Some of the biggest lifestyle changes when having a baby are involved in home life. How and when you eat, sleep and entertain yourselves all need rethinking. While your child won’t get into too much mischief for the first few months, it’s never too early to get your living space setup for baby’s rapid ascent to mobility.
That said, it’s extraordinarily easy for one to get carried away adding protective products to every surface, deadbolting every door and generally succumbing to the sweet allure of baby preserving nerosa. Don’t! For your sake and your family’s, turning your home into a veritable padded cell is neither necessary, nor worth it. From a financial, psychological and practical standpoint, it’s just not worth it. The marginal utility from each additional safety device has almost no added benefit and will only serve to further validate a budding obsession.
We aim to give you the absolute essential baby-proofing products and tips that you’ll need for your home. Obviously, some living situations will require special considerations, but generally speaking you can get pretty far with a gate, some outlet covers and smidge of common sense.
The Main Things
Here are the main things that most houses will probably need to meet a decent level of safety for their little ones once they start scooting around a bit. It is a good idea to get out ahead of this before the baby comes, if only because of how busy you’ll be when she’s finally here. But seriously, there is no overstating how quickly the development of these kids takes place. It’s nice to just have all that stuff out of the way before the real work begins.
These horizontally sliding electrical outlet covers are pretty darn nice. While you might be tempted by the simple plugs so you don’t have to change out your covers, they are quite difficult to take out (that’s why they’re effective), and then you have the issue of not losing them while they’re out of socket. The sliding outlets are effective guards and really easy to use for grown-ups. I’ll probably just leave mine in for long term.
The covers that engulf the entire unit are also problematic from a design standpoint. They won’t fit all cords. If you have larger surge protectors or electrical equipment with heavy duty plugs, they often times insert at angles that make the full plate covers completely unusable.
Baby gates are kind of a dime-a-dozen these days. This one by Regalo is pretty decent and has the components to be affixed at the top of stairs. Those involve screwing into the wall (which is pretty standard), but to just setup simply for a kitchen or bottom of stairs couldn’t be easier. It’s not exactly super easy for one handed operation, but you can manage it.
There are a whole host of different cabinet locks on the market. These ones are a very simple design and will go easy on your fingers and your cabinets. The big plastic style ones that require depressing two locked before pulling apart are a complete nightmare on your fingers. I can’t imagine why anyone would need those outside of a superhero’s parents. If you have cabinet handles that loop, try a sliding design instead. They’re much nicer on your hands. They are advertised as compatible with knobs, but I’d urge against it.
While slipping in the tub can seems like an old cliche for grandparents, this is a very real issues for children as well. Once they outgrow the sink bathing stage, it’s off to the bathtub with the rest of us, but sadly, they’ll be woefully underprepared. So while having to resort to sitting in the tub, they’ll inevitably want to stand up and play around creating a dangerous combination of slipperiness and poor coordination.
Hence, the bath mat. The one listed above is quite simple, but if you’re willing to spend a little more, check out this one by Kiddiko. It’s pretty high quality and has an internal thermometer which displays in text on the mat itself.
This is probably one of those safety devices that may not occur to the uninitiated. Once your child gets a little bit of confidence under their feet, they’ll likely be getting into all kinds of mischief and having a fixed metal object in a slippery location presents some obvious health concerns. Do yourself a favor and pick up a spout cover.
Given that most western countries tend to have their children move to their own room sometime after 6 months of age, parents want to keep an eye on their kids for quite some time thereafter. Cue, the baby cam. These handy devices allow you to check in on your baby when they toss and turn, see what that bang was from in their room, or just take a little time appreciate their sleeping faces without disturbing them.
Some General Tips
- Pulling Stuff Over: Kids get hurt all the time trying to reach stuff just out of their reach. Just try to make sure you don’t have any precariously placed, heavy items that they may reach and pull over onto themselves. Also of concern is some lighter, but top heavy furniture that could get pulled down as well. There are a host of safety products like these that can mitigate some of the concern, but we’d advise trying to create a safe space for your kids to play in simply gate off hard to baby-proof areas of the home. Try to establish some things as off limits for your kids too.
- Knives Once Walking: I couldn’t believe how quickly my boy was blindly reaching up onto counters a month or two after he started walking. All of a sudden we had to get strict about using the kitchen gate again and be extra careful about what we left out on the counters. Just a quick word to the wise, it really does happen fast and what was never a concern for a year and half, can all of a sudden become worrisome.
- Keep the Crib Clear: Every parent should read up on SIDS before the birth of their child. Much of the literature will talk about the risks of smoking and overdressing, but he main unintuitive directions I gleaned from my various classes and research were, always have infants sleep on their backs and do not have any extra objects, including padding, in the cribs until one year of age. They are all choking hazards and to be avoided at all costs. Those are the main ones though. Following those rules should keep you and your baby resting easy at night.