Thoughtful Parenting: Keep your home safe for babies on the move
November 25, 2018
Crawling and walking are exciting milestones for babies. This newfound mobility, however, can be challenging for parents tasked with keeping their children safe in the home.
Babies and toddlers on the move can push, pull and climb their way into to trouble quickly. Ideally, parents childproof their home before their baby is mobile.
Start with the rooms or living areas where your baby spends the most time. Scan the area carefully for items your baby can climb or reach on tiptoes. Babies generally can climb up on anything at their eye level or below.
Consider the danger each item poses and how an incident might occur. Some hazards, such as a flight of stairs, are obvious, but we may not realize the danger of other items we're accustomed to. A flat screen TV or bookcase, for example, could crush a child. A fish tank or unsecured toilet are drowning hazards — anything with at least 1 inch of water is dangerous. The miscellaneous drawer in your kitchen might contain shiny batteries, thumbtacks or coins that might cause choking.
Once you've identified hazards, prevent your child from accessing them. Move or secure heavy objects that a child could climb or pull on. Install baby gates secured to the wall to block access to stairs.
Move sharp objects and poisons, such as beauty products, medications, cleaners, alcohol, poisonous plants and marijuana products, out of a child's reach. Keep the Poison Help Line number — 800-222-1222 — handy.
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Install child locks for doorknobs, toilets, cabinets and other areas and put safety covers on unused electrical outlets. Make sure your child cannot get to electrical cords, plastic bags and other suffocation hazards. Keep your home clean of allergens from mold, dust, animal hair, decaying food or evidence of insects or rodents. Lock up firearms.
For more childproofing tips and resources, go to safekids.org.
These important precautions are not a replacement for supervision. A parent should always be aware of what their child is doing and be close enough to stop them from doing something to hurt themselves.
SafeCare Colorado is a free voluntary program offering parents of children 5 and younger education and assistance in areas of home safety, child health and parent-child interactions.
The program is for parents in Routt and Moffat counties who need extra support in building healthy and safe futures for their children. For more information or to make a referral, visit northwestcoloradohealth.org/safecare or call 970-871-7677.
Bonnie Espinoza is a SafeCare Colorado Parent Support Provider at Northwest Colorado Health.