Watching your baby learn to walk can be an exciting time for parents and caregivers.
Your child is growing up and gaining independence.
And now has the ability to get into things which they couldn’t before.
Last week, we talked about how to teach your baby to walk, and when you might need help from a pediatric physical therapist in Washington DC.
But once they do start walking, they’ll get into trouble, unless you’re ready for them.
Keep reading to learn how to baby proof your home.
General Baby Proofing Tips
You’ll want to start thinking about baby proofing your home well before the baby comes home from the hospital.
Otherwise, you may end up too busy actually caring for your newborn to take care of things afterwards.
Some general tips for baby proofing include:
- Fixing wobbly furniture and taking care of slippery floors, especially since you’re more likely to fall when you’re tired and not getting enough sleep.
- Ensure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working and make a schedule for changing the batteries on a regular basis.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and anywhere else which makes sense to have one and be sure you know how to use it.
- Stock your household first aid kit
- Keep at least one landline phone, for use in emergencies
- Fix any peeling paint in your home, especially if your house was built before 1978 when lead paint was banned.
- Make sure any plants you have around your home are not poisonous
In addition to these general tips, let’s take a room by room walk through your home, and some of the specific hazards each room has.
How To Baby Proof Your Living Room
You may not think of your living room as having as many hazards as the kitchen or bathroom.
There aren’t generally any heated elements or running water in there.
However it has hazards of its own.
Some things to consider include:
- Taking care to ensure any cords for blinds or ties for curtains are out of reach.
- Adding padding to corners or tables, fireplaces, and other furniture – anything with a hard edge or corner has potential for injury.
- Install screens over the fireplace.
- Secure televisions and any large, heavy items or furniture to the wall.
- Ensure any items which contain batteries are kept out of reach of children.
- Get plastic outlet covers for all plugs.
How To Baby Proof Your Laundry Room
Although most kids seem to avoid the laundry room once they reach a certain age, your newly walking baby probably isn’t aware this is a room which can be full of dangers.
Things to be aware of in the laundry room include:
- Making sure the washer and dryer are pushed up against the wall so no one can get trapped in behind them.
- Ensuring all detergents and cleaners are in a locked cabinet.
- Putting a child lock on your washer and dryer, especially those which are front loading.
- Adding a child proof lock on the door to the laundry room, or a gate if the washer and dryer are not in a separate room, or in an area which children may need to access for other reasons.
How To Baby Proof Your Baby’s Bedroom
Your baby’s bedroom should be their safe haven.
But although it’s their space, it’s up to you, as a caregiver to ensure it’s safe for them.
This can include:
- Securing furniture to the walls.
- Ensuring the slats on your baby’s crib are not more than 2 ⅜ inches apart.
- Having a changing table with safety straps.
- Making sure your baby can’t grab any hanging crib toys, especially as they begin to be able to sit on their own.
- Having a crib mattress which fits properly – the gap between the side of the crib and the mattress should be less than two fingers.
- Don’t keep toys, pillows, or blankets in the crib.
- As your baby grows out of their crib and into a “big kid” bed, install bed rails to prevent them rolling out of bed.
How To Baby Proof Your Kitchen
The kitchen can be a very dangerous room for babies and small children.
From hot surfaces, sharp objects, and choking hazards, infants and children should never be left unattended in the kitchen.
Even so, it’s incredibly important to baby proof this room.
- Make sure sharp objects such as knives are kept in a drawer, as opposed to on the counter (such as in a knife block) and have a lock on it.
- Put child locks on all cabinet doors, especially any containing cleaners.
- Put locks on the stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher doors.
- Remove small magnets which could pose a choking hazard from the refrigerator.
- When cooking, where possible use the back burners so cooking pots and pans can’t be easily reached and be sure any handles are turned inward.
How To Baby Proof Your Dining Room
The last thing you want to think about while enjoying a nice meal is whether your dining room could be a hazard to your child.
Some things to be mindful of when baby-proofing your dining room include:
- Keeping your liquor cabinet locked.
- Not using tablecloths which your child will be tempted to pull at, especially if you’re serving hot food, or have candles burning.
How To Baby Proof Your Stairs
If your home has more than one storey, then keeping your child safe around stairs is going to be a priority, especially since in most homes the bedrooms are on the upper level.
Here’s how to keep your stairs safe for baby:
- Use baby gates at the top and bottom of your stairs – the gates at the top should be mounted to a rail or wall, so it can’t be easily moved.
- Use mats under rugs, carpets, or runners to stop them from slipping.
- Consider installing a monitor to keep tabs on your child as they start to walk on their own – these devices hang on the outside of a child’s bedroom door and send a signal to your smartphone if they leave their room.
How To Baby Proof Your Home Office
Whether your home office is a separate room, or a designated space in another area of your home, some things to watch for include:
- Ensuring any heavy books or equipment which could fall are placed near the ground.
- Securing any cords for computers and other equipment to your baseboards.
- Adding padding to any sharp corners, such as desks and filing cabinets.
- Ensuring all sharp objects such as scissors, staplers, thumb tacks, and letter openers are locked away when not in use.
How To Baby Proof Your Bathroom
Bath time might be a great way to bond with your little one, but keeping the bathroom safe is important too.
Some tips for keeping your bathroom baby friendly include:
- Keeping all cabinets and drawers which have cleaning supplies or medications locked.
- Using a cover on the tub spout.
- Putting mats to keep from slipping in and around the bathtub.
- Using toilet locks to keep from drowning (and to keep your toddler from flushing things they shouldn’t).
What If My Baby Isn’t Walking Yet?
Most children will begin learning to walk around one year of age.
For some, this might be earlier, and for others a bit later, and it’s important to remember walking doesn’t happen overnight.
If it’s a few months after babies first birthday, and they still aren’t starting to learn to walk, then you might consider meeting with a pediatric physical therapist to see if there is a larger issue at play.
Delayed walking is more common in premature babies, babies with Down syndrome, babies with developmental hip dysplasia, rickets, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy.
So if your baby has been diagnosed with any of the above, it’s a good idea to seek a pediatric physical therapist.
Certain of these conditions can have accompanying speech difficulties as well, so it may help to seek a speech therapist for kids as well.
Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today
Are you worried your baby isn’t learning skills such as crawling or walking at the rate they should be?
Have they passed the one year mark, and are still showing no signs of trying to walk on their own?
Do you want to ensure there are no other issues which could be causing a delaying walking?
We’re District Speech, and we can help.
Our qualified physical therapists can provide assessment and treatment services to help your child get back on track to learn to walk.
If you’re in Washington DC or the surrounding area, contact us today for an appointment.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.