Falls are the leading cause of injuries for children younger than 1 year, a Canadian study found. Many of these and other injuries can be prevented by using products made specifically for babyproofing—and by employing some good old common sense, such as keeping a close eye on your child and always using safety straps.
What you need to protect your baby changes with her development, so here’s a timeline to help you prepare. As you do, keep in mind this insight from Penelope Leach’s Your Baby & Child: From Birth to Age Five (Knopf): “Minor bangs, bruises and grazes are a normal part of a child’s life. If yours never had any kind of accident, you probably would be overprotecting him and depriving him of his rightful share of exploration and adventure.”
Birth to Rolling Over (typically 4 to 5 months but can be earlier): Don’t leave your baby unattended on any elevated surface; keep plastic bags out of reach; make sure the crib mattress fits snugly and slats are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart.
Crawling (typically 7 to 10 months): Get down on the floor and look for choking and other hazards; secure unsteady furniture to walls; block stair-railing openings that are wider than 4 inches; place a nonslip mat and spout cover in the bathtub; keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove; remove poisonous plants; keep your purse out of reach.
Cruising, Walking, Climbing (typically 8 to 12 months): Remove hanging toys and bumpers from the crib; use a detachable guardrail on bigger beds; keep anything the baby might climb up on away from unsafe areas, such as windows.
For more childproofing suggestions, visit www.cpsc.gov or www.iafcs.com.
1) Cord Wind-Up: Dangling cords pose a choking hazard.
2) Window Wedge: Protects babies by limiting the height or width of window openings.
3) Finger Protector Drawer & Cabinet: Use in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry and other rooms.
4) Anti-Scalding Valve: Prevents burns in the tub.
5) Toilet Lock: Can prevent plumbing disasters and even drowning.
6) Extra-Tall Top-of-Stairs Gate
7) Safe & Secure Sliding Door Lock With Alarm: Keeps crawling babies from pushing sliding doors open.
8) Wide Spaces Swing Gate: Expandable from 42 to 60 inches wide.
9) Standard Outlet Cover: For babies who can’t resist putting things in holes.
10) Sliding Cabinet/Window Lock: Locks cabinets, windows and even entertainment centers.
11) Corner Guards: Helps prevent bumps, bruises and eye injuries.
12) Stove Top Shield: Prevents burns and spills.
13) Stove Knob Covers: Keeps toddlers from turning on stove burners.