The thought of making your home safe before the arrival of your first-born may feel like an overwhelming task you’re ill prepared for. If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone; most new parents are justifiably concerned about safety. The good news is, creating a safe home is easier than you think and we’re going to help you through the process.
Based on my own experience as a mom of two, as well as interviews with other moms, I’ve compiled a list of home safety tips we each wish we knew before the bundle of joy arrived. Save yourself from loads of unnecessary anxiety and frustration; read on to discover seven easy ways to help make your home safe for your new baby.
1. Create a safe bath time.
According to the CDC, drowning was the number one cause of injury death for children 1 to 4 years of age. Before your baby arrives, purchase a bath tub designed specifically for newborns. When bathing her, never leave her side. To reduce the chance of accidental scalding, set the temperature of your water heater at 120F or less, and turn the faucet off as water temperatures can change unexpectedly.
2. Secure windows.
According to the CDC, falls accounted for over 50 percent of nonfatal injuries in babies less than one year of age. Unfortunately, many of these injuries are a result of babies falling out of windows. Your newborn won’t be mobile for a few months, but now is the time to secure your home’s windows. Move furniture away from windows so she can’t pull up or climb to reach the window, and install window stops on all of your home’s windows so they can’t be opened more than four inches. Get used to opening double hung windows from the top, and remember that screens are not strong enough to prevent your baby from falling out.
3. Invest in a quality baby monitor.
Baby monitors range in price, quality and features. Research several brands, ask friends for recommendations, and keep in mind that you’ll rely on this device to check on your baby dozens of times throughout the day. This isn’t the time to buy a bargain priced product. Purchase a monitor with night time video monitoring abilities if you want to check on your baby during the night or while she’s sleeping in a dark room. You also might consider downloading a baby monitor app, like Best Baby Monitor. Try out the monitor and the app weeks before you expect to need it so you get comfortable with them and are sure they’ll suit your needs.
4. Plan for help.
The first few weeks your newborn is at home you will be exhausted, both mentally and physically, and that’s not safe for you or your baby. If there’s any tip a veteran mom will give you, it’s to take whatever help you can so you are able to rest as often as possible. Whether it’s a friend coming over to help sort laundry, your mother or mother-in-law stopping by to whip up meals or a housekeeper to take over cleaning chores, don’t hesitate to plan for help. And before baby arrives, talk with your partner about who will tackle regular chores, like grocery shopping. You’ll both have to be flexible, but making a tentative plan will help reduce some anxiety.
5. Purchase quality safety gates.
Weeks before your baby arrives home, you should start installing safety gates. In addition to containing your baby in a safe room or preventing a fall down the stairs, baby gates can also keep pets at bay until they are comfortable with your family’s new addition. It’s important to buy quality gates that you can open and close easily, because you’ll often be carrying your baby or baby supplies. Pressure gates are popular, but when used at the top of the stairs they present a hazard. Instead, use a safety gate that screws into the wall. Check the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association for gates that have earned the organization’s safety certification.
6. Contain cords on blinds and curtains.
Cords of any type are dangerous for children, but cords that raise blinds or open curtains are notoriously hazardous. A baby’s neck can become caught in the cord that runs through the blinds as well as the cord you pull to raise the blinds or open curtains. If your baby’s blinds or curtains with cords, swap them out for cordless window coverings before you bring her home and secure the other cords in your home with cord shorteners or wind-up devices. Check the Window Covering Safety Council’s website for more ways to make your window coverings safe for your new baby.
7. Conduct a home safety survey.
Get on the ground, and take a look around your home from your baby’s perspective. If you’re like most new parents, you’ll be shocked at the number of potentially dangerous items you find tucked under sofas and laying under dressers. Your newborn won’t be grabbing at that penny hiding under the coffee table the day she arrives home, but time goes fast and it won’t be long before that penny is discovered. Put safety locks on cupboards and drawers, and move cleaning products and other chemicals to places out of baby’s reach. Keep in mind that as your baby’s mobility and curiosity develops, you’ll have to re-survey your home for safety.
8. Protect your home with a security system.
Looking at all the little details inside your home are the steps that come naturally to most new parents. But it’s important to remember to protect your entire home as well. And the best way to do this is with a monitored security system. There are countless security providers on the market today, so it’s all about finding the one that offers the system that is right for you and your growing family.
No matter how safe you make your home, accidents will happen. But by implementing our mom tested home safety tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a safe and comfortable environment for your newborn.