Whether it’s commando crawling or bottom shuffling it’s one of those 1st year milestones all parents look out for. Then it happens… and you realise life was a lot easier when baby just stayed where you put him.
Your formerly cosy and relaxing home suddenly changes into a frightening obstacle course fraught with danger at every turn. Innocuous bits of furniture and ornaments become treacherous items that can harm your baby or vice versa. So here are our top tips to think about when baby proofing your home.
Stair gates everywhere
The first potential hazard most people will think of is preventing your baby from falling down the stairs. We’ve installed gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. It may seem obvious but try and remember to leave them shut at all times. It’s easy to get a bit lazy and leave them open as you dash around the house but you don’t want that to be the first time your baby decides to explore.
Baby gates can also come in handy for keeping little ones out of other parts of the house. By far the most useful one we installed was in the kitchen, as Freddie keeps speed crawling to the dog’s bowls at every given opportunity and delights in splashing his hands in Bodie’s water. We went for the gates that screw into the walls rather than the pressure fit kind as we thought they’d be sturdier. This has proved to be a good decision as Freddie frequently uses them to stand and then rattles them with some impressive force!
Head for higher ground
Babies LOVE to explore. As soon as they get on the move all those expensive toys you’ve bought become terribly dull. They seem to have inbuilt radar for things they shouldn’t have. The rule of thumb is, if you don’t want your baby to play with something, then move it to a higher shelf or unit! You may have to get creative with things you can’t move up. We’ve caught him on a number of occasions playing with the blackened coals from the gas fire… it’s never a great start to the morning finding a baby with a dirty face lobbing coals around on your beige carpet. The fireplace is now blocked off with a table.
Don’t underestimate the reach of a small child
Speaking of bad starts to the morning, I heard a shriek from downstairs a few weeks back and came down to find Steve mopping up coffee from the carpet and rug. He’d left his coffee, what he thought was a safe distance back on the nest of tables. But it was no distance for Freddie and his Inspector Gadget arms! We were very lucky he didn’t spill it on himself and the only casualty was our rug. It was a lesson learnt and all hot drinks are now kept in hand or placed in the centre of the dining table.
Pack away your precious things
If you’re very attached to that precious china figurine your Aunty and Uncle gave you at your wedding, or you really love those family pictures on the table then PACK THEM AWAY! I cannot voice this strongly enough, do not leave out anything of sentimental or monetary value. Babies on the move are wrecking machines. All our ornaments and photo frames are now packed away in a box in the garage for the foreseeable future. We learnt the hard way after Fred managed to crack a precious frame that was a wedding present.
You can’t baby proof a dog
We’ve blogged before about how to help babies and animals get used to each other. Sadly for our long suffering golden retriever Bodie – you can’t baby proof a dog! The poor guy is, as I write this, being used as a step for Freddie to attempt to climb on the sofa. Now is the time to watch their interactions like a hawk and when the dog/cat gets fed up, perhaps give them some time out in another room.
A quiet baby is a baby up to mischief
You may think a quiet baby is one that is playing nicely, entertained by those aforementioned expensive toys that you lovingly picked out… fool! A quiet baby is always one that is up to no good. So if his chatter goes quiet, beware.
Go and find out what he’s got hold of. He will inevitably be chewing on a cable, dog toy or tearing up all the magazines in the rack!
If your baby has just started to crawl then I wish you, your pets and your home the very best of luck!