Being a parent comes with so much joy but also so much worry! When your tiny newborn arrives, you will suddenly see your home in a completely new light. You don’t have to baby proof your house top to bottom right away, since your infant isn’t mobile yet, but there are many steps that you can take in order to make your house safer for your newborn.
Fire and carbon monoxide detectors
First and foremost, you need to make sure your home is equipped with fire and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home and outside bedroom doors. If you already have detectors, make sure the batteries are fresh and test them regularly.
Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and another one in one of the main bedrooms in case of emergency. Talk with your household about a fire evacuation plan and meeting place that is a safe distance away so that everyone knows how to respond should a fire occur.
Have emergency numbers on hand
If at some point you need to call poison control or your child’s pediatrician, the last thing you want to do is search all over the house for their number. Place poison control numbers on the inside of your cleaning cabinet door. Keep your pediatrician and other pertinent people’s numbers in your cell phone with easily identifiable labels.
As a last precaution make a list of all the important numbers - yours, your neighbors, your doctor, poison control, the police non emergency line - and post it on your fridge in plain sight. Include your address just in case a sitter or relative needs to call 911 and needs your information.
Safe sleep surface
The one thing your newborn will do more than anything else is sleep, though probably not in long intervals. Make sure that the surface you choose for your baby to sleep on is safe whether they are co-sleeping or in their own crib. If they are in a crib, make sure you don’t include blankets or pillows, since these present suffocation hazards. Search online for any recalls of your crib and register with the manufacturer to receive updates should one occur.
If you co-sleep don’t place any pillows or blankets near the baby. Place your baby between mama and the wall (if you push the bed up against the wall) or use a bed rail. Never co-sleep if you are excessively tired, taking medications, smoke, are obese, or are under the influence of alcohol.
When you have a baby, you might find yourself with a sudden influx of friends who want to pass on their gently used baby items to you. This can save your family a great deal of money, but you do need to make sure that those items are safe your baby.
Check expiration dates on car seats. They should be clearly printed on the seat (or you can search for them online). Run an online search for swings, bouncers, high chairs, etc. to check for recalls. Look the items over carefully to make sure that, even if there isn’t a recall, the items are still in safe working condition.
Start baby proofing
All too soon, that sleepy little peanut will be rolling over, scooting, and crawling. As you spend time with your newborn on the floor playing, take time to look around. You are at the baby’s level so you can clearly see all the tantalizing hazards that will be up for grabs in just a few short months. Rather than being caught unprepared, start doing things like removing or hiding all cords (blinds and electronics), installing outlet covers, moving breakables to top shelves, and securing bookshelves and dressers to the walls with brackets to prevent tip overs. Also install cabinet door locks to prevent access to cleaners. Finding hazards as you notice them will save you the panic of trying to do it all at once when your child is mobile.
Congratulations on the newest addition to your family. These few simple steps will give you a jump start on making sure that you home is safe for your new little one.