Before you know it, your stationary infant will be crawling so fast you’ll barely be able to keep up with her. If you have a yard, you’ll want her to enjoy the sights, sounds, textures and fresh air that the great outdoors has to offer. Here’s how to protect her from potential dangers there:
Water: One- to 3-year-olds are at the greatest risk of drowning in backyard pools, says Massachusetts-based child safety expert Dorothy A. Drago, M.P.H., so install fencing with self-latching, outward-opening gates. Because drowning can occur in even a few inches of water, always empty baby pools after use and don’t leave out buckets or other containers that can collect rain water.
Pet doors: These can allow little ones to escape unnoticed from the house, so keep them locked.
Power tools: Never mow your lawn or whack weeds when your baby is near, and never take her for a “ride” on a mower.
Gardening chemicals and poisonous plants: Follow directions when using fertilizers or weed and insect killers—children may need to be kept away for a period following application. (Better yet, try nontoxic alternatives to dangerous chemical-based products.) Call the national poison control hotline (800-222-1222) to determine if you have any poisonous plants; if so, remove them.
Burns: If you have backyard play equipment, place your forearm on the slide to ensure it’s not too hot for your baby. And keep her away from the barbecue when it’s in use. (Make sure lighter fluid is not accessible, too.)
Get down: Crawl around the backyard on your hands and knees to discover potential dangers before your little explorer does; these include animal feces or small objects like acorns that can pose a choking hazard, says pediatrician Laura Jana, M.D.
Keep her safe! For more tips to ensure your baby’s safety starting from birth, go to fitpregnancy.com/babyproofing.