Preparing for a new baby is a very difficult job. Mothers have just nine months to prepare their home, family, and anything else ready before the baby arrives. And they might be surprised how much things need to be taken care of.
Between stocking up on diapers and other essentials t0 getting the nursery set up, they have to prioritize the things that need to be done before the baby’s arrival; so baby-proofing in stages is definitely a good idea.
The risks for the baby change over time, so the entire baby-proofing list doesn’t need to be complete before birth, but it’s a good idea to get a jump on the most critical items for newborns such as preparing a safe place to sleep and give the baby a bath.
There are some big home safety issues to check off the list, but most of the projects can wait until the baby becomes more mobile. Things, like putting locks on cabinets and anchoring the furniture, becomes critical once the baby is crawling, and it definitely needs to be done by the time the baby is walking.
This list could help moms and dad figure out the riskiest things that they need to get care of first and what they can put off for a few months. Here are 10 things new moms need to baby-proof right away (and 10 that can wait).
Let’s start with the 10 moms need to take care of right away…
20. BABY’S BEDDING
Baby-proofing and baby safety definitely starts first in the nursery. Moms need to be aware of the dangers that can be created in the crib that can fatal consequences from the very beginning. So the first thing that they need to baby-proofing is the baby bedding.
Despite warnings for the past decade or so, companies continue to sell crib sets that include some items that could cause a newborn to suffocate. Because of the risks, moms should leave out the crib bumpers and the blankets and only use a flat sheet around the mattress. That’s the safest sleeping environment for the little one.
19. WORRIES ABOUT WINDOWS
Moms need to make sure that their windows are set up so that the baby doesn’t fall out of them — that might seem basic, but it’s actually something that gets missed with tragic results. For most, the biggest deal comes with the window coverings. Moms have to be really careful about the blinds, and they need to baby-proof them right away so that the baby is safe.
The problem is the dangly cord that allows people to adjust the setting. Those cords can wrap around a baby’s neck and choke them. It’s something that can surprise a parent if the cord is close enough to the baby’s play area or crib, so it’s best to go ahead and baby-proof all the blinds right away.
18. BATH TIME SAFETY
The baby’s first bath can be a very alarming experience for a new parent. They are all too aware of the dangers in those early days, but moms need to go ahead and take care of the bath area because they might get complacent later on. The first step is to turn the water heater down to make sure that the baby will never get burned.
Moms need to have a safe bath option for the baby. Many use special small tubs or set up their sink for the baby. They need to set up a station so that all of the things that they need are within an arms reach because it’s imperative that they don’t leave the baby alone for even a second in the bath. Baby-proofing the area ahead of time can be life-saving.
17. CAR SEAT SAFETY
The biggest need for moms to have before birth is a car seat. Of course, she needs some clothes and diapers and blankets, but she can go home with the supply from the hospital if necessary. The only thing she has to have to bring the baby home is a safe car seat.
It can be more difficult to adjust the seat in the car than a parent might expect, so it’s a good idea to go talk to an expert at the fire station or police station ahead of time. Plus, moms and dads need to research how to safely strap in the baby to avoid any issues. Car accidents remain a top cause of infant mortality, so this item cannot be delayed.
16. ELECTRONICS CHECK
These days, electronics are a huge part of a home and lifestyle. Many parents might think that the danger to a baby only arises when they can crawl around and get tangled up in cords, but any cord can be a danger near a baby crib or play area.
We also recommend that moms check that their cords and outlets are safe. They can be a fire hazard, which puts the baby at risk. It’s a big part of the home in these modern times, and that means that electronics safety is paramount when there is a little one on the way.
15. SMOKE DETECTORS
Before the baby comes home, moms and dads need to be sure that their house has all of the regular fire safety standards in place and up to date. Some might feel confident that they have their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in place, but they need to be sure that the batteries are replaced.
Before welcoming a little one, adults only have to worry about getting themselves out safely in the case of a fire, but they need to rethink their plan when the baby comes. Be sure to have an idea of how to get the baby out in an emergency, and talk to the fire department about it if you have questions.
14. TOY SAFETY
Parents might think that all toys are alike for a baby, but the truth is that there can be very big differences that can be a big deal when it comes to keeping a little one safe. It’s important that babyproofing including the toy chest, especially in a house where older siblings are around.
Most toys that are marketed to newborns are okay, but parents need to be wary of any plaything that comes with small parts or has the danger to break into small pieces. Babies put everything in their mouths, which means that anything with tiny pieces can pose a choking hazard for the little one.
13. CHANGING AREA SAFETY
Newborns spend a lot of time in just a few locations in the house, and all of those should be babyproofed before the little one comes home. One that might be overlooked is the area where the baby gets changed. Some people have a changing table, and they need to make sure that they have a strap to keep the baby from falling off if it is raised.
Moms should stay close to the baby while changing the diaper, especially on a high surface, so it’s a great idea to put all the things that she will need in one spot. That includes diapers, wipes, powders and creams and anything else that she might want like a change of pants. She should keep a hand on the baby at all times, so stocking up is a part of baby-proofing.
12. FLOOR CLEANING ISSUE
The floor is an important spot in the house for the baby. Moms and dads don’t give it much thought when they move in and walk around on it, but eventually, they realize that their child is going to be spending a lot of time on the ground, and that’s when they need to think about baby-proofing.
There are some rugs that can have toxic materials in them, but moms also need to think twice when they make plans to clean that carpet. They should research the chemicals used to clean carpets and figure out how to use more natural products. It’s imperative since the baby will spend a lot of time on it.
11. BABY SAFETY CLASS
Even parents who do the best baby-proofing might still end up with an accident or issue with their little one. That’s why one of the best ways to prepare in terms of safety is to take a class. Many hospitals, community colleges, and other places offer infant CPR and other classes that can help a lot.
Newborns seem to find the tiny toys and things on the floor that adults will miss, and they put them in their mouths. So knowing what to do for a choking baby is a good skill. And while we all hope that we never have to perform CPR, it might just save the baby’s life.
And here are the 10 things that can wait…
10. SAFETY GATES
A lot of parents think of baby gates as the first step in baby-proofing, but that isn’t necessary when the little one is a newborn. Even the most advanced little ones won’t be mobile for at least three or four months, so moms and dads have some time before they have to add gates throughout the house.
In fact, installing the gates early can be a little dangerous since new moms might have trouble navigating them while carrying their little one from one room to another. A fall can be dangerous, so don’t put up any obstructions until you have to, but you don’t want to wait until it’s too late or a rolling or crawling baby could be in danger.
9. BATHROOM BABY-PROOFING
The bathroom might not seem like an obvious room to baby-proof. That is until a toddler has gotten loose in there and went ham on everything. Of course, the most concerning part is the toilet, which is not only gross but a possible drowning hazard. Once the baby has gotten to that stage, it might be necessary to put a safety latch on the lid.
Little ones often make a mess of the toilet paper and pull down the towels and such, but that can be just a little messy. Instead, be sure to check the cabinets and tub area for any soaps and shampoos that might cause harm if the baby gets into them and ingests them.
8. KITCHEN CONCERNS
The kitchen is one of the most dangerous places in the house, but most of those dangers that people are aware of seem well out of touch of babies. Most of the time, they can’t get to the knives, but moms need to be aware that it won’t take long until the little one can reach the oven door and even the stove.
Moms definitely need to be cautious while cooking, but they also need to be aware that the baby will crawl on anything, including the open dishwasher door. Be aware of that if you have put the soap in, especially. And in that case, a knife may be within reach.
7. FIREPLACE WORRIES
Fireplaces are a great feature for a home… Unless a baby lives there, of course. Moms can wait to baby-proof the area a bit, but by the time the baby is crawling and pulling up, they need to make sure that the baby doesn’t have access to the area.
Of course, it’s dangerous when there is a fire going, but the set up is usually risky either way. Often fireplaces have a hard mantle that can hurt the baby if they fall near it. And no one wants the baby to get into the soot or anywhere near the poker. Moms should consider the fireplace off limits for at least a couple of years.
6. ANCHORING THE DRESSER AND OTHER FURNITURE
Most parents think of moving the lamps and clearing the bookshelves of breakables, but they don’t realize that their big pieces of furniture could be dangerous to their baby. Unfortunately, some toddlers have become seriously injured after they tried to climb on their dressers and the furniture tipped over on top of them.
To avoid that risk, manufacturers have made anchors that allow people to attach their furniture to the wall. It’s a good idea for the television too, although most models these days are a lot less heavy than in the past. Anchoring those big pieces are an important part of baby-proofing, but it can wait a few months until the baby is starting to get around.
5. CLEANING SUPPLIES SHOULDN’T BE WITHIN REACH
By the time the baby is mobile, moms and dads need to take care of the cleaning supplies. That’s because anything within reach could end up in their mouths, and that could mean that the baby ends up getting poisoned.
Moms store cleaning supplies in many rooms in the house, including kitchen cabinets and under the bathroom sink. Laundry pods can look like candy, but for babies, anything can be tempting to touch and taste. The risks go from needing to get the baby’s stomach pumped to blindness or even death, so moms need to baby-proof by four or six months. Everything from the mouthwash to the window cleaner needs to be out of reach of a toddler.
4. POOL AND WATER SAFETY
The parents’ job of baby-proofing isn’t limited to inside the house. They need to take into account the entire property and make sure that the little one is safe if they ever slip out the door. One of the biggest risks can arise if the property includes a pool or a body of water, so that is something that the mom and dad need to take care of by the time the baby is walking.
All pools have to have a fence around them if there is a toddler living nearby. A mom can’t turn her back if she hasn’t baby-proofed the pool because the danger is just too great. It’s also a good idea to get baby swim lessons to teach even the smallest kid to survive in the water.
3. CLOSING UP THE CABINETS
Once the baby is big enough to open a cabinet, nothing will be safe. That’s true of drawers as well. So moms can wait to baby-proof the cabinets, but they can’t wait very long. When there is something interesting behind each door, the baby will want to open it and check out the contents.
A lot of babies enjoy pulling out the pots and pans; others will pull out every piece of clothing from the bottom drawer of the dresser. Mom’s makeup isn’t safe in the bathroom. Parents have a lot of options for ways to lock the drawers and cabinets up, and if they want to keep things safe, they better baby-proof in time.
2. CORNER ISSUES
When babies learn how to walk, they aren’t exactly stable on their feet. So moms need to baby-proof with that in mind and make sure that if the baby falls, they don’t get hurt. One of the most annoying culprits is the coffee table and other furniture that has sharp edges right around the baby’s height or a little lower.
Some parents get rid of the coffee table altogether, and others trade their model in for something softer and more rounded. Still, others add something soft to the edges to make it more baby-friendly. The job can be based on the parents’ budget and taste, but it’s important to keep the baby safe in that first year or so of walking.
1. SPECIAL HOLIDAY CONCERNS
Things get even more interesting and risky for families during various holidays, so moms need to think hard about their decorations. For example at Christmas time, the baby is likely going to be attracted to the lights of the Christmas tree, and they could pull over the tree, break ornaments and hurt themselves.
Even things like poinsettias need to be reconsidered since the plant can be poisonous and babies are just as likely to put that in their mouths. Leaving eggs around at Easter and Halloween decorations out in October could be risky, so moms need to baby-proof their holidays as well.