The differences between a baby proofed home and a baby friendly home are subtle. Baby proofing refers to creating a safe environment for your child but making it baby friendly as well means creating a home that allows your baby to play, explore and discover independently.
Baby proof for safety
Not too long after taking that first positive pregnancy test you should explore the rooms of your house from a baby’s level.
- Electric outlets need to be covered, cords should be corralled with cord shorteners and sharp corners should be covered with corner guards.
- Stabilize bookshelves and other items that can be pulled over by anchoring them to the wall.
- Place plants up high and get rid of any plants that are poisonous – more than likely Junior will gnaw on the leaves at least once.
- Place cleaners and medications in locked cabinets.
- If you have a gas fireplace, remove the key from the gauge and place it up high.
- Move your breakables to higher shelves.
- Put floor lamps and other unstable items in storage or get rid of them all together.
- Add door knob covers to exterior doors– it’s also not a bad idea to install an alarm (usually sounds like a doorbell) that sounds when someone goes outside. It doesn’t take long for a toddler to figure out how to get through a door when mom is busy in the kitchen.
- Toilet locks keep the toilet lid down when it is not in use.
- Cabinet locks are a must on all cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Spout covers keep baby from hurting her head if she falls against the bathtub spout.
- Get trash cans with covers.
- Gate off the stairs and kitchen as these tend to be the most dangerous places for baby.
Creating a baby friendly environment
Once your home is baby proofed you should create at least one space in your home that allows your child to explore and play. Usually this will be the family room so that your baby can be part of the family activities. Making her bedroom baby friendly as well will give you another place that she can play safely.
Bright colors stimulate learning in children. A small quilt made of brightly colored fabrics is a great place for your baby to play before she begins to move around much. Later on she can use it to cover up with, sit on, or make into a fort.
Other possibilities are:
- Keep a few favorite toys in a basket on the floor.
- Have another basket with squares of different textured fabrics– burlap, corduroy, silk, satin, cotton, etc.
- Place board books on low shelves to encourage an early love of books.
- Decorate with items that can be touched, examined and even chewed without harm.
- Have some child sized furniture in the room.
Creating an environment that invites your baby to explore and discover will encourage healthy development and confidence.