So you thought you were totally set after you hired the babyproofer, who put locks on everything from your toilet seat to that dangerous cabinet under the sink. Think again! The moment your baby stands up and starts racing around your home, all of that childproofing goes right out the window, and it’s time to look at your house from the perspective of a little walker.
Suddenly, you can’t be concerned with locking up cabinets that are low to the ground and within arm’s reach of a crawling baby. Once your little one starts walking, you must be on the lookout for all kinds of dangers. From the stairs to the stove, here are some important places that should be childproofed once your baby starts walking.
“Babyproofing. What a scary thought. We haven’t started yet — other than when I nested while pregnant, I plugged the outlets. Dumb idea, so soon. Those things are tough to get out.” — Sandi_Mama, SK Babyproofing Message Boards
• Install baby gates near any area that has a flight of stairs. Make sure the gates are installed at the top and foot of the stairwell. If you live in a home that has a sunken living room, with only a few steps to reach the floor, then teach your child how to go down the steps correctly. Have her turn around and use her arms to support herself as she climbs down the stairs. No need to put gates everywhere — just in places where a major tumble could cause serious injury.
• Safeguard the knobs on your stove immediately. The first thing your walker is going to want to do is start exploring all the places he couldn’t reach when he was cruising. Now that his fingers can reach the stove, make sure you invest in knob covers to prevent dangers associated with fire and gas.
More kitchen hazards: Tips for childproofing your dishwasher
• Put items such as pens, coins, vitamins and other small objects away in a safe place. You do not want your child climbing up on a table, reaching for an item and accidentally swallowing it.
• Put your breakables away! I know you want everyone to see your wedding photo that’s proudly displayed on your mantelpiece in that beautiful Waterford Crystal frame, or the 50 other glass bowls, marbles and candlesticks given to you by friends and family, but think of your toddler as a human wrecking ball. The moment he walks into a room with breakable and chokable items, both your mementos and your little tyke are in danger. By the time she hits 5 or 6, you can throw caution to the wind and put all those treasured items back where they belong.
• Lock the front door! You probably think this one’s easy, but it’s not. You should have a knee-jerk reaction the moment you unlock your door and enter your home, which leads you to close and lock it behind you. The last thing you want is for your child to open the door and walk outside by himself!
• Install pool fence and alarms. If you own a pool, install a safety fence and gate equipped with an alarm that sounds if someone opens it without your permission.
Don’t forget the bathroom! Check out these hidden bathroom hazards
and how to childproof them.
While it might be exciting to see your child take her very first steps, you should always be mindful of the fact that dangers lurk around every corner of your home. As your little one asserts her independence and explores the world around her, you just need to make sure that you’re always a few steps ahead.