Childproofing Your Home
At 6 months months of life, your baby may be sitting with support or even sitting independently. Between 6 and 9 months, however, everything changes. By 9 months, many babies are crawling or pulling to stand. Some babies are even “cruising” by taking steps while holding on to furniture or other supports. 6 months of life is the right time to childproof your home, long before your baby develops these ambulatory skills.
At 6 months of life, we recommend you start by crawling from room to room on your own hands and knees to experience your home from your baby’s perspective. Pay particular attention to the following hazards:
- Beads, buttons, coins
- Button batteries
- Regular batteries
- Refrigerator magnets or products and toys with small or loose magnets
- Electrocution - cover electric outlets.
- Heat injuries - gate-keep the kitchen.
- Strangulation - stray charging cables or low-handing cords attached to your windows shades.
- Be sure there are no dangling telephone, electrical, blind, or drapery cords in your home.
- Suffocation - on stray plastic bags or water bowls for your pets.
- Wobbly Furniture - which could fall over when your baby pulls up to standing position.
- Make sure TVs, furniture, and other heavy items are secure so that your child can’t pull them over.
- Anchor TVs, bookcases, dressers, and cabinets to the wall and put floor lamps behind other furniture.
- There are poisons in every room of every home.
- Put these high and away, where you don’t risk “baby-proof” latches breaking or being installed incorrectly.
- Place canned goods and cereal boxes under the sinks for the next few years.
- Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222) if your child eats non-foods.
- Medications - all medications should be placed high and away in medicine cabinets.
- Crib Mattress Height - adjust your crib mattress height down to the lowest setting.
- Stairways - gate-keep areas with steps.
- Place gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Burns - adjust your hot water heater to 120º F or less, and use baby gates to block off the kitchen, fireplace, etc.
- Keep furniture away from windows.
- Water safety - keep your child close enough to touch.
- If a firearm is necessary, store unloaded and locked, with ammunition locked separately.
If there are older children in the home, they are the most dangerous people in your baby's life. Without meaning to hurt the baby, her older brother or sister may think "I like hotdogs, the baby will too," or "I like legos, the baby will too." Older siblings warrant frequent discussions about these dangers, and must be watched very closely around the baby.