish for the next several years.
Step 3: Cover electrical outlets
Electrical outlets that are floor level should all have covers on them –unless they are being used, in which case they should be blocked from access to prevent your baby or toddler from playing with electrical plugs. Baby-safe outlet covers can be found on most online stores. One of the most popular outlet covers on the market is the sliding panel outlet cover. The cover automatically slides over the outlet when the plug is pulled out, protecting your baby from an exposed outlet.
Step 4: Rearrange house plants
What kid doesn’t love to play in the dirt? A potted plant is the perfect playground for babies and toddlers, so say goodbye to any house plants that are on the floor or within reach to a small gardener prodigy. If the weather is warm enough, put them outside or find another location for them, such as hanging them from the ceiling.
Step 5: Install baby locks for cabinets
Kitchens are the most dangerous place in the house –especially for babies. No baby should be roaming around on the kitchen floor unattended, but even if you are keeping a close watch on your child, it is wise to secure your bottom kitchen cabinets with baby-proof locks. Accidents happen so fast, and the last thing you want is for your child to get into cleaning chemicals under the sink or cut himself on a sharp appliance.
Step 6: Keep bathroom doors closed
Does your dog drink out of the toilet bowl? What about your baby? Bathrooms are the second-most dangerous place (after kitchens) for a baby or toddler to explore. Medicine cabinets, showers, tubs, faucets and chemicals are not baby-friendly. The best way to keep your baby safe from the bathroom is to get in the habit of closing the bathroom door – always. Aside from that, adding locking doorknobs and cabinet locks can help you gain peace of mind.
Step 7: Invest in a baby gate (or 2)
In areas that do not have a door, the best investment you can make in your home is a baby gate. The safest baby gates are the plastic ones with solid panels. It’s best to avoid the kind with fancy bars, as babies can get their hands stuck or even heads stuck in between the rails. Accordion-style baby gates are not even made anymore, but if you happen to come across one, don’t even think about using it. They are very dangerous and can pinch or even strangle your baby.
Step 8: Remove or hide anything fragile
Glass, fine china, crystal, ceramics and delicate artwork are some of the household materials in your apartment that may need to be placed out of baby's reach, or removed from the apartment altogether. You might need to say goodbye to tables with glass surfaces or decorative vases within a few feet of the floor. And perhaps a separate storage unit is worth the investment.
Step 9: Secure your TV
Modern TVs are thinner, sleeker and lighter than ever before. They are also easier for babies to tip over or pull on top of themselves. Make sure your TV is either mounted securely to the wall, or kept at a level just out of reach.
By putting yourself in the mind of a curious baby, you can get ahead of the game and create a baby-safe apartment before your child has a chance to get hurt or injured.