Parents of older children will spend a lot of time telling you to enjoy the months before your little one is on the move, because then, “it’s all over.”
I remember being on maternity leave and staring at Sloan, bored out of my gourd because even though she was the most beautiful and amazing baby, I wanted to do crafts, go to the park, and watch her do things.
Much to my delight, those moments of discovery and excitement came in the blink of an eye, which I have learned to do scarcely. “Don’t blink,” they say, because they grow up so fast.
No, don’t blink because that’s when tiny humans climb bookcases, touch outlets, and attempt to fly.
There are entire books, websites, and podcasts on the best ways to babyproof your home. And honestly, they all offer something educational and practical. Unfortunately, sitting down and reading 12 different books isn’t always in the cards for new parents.
What I’ve Learned
+ Even if you don’t need everything right away, buying babyproofing gear in bulk will save you time and money.
+ Don’t forget about chords connecting lamps, TVs, etc. Anchoring them to the wall or baseboard will omit a strangulation risk.
+ Babyproofing doesn’t stop outside of the home. It’s a good idea to put gates on deck and keep power tools off the ground.
The one thing I wish someone would’ve told me is that you don’t have to baby-proof before your baby is born. They can’t move yet, so worrying about door handle covers and cabinet locks doesn’t have to be on the top of your priority list.
There is a lot of pressure to have your house perfectly proofed for your new bundle of joy. And while you should take all of the safety precautions you can, keeping your baby safe in and out of the home takes more than corner guards and bath spout covers.
There is a level of awareness from you and your partner that is necessary when it comes to the well-being of your little one. Take the time to observe where in the house they like to be, like where they eat, where you sleep, and where their toys are. It’s natural for people to gravitate to places that bring them joy, and toddlers are no exception.
My favorite books for babyproofing:
+ The Baby Owner’s Manual
+ The Only Baby Book You’ll Ever Need
+ The Montessori Toddler
Is their playroom upstairs? If so, you may want to invest in a heavy-duty baby gate. Are they like Sloan and are obsessed with snacks? Keeping everything on the counters out of their reach and installing cabinet locks may be more important than installing a window guard on a window they can’t reach.
I could go on and tell you about my favorite products and most effective tricks and tips, but let’s get real. Accidents happen and there will come a time that all of the babyproofing in the world won’t prevent them.
Which brings me to the things in your home that you can’t baby-proof, like furniture, walls, and hardwood floors.
Sloan has taken more than one tumble off of the couch-falls that happened with Reid and I right next to her. She cried, I cried, and Reid offered us consolation and love. In that same regard, she has also run into her fair share of walls because toddlers toddle, and sometimes that leads to an unwelcome encounter with hard surfaces.
As far as hardwood floors go, think of a baby deer on ice, and that’s what you get when your little one has non-grip socks on.
Each family takes a different approach to keeping their children safe and the main thing to remember is just that.
With Sloan, Reid and I decided to baby-proof our house on a day-to-day basis. Once she learned how to crawl, we covered all of our accessible outlets and put up baby gates at the top and bottom of our staircase.
When she began walking and becoming more curious, we made sure that all of the corners at head level were covered to lessen the impact on her little noggin.
Now, with the higher temperatures and melting snow, we are installing baby locks on our doorknobs because whenever we say the “O-word” (outside) she makes a mad dash to the door.
I’ve learned a lot in the last year-and-a-half of being a parent, and the one thing I’m still struggling with is the fact that no matter what I do, I can’t keep her safe 100 percent of the time.
However, I can keep her environment safe, teach her how to keep herself safe, and accept that toddlers are clumsy and “bonks happen.”