Whether you’re expecting a new addition to your family for the first time or your little ones are simply about to gain a new brother or sister, brushing up on your baby proofing skills before each newborn arrives is crucial. Especially for new parents, bringing a baby home for the first time means your way of living will change drastically, and that includes the way your home is designed and organized. Things you’ve never given a second thought to before (like how accessible your cabinets are) may now pose a hazard to a young child crawling around.
As your child grows, they will become curious about the world around them. From the kitchen to the living room to the bathroom and every other space in between, we guarantee your little one will take any opportunity to explore and investigate everything they can get their hands on. Minimize the risk of this natural curiosity by ensuring your home is fully baby proofed and kid friendly.
Here are our top five most prioritized tips on how to baby proof:
- Simplify their sleeping arrangement
- Install baby safety gates
- Secure large pieces of furniture
- Keep cabinets locked
- Store away choking hazards
*Disclaimer: There are several tasks that should be considered and completed when baby proofing your home. For a more extensive list, we recommend consulting a baby proofing expert and doing additional research.
Simplify Their Sleeping Arrangement
When decorating your little one’s nursery, it’s natural to be drawn to the plethora of adorable stuffed animals, blankets, and other knick knacks on the market for newborns. However, it’s important to remember to keep these items out of the crib. Experts recommend that babies sleep on their backs in an empty crib by themselves. The mattress should only be adorned with a fitted sheet and free of any additional pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, or crib bumpers. This limits the risk of hazards such as choking and suffocation which results in a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
On a similar note, your baby should also not sleep in your bed with you. It is common for adult beds to be full of the hazardous materials mentioned above, and sleeping with your baby defeats the purpose of recommending that your newborn sleep in a bare crib alone. Instead, if you want to ensure you’re close enough to your little one at night, place a bassinet or crib in your bedroom, but do not bring your baby into bed with you.
Install Baby Safety Gates
As previously mentioned, your little one is only going to grow more and more curious as they learn to crawl — and eventually walk — around the house. If you live in a multilevel home, it’s important to make sure baby safety gates are installed anywhere there is an exposed staircase. Installing safety gates is one of the most common baby proofing tactics, but it also yields the most efficient results. As much as parents may try, it’s humanly impossible to have eyes on your little one every single second of every day. Baby safety gates prevent your baby from accidentally falling down the stairs in one of the split seconds that your back may be turned.
Safety gates can also be used to section out parts of the house that are too hard to completely baby proof. Areas like the garage, a home office, or even a formal living room with fragile decor often have items that cannot be fully removed during the baby proofing process. So, installing a baby gate within the doorway of these rooms allows you peace of mind knowing that your little one is unable to access potentially hazardous items.
Secure Large Pieces of Furniture
In rooms that your baby will have access to once they start crawling around, be sure to take inventory of the large pieces of furniture that pose a risk of falling over. Things like large standing bookshelves and entertainment consoles tend to be incredibly heavy with a base that isn’t necessarily sturdy enough to support it. Your large bookshelf may have been sturdy enough up to this point, but as your little one is exploring and learning how to stand, they’re going to naturally reach for anything nearby to steady themselves. Make sure your large furniture is secure and screwed into the walls so that if they reach for a shelf on your entertainment console or bookshelf, it’s not going to move.
Keep Cabinets Locked
Similarly to the use of baby safety gates, we recommend investing in baby proofing locks for your cabinets that are close to the floor or low enough for a walking toddler to reach. Keeping your little ones away from potentially hazardous items that are often stored in cabinets like cleaning supplies, glassware, and other miscellaneous materials is crucial when baby proofing your home.
Keeping your cabinets locked will also prevent your baby from leveraging an open cabinet door when trying to pull themselves into a standing position as they begin their journey of learning how to walk. In their minds, a cabinet door may seem like a steady way to stabilize themselves, but we know that there’s actually a big risk of the door swinging out from underneath them and causing them to fall. Keeping easily accessible cabinet doors locked is a great way to prevent this from happening.
Store Away Choking Hazards
Another very important thing to consider when baby proofing your home is the amount of items lying around that may cause a choking hazard. Small items like batteries, jewelry, and toys like cars and puzzle pieces (if you have older children playing in the house) pose an immense choking risk to a baby who doesn’t know any better. So, take inventory on what these small items may be and make sure they are stored high and away from where little hands can get to them.
A Tip For Parents — Invest in a Machine Washable Rug
Once you’ve baby proofed your house to ensure the safety of your little one, we recommend investing in something that will make your life as a parent easier. In our (slightly biased) opinion, the best way to do so is to swap your current rugs for machine washable rug designs from Tumble’s collection. With a washable area rug, parents are able to take concerns like spills and stains off their plates and focus on other, more important, tasks like baby proofing and bonding with their newborn.
The unique spillproof and machine washable rug structure of a Tumble makes it the perfect kid friendly rug for a nursery or playroom. With one of Tumble’s elevated washable area rug designs, parents don’t have to worry about extensive cleanup. Plus, the foam rug pad underneath each Tumble will make this particular addition to the home extra cushiony under little knees and feet as your little one begins to explore the world!
Not sure which rug size is best for your nursery? We’ve got you covered here.