May 4, 2010

Baby Proofing, Baby!

Prior to Jane's arrival, I remember Dan going around the house pointing out things that "had to go". I, literally, was looking at him like he had three heads... WHAT? What are you talking about? Why do we have to get rid of that shelving unit, it looks perfect right there and, yeah, it's a little dangerous but we have to teach our kid "no" right? I don't know if I was in denial about the fact that having a baby would turn my well-put-together home into a giant play pen or if I honestly didn't think it would be a danger (like an 11 month old would know that wasn't a ladder). Fast forward 12 months later... I, personally, dismantled the shelving unit and put it away. I, personally, got rid of the quaint little sitting area in the kitchen/dining room to make room for pink and purple foam flooring and toys galore. I, personally, screwed our hallway tables into the studs. I think I'm more anal about this stuff than Dan now! :p

But, there were a lot of things I never even thought of that, when I learned of them, I realized how dangerous our homes can be for our babes, without us even knowing it. You can practice your "nos" all you want but, fact is, when I take Jane to the playground, I cannot take my eye off her for a fraction of a second because what does she do? She puts pebbles in her mouth. Literally, just when I think she's "getting it", she grabs a pebble and starts towards her mouth. So, don't for one second think, that because your little one is starting to learn and starting to seem like he/she is "grown up", that they realize what is food and what isn't.

Here are some of the obvious baby proofing to dos:
  • First of all, I'm assuming y'all know the basics like not putting cribs near a window, and keeping your blind cords tied up, covering outlets and so on. 
  • Cabinet doors and drawers - Here's what I did. I put locks on the dangerous cabinets/drawers (cleaning supplies, garbage, anything with sharp things, etc.) but I didn't lock them all. I left some of them (with tuperware and so on) open so that (1) Jane can learn "no" and (2) I can get a break when I'm cooking. I mean, I don't usually let her just sit and play in the cupboard (unless it's a designated play cupboard) but I'll take out a bunch of tuperware and give it to her to play with. 
  • Climbing - anything baby can climb on - book shelves, entertainment units, etc. - make sure they are mounted to the wall or put away. My Mom told me a story about myself when I was just over 2. Apparently, they had put the gingerbread house on top of the china cabinet (which is like 4 feet tall). I saw it and proceeded to turn over a garbage pail and strategically pull out drawers to use as steps so that I could reach the peppermint patty fence... when my Mom finally found me, I was just reaching for that yummy piece of chocolate. Thankfully, it turned out ok (and my Mom did give me the chocolate in the end) but it could have not been so great. 
  • Windows - if you have low to the floor windows make sure that they are locked and open them from the top if you need to. I also fell out a window when I was little... thankfully, it was only 3-4 feet off the ground but, hey, I'm just saying. * To be clear, my Mom was not negligent, she was a single Mom (for a little while) and I was very likely a trouble maker!
  • Gates - OMG, please, please do not ever leave an area without a gate because you think "well, she's always in my sight". Jane is so quick. I could turn my back for a second and she'd be gone. If you can't afford gates (they are super expensive) or you can't make it work, use a piece of furniture, like a cushioned ottoman or something to block the danger zone (yes, a Top Gun reference). 
  • Appliance cords - This is my biggest fear (I don't know why) but keeping appliance cords (especially in the kitchen) out of reach (which basically means, no where in sight). Most importantly, your coffee perk, kettle, and other items that get boiling hot. A cord hanging over the countertop is like a gold mine to a baby. It would be the first thing Jane would go for in a room full of toys, for sure. 
  • Bathtub water - You're supposed to turn your water heater temperature down when you have a baby... this, I did not do. Why? Because I like washing my bottles in SUPER hot water. What I will say, however, is that I will never put Jane into a bath without having checked the water 50 times (I swear, I'm anal). I know there are rubber duckies and such with temp gages but I find even if the water is luke warm, those things scream "HOT" which is a little too strict for me. What you need to know is that testing the water with your fingers/hands is useless and they are not as sensitive as your other skin. I run the water over my wrist/forearm to test and this works perfectly. 
  • Bathrooms - keep bathroom doors closed or buy toilet locks and such. Jane loves the bathroom so we keep the doors closed all the time. 
  • Hot drinks - Oh please do not do this... even when your baby is a immobile newborn, please, please please do not drink tea or coffee or whatever when they are with you. Do not have it on a table. Do not have it near you. It is just about the worse thing you can imagine, waiting to happen. Don't take even one sip thinking, oh she's asleep. Jane's been asleep on my chest before and I went to get a sip of water from a bottle and her hand flew up and knocked the water bottle out of mine... not worth it.

Things I didn't think of myself:
  • Doorstops - on the hinge of our doors, we have little stoppers that prevent the doors from opening to wide... and they are covered (to protect the wood) in tiny, round, white, plastic thingies - basically the perfect choking hazard. I never would have noticed this! They are gone... in a ziploc bag until we sell the house. 
  • Faucet guard for tub and anti-slip mat for tub - I thought we would be fine without these items. No way. Jane slipped while sitting in the tub the other day and ended up on her back... thankfully, the water wasn't high enough for her to go under. I was sitting next to the tub watching her and I didn't have a quick enough reaction time that she wouldn't have gotten a good breath of water. 

There are obviously tons more - here's a link to a great list of essentials!

Baby proofing is a never-ending process. I am constantly moving things and checking the floors as Jane discovers more and more. Don't think because it's done, that it's done. Every day Jane finds something new to get herself into. Get down on the floor yourself and crawl around. Look for things that would be attractive to your baby... it's scary how much is down at that level!

Along with baby proofing, I recommend an infant cpr course. Dan and I took one when I was pregnant and it definitely gives me piece of mind that I know the correct things to do if Jane were to choke or worse...

Lots of love,
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~*Cee*~ said...

Ha! I love that you're at the same level of 'anal' as I am! I'me very lucky that my daughter, at 15 months, would much rather smoosh crackers into the carpet, then play with electrical outlets, but that doesn't mean they're still not covered! I'm also thankful that I'm a nurse...first aid has become a daily occurence (to some degree) in our household! My skills have never benefitted me as much as they have since E was born!

Jen said...

I can imagine! My mom was a nurse when we were younger and her skills still come in SUPER handy even now! We've saved ourselves a lot of ER waiting time by having a nurse in the family! :)

Kate said...

This post is so timely for me! My daughter just started crawling, so we're just realizing what a danger zone our home is!