Tips for Getting Your Home Ready for Your First Baby
Soon-to-be-first-time parents have a lot on their minds! In addition to preparing themselves and their nursery for parenthood, they need to be sure their home is safe for their new kid at every stage of their childhood. That can seem overwhelming since almost everything in a house or apartment could technically be unsafe. There are, however, a few key safety measures to take which will cover the bulk of likely accidents.
Let’s begin with one that isn’t immediately obvious as a safety concern for new parents: pest control. A house or apartment that’s vulnerable to bugs and rodents puts kids, pets, and parents at risk for disease. Not to mention, an infested house loses value quickly.
Sharp Corners, Slippery Rugs, and Electrical Outlets
Now, let’s look at the more obvious things that come to mind when talking about baby-proofing. Sharp corners on tables, counters, and other pieces of furniture keep lots of expecting parents up at night. Here are two good pieces of news that can set your mind at ease. First, bumper padding is very effective at softening a corner that could cause a major cut or damage an eye. It’s not expensive, and usually easy to install. Secondly, remember that with everything you must worry about with a new baby, you can wait a little while for this. Typically, infants don’t begin to crawl until they’re 6 to 10 months old. Before that, they mostly stay where you put them (with proper supervision, of course.) It’s important and necessary, but it can wait until you’ve settled in from all the challenges of being a new parent.
The same is true of slippery rugs and bath mats. Make sure you secure them with non-slip pads. Babies don’t have far to fall when they hit the ground, but if the surface is hard like a bathtub or unfinished basement cement floor, it can hurt bad and even do serious damage.
Installing safety plugs into electrical outlets is one of the cheapest and quickest things you can do to keep your home safe. You can buy them at nearly any retailer who has a baby or home improvement section for a few dollars. A small investment to safeguard your child from electrical shock. You can also move furniture in front of outlets, but you must make sure they can’t be moved. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you can move it yourself while standing up, assume your child could somehow, some way, manage to do that as well. If not, it’s probably safe if there isn’t enough space for them to wiggle their fingers back towards them. In any case, err on the side of caution.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
As diligent as you may be with furniture and appliances, you have a lot less control of the threats of fire, smoke and carbon monoxide. What you can do, however, is make sure you have detectors in place to warn you. It’s simple, inexpensive, and potentially lifesaving.
Most homes built after 1989 will have smoke detectors installed, as it became required by law at that time. In 1993, regulations required they be in every bedroom. Of course, you may have an older house, and smoke detectors (while long-lasting) don’t live forever. A good guideline is to get into the habit of changing their batteries when you change your clocks twice a year to account for Daylight Savings Time.
Carbon Monoxide detectors are also critical because Carbon Monoxide is invisible and odorless. With smoke, you can at least see and smell the threat. You could, unfortunately, die from carbon monoxide poisoning quite quickly without ever knowing it was there. A detector can be a life-saver.
Locks and Gates
Lastly, a simple, but easy to forget rule: keep your doors and gates locked. Children are curious and want to explore. Make an ironclad routine of closing garage doors, locking any door that they can use to exit the home or enter a dangerous area like a pool.
The world is full of hidden dangers, and a parent’s instinct is to try to protect their children from all of them. These tips cover many of the most manageable and common risks in the home.