Whether your due date is right around the corner or your baby has just been born, you’re likely thinking about how to babyproof your home. From the moment a little one enters your house and becomes part of the family, safety is a concern.
Our friends at BHGRE Life put together some tips that new parents can take to make their home a place where infants can safely thrive. Here are 10 ways to babyproof your home and prepare for baby.
1. Give your house the safety test
Babies who simply lie around in bassinets quickly turn into toddlers crawling all over the place. In the kitchen and living room, as well as the bathrooms and bedrooms, there are many things that little ones shouldn’t get into at all.
Parents might not think that a baby can open a cabinet or drawer. Kids surprise adults all the time. You never know when the little one will start crawling. Well, before your baby is mobile (which ideally means before birth or during those first few days at home), give your house a safety check. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, cleaning products and medication should be out of sight and locked away. Magnetic locks are popular and easy to install, without pinching fingers as other locks do.
Lock firearms ammunition separately from guns. Check smoke detectors and install carbon monoxide detectors.
2. Target high-germ zones
Even though the baby won’t be able to crawl or walk for a while, you’ll be moving about your house and don’t want to transfer germs to your little one. You might think that doorknobs and light switches are the germiest places that need to be cleaned. However, the real target zones are dish rags, stove knobs, countertops and refrigerator handles.
The National Sanitation Foundation International notes that these places, along with the kitchen sink, cutting boards and toothbrush holders, are the most germ-infested spaces in a home. This is likely because they’re high-use areas that we don’t think to clean as much.
3. Prepare for visitors
Spend a bit of time gathering what any overnight guests might need while staying with you to help out with the baby. If possible, set aside a portion of your home for them to feel comfortable. Stock sheets and towels within easy reach so your guests won’t feel hesitant to look for them in cupboards.
4. Think of new uses for spaces
Babies come with a lot of things and many daily processes. Make each room in your home a convenient space for you to care for your baby. Store frequently used items in plain sight on counters and tables, and in corners. Put them in pretty baskets if you want to keep a nice aesthetic.
As you re-evaluate your furniture and floor for areas to keep baby essentials, think about where you’ll also put your must-haves. Your coffee maker, nursing pillow, water bottle and snack bags can be creatively and conveniently stored alongside bottles, baby spoons and diapers.
5. Clear out your refrigerator
Clear out your refrigerator and make sure you have room for drinks and healthy food. Whether your baby is drinking formula or breast milk, you’ll likely need space in the refrigerator for liquids. Plus, friends and family might bring you meals. To prepare, a good scrub with baking soda and vinegar can clean away germs and grime. Toss any leftovers that have been in your refrigerator for more than a week. Also, inspect the freezer for expired food.
6. Sterilize feeding equipment
Sterilizing feeding equipment for the baby is a necessity, but you don’t have to take too much time or effort to do so. The need to boil bottles is no longer conventional wisdom. Soaking and scrubbing in hot soapy water will keep bottles and nipples clean.
7. Check your hamper
Ensure your laundry basket is easy to carry to your washer and dryer. You might have limited strength for a while after giving birth. You’re going to be doing a lot of laundry if you’re not already. Both of you will probably be stained and saturated with all kinds of substances. Make sure you have a laundry basket that can hold plenty of soiled clothing every day.
8. Clear the clutter
If you have a multi-level house, keep a basket at the base of the stairs for all items that need to be transported to the upper level. Whenever you’re done with something that belongs upstairs, place it neatly in your basket and carry it away at the end of the night.
There’s no need to live in a mess or make repeated trips up the stairs when you should be taking any spare moments to relax.
9. Smooth out the edges
Look around your home and find any sharp edges that could hurt. Glass table corners and metal objects can easily and quickly cause injuries. Consider buffers around these items or place them out of reach.
10. Lockdown and secure
Comb your home for any objects that are likely to tip over and fall when the baby starts to explore. Cover electrical sockets and tuck away cords from lighting, window blinds and appliances. Get down on the floor and pretend you’re a baby. Whatever you would want to get into should go elsewhere.
Babyproofing and preparing for the baby can be part of the fun that comes with welcoming a new family member home. With these tips and your mind focused on the excitement of having a little one in the house, it can be easy and something you’ll remember fondly.