Don’t put off babyproofing your house until the little one can walk—a fast-crawling baby can find plenty of trouble. Crawl around your house yourself, and you’ll discover many dangerous things at infant eye level: outlets, rickety TV stands, appetizing potted plants. And when a toddler learns to stand, he or she will hold onto anything to get upright, including the tablecloth dangling from a table full of bone china.
Storing Hazardous Items Safely
Any potentially harmful item should be either locked away or kept in cabinets and drawers with childproof safety latches. This includes knives and the obvious poisons such as medicine and cleaning products, but also mouth-wash, shaving cream, perfume, and deodorant, which can be harmful to curious toddlers who like to put things in their mouths. Even high counters are not necessarily safe places; you need to put away that decorative knife rack because toddlers will figure a way to get up on a counter well before you think they can.
It’s a good idea to have one cupboard or drawer full of safe distractions, such as plastic containers or wooden bowls, that a toddler can get to. Leave small appliances unplugged, and store them as far out of reach as possible. Plastic bags and plastic wrap also need to be kept in a high place. When discarding plastic bags from dry cleaning, recycle them at the dry cleaner’s or tie them into knots before tossing. Buy garbage cans with secure lids that kids can’t open.
Keeping Rooms Safe
Get safety gates to close off stairs or any room where you don’t want the baby to go and you don’t have a door to lock. Guards or gates are also needed to keep them away from fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, or space heaters. One door lock that kids figure out quickly is the push button on bedroom and bathroom doors. For bathrooms, an adult-height bolt would be a better option for a house with young children. You won’t have time to look for a bobby pin to unlock the door if your child slips in the bathtub.