Keep Your Baby Safe: Babyproofing
Tips and products to help you childproof your home
Scroll over the numbers in the image to see the tips.
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 de priving 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.