If you’re looking for the ideal time to baby proof your house, rest assured that this important task doesn’t have to be completed before your baby arrives. But though you don’t have to do everything at once, it might be worth buying and installing some baby-proofing supplies when the nesting instinct kicks in a few months before you meet your baby. You can predict and arrange your schedule more easily at that time than in the newborn phase, so we’d recommend at least planning your baby-proofing priorities a little ahead of your baby’s due date.
The question of how to baby proof requires a more complex answer. To get started, get down on your baby’s level. Lie down on your stomach and back to approximate what they’ll see when crawling and rolling; sit on your bottom to approximate their height when walking. Once there, look for anything that seems interesting. Are there cords your little one could go after? What about electrical outlets? Loose carpet corners? Fragile items on a low shelf? Seeing what your baby sees is a crucial first step in baby proofing; it will help you know what to repair, store out of reach, or buy to protect your child.
As noted above, you don’t have to tackle everything all at once. Every home will have its own specific needs, but here are some basic baby-proofing tasks most parents will need to check off the list, broken into subsections for age and development.
These divisions are just rough estimates. If you have a particularly curious crawler, you may want to prioritize some of the items in the section for young toddlers, for instance.
If you’re not sure how to install child safety cabinet locks, opt for a model that’s easy to install. One of the easiest types of cabinet locks to use and install is a wraparound lock. You simply squeeze the tabs on the moveable portion of the device and pull to lengthen the loop, place the device over both cabinet knobs, and then tighten the loop back up using the same method you used to loosen it.
Installing child safety latches on drawers requires a few more tools, but it’s still easily doable for most parents. Simply remove the drawer and install the catch plate on the top of the opening, about one inch from the corner. Replace the drawer and hold the latch portion inside the drawer to line it up with the catch plate. When you’re sure the two parts align, mark the latch placement with a pencil. You can then screw the latch into the drawer, using the marks as a guide, to complete the installation.
Additionally, most manufacturers give detailed instructions with all their products, so you’ll be able to breathe easy knowing these precautions will protect your baby exactly as they’re meant to.
Baby proofing will eventually become child proofing, and as your child grows up, the process of making your home a safe place for them continues. To prepare for a taller, smarter, and more curious child, think about adding child-safe doorknob covers, keeping your countertops clear, and designating certain drawers or shelves for items they can play with safely—having a special place your child can go to find their own fun stuff will help keep them from poking around in other areas.
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