Protect Your Baby and Your Home at the Same Time

Baby proofing your home is hardly a one-time event. As your child grows, so do potential hazards they’ll face and opportunities for your child to dirty and destroy your home that you just spent what felt like hours making spotless. Because let’s face it – although small, children have the unique ability to get into everything and create disorder. Protecting your child as well as your home means preventing accidents and staying ahead of their little curiosities. 

It doesn’t matter what style of home you live in, perhaps you live in a single-story condo in Miami, FL or a three-story home in Atlanta, GA, baby proofing your space is vital to your child’s safety while keeping your home clean and protected from damage. What will your child be able to get into once they start crawling, walking, or even climbing? It’shard to tell, but taking the necessary steps to keep your home clean, and baby proofing to minimize any potential damage they could cause to themselves or your home can give you peace of mind.

Baby Proofing Your Home at Every Stage

Your baby may not begin crawling for many months, but baby proofing your home and setting up a stylish yet safe nursery beforehand is a smart way to create a safe environment for your child while reducing the chances of damage to your home in the near future. Consider taking the following safety measures while baby proofing your home:

Optimising your home for an infant

  • Keep baby monitors and cords three feet away from the crib.
  • Keep the crib free of pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals.
  • Make sure changing and bath areas are secure to prevent slips, rolls, and tumbles.
  • As your baby proofing, secure all cords, including those on blinds and window coverings. Remember, any cord can be a hazard. Consider installing safety tassels or cord stops to tuck away the cords.
  • Place the crib away from any windows, heaters, lamps, wall decorations, and cords. 

Preparing your home for a crawling baby

  • Cover electrical outlets with electrical plugs and remove nightlights, air fresheners, and other plugins that are easy to pull out.
  • Secure or hide electrical cords. They’ll be sure to pull down anything they’re attached to making a lamp, stereo, or TV come crashing down on them and the floor.
  • Close the toilet lid or place a latch on top.
  • Add padding to tables with sharp corners or edges and Install finger-pinch guards for hinges on doors.
  • When you’re baby proofing, install latches on doors, especially to stairs, cabinets, and appliances.
  • Place cleaning products and other toxic chemicals in a safe, dry place with a latch or lock.
  • Always keep the floor and low tables clear of small debris and other choking hazards.
  • Empty bathtubs and buckets of water immediately after use.
  • Use baby gates to keep your child safe from stairs or rooms that haven’t been childproofed.
  • Anchor your television and unstable furniture, such as bookcases, dressers, and loose tables.

Protecting your home from a toddler while keeping them safe

  • Keep all windows latched and add stoppers so they can’t be raised if they are accidentally unlatched. Kids not only can easily make holes in screens using their fingers and toys, but can also fall out of windows if they lean on the screens.
  • Keep medicines in childproof containers in high cabinets that latch or lock. 
  • Keep hot foods and liquids in the center of tables or at the back of counters.
  • Make sure knobs on your stove and oven are securely covered or removed so your toddler doesn’t turn them on and possibly cause a fire.
  • Make sure doors lock from the outside so your toddler can’t accidentally lock themself in a room.
  • Secure doors that provide access to off-limit areas, like garages or workshops. 

Keeping your home clean and orderly at every stage

As you know, baby’s require a lot of attention and energy. As infants, it can feel like a never-ending cycle of feeding, burping, wiping, bathing, holding and cuddling, and finally, putting them to bed. So it may feel next to impossible to find the time and muster up the courage to face your household chores. Luckily, before your children can walk, you don’t need to worry about a mess scattered throughout the home. 

When your baby begins to crawl, they’re on the move and they will start getting into anything and everything within reach. However, keeping your house clean with a toddler is probably the biggest challenge. No matter what stage your child is at, the minute you’re finished cleaning one mess, another one is waiting for you. Whether it’s toys scattered around the room, food smeared on your furniture, or tiny handprints left on your sliding glass door, there is always something to clean up. Here are some ways to stay ahead of the mess at every stage:

Keeping your home clean with an infant

  • Do laundry regularly. Laundry can become a time-consuming task if the clothes begin piling up.
  • Declutter and organize. Always have a designated spot for everything such as toys, baby clothes, medications, and bibs.
  • Keep diapers, cleaning cloths and wipes, and cleaning supplies stored in various areas throughout the home in case of an accident.
  • Clean your home before going to bed. Let’s face it, you’ll get better sleep knowing it’s been done.
  • Apply a fabric and upholstery protective spray to your furniture to prevent any stains from accidents or spills.
  • Lay down blankets to protect your carpet or area rug during tummy time or when changing their diaper.
  • Consider purchasing a handheld shampooer for your rug or carpet to keep your carpet clean and reach deeper dirt, food, or stains.
  • Place baby wipes and supplies out of reach of the baby, but keep them handy for any accidents.

Managing the mess with a crawling child

  • Keep markers, pens, or crayons out of your child’s reach to avoid any upholstery or walls from getting drawn on.
  • Use safe-spill drinking cups to avoid spills and stains.
  • Pack away any valuables and breakables, and any furniture or decor that could be damaged.
  • Store dry goods, heavy kitchen supplies, oils and spices, and sharp objects in an upper cabinet or a locked cabinet. 
  • Find a safe place for everything so it’s easy to return your house back to normal after your baby goes to sleep.
  • Purchase a basket or bin to hold your child’s toys. Having a set place for their toys can help to keep your house less cluttered.

Tidying up your home with a toddler

  • Create designated play areas in your home.
  • Establish a cleaning routine and have your toddler help out so they’re invested in the cleaning process too.
  • Consider placing rugs down to save your floors from scratches or dents.
  • Vacuum regularly to pick up any dirt or spilled food.
  • Give away or store any clothes, toys, or supplies that your toddler has outgrown.

Help them become friends before the birth…

Starting to introduce that Mommy is having another baby is so important to any other children living in the same household. Taking the time at least a few months before the birth to prepare yourself and the older child, will be a much easier transition than doing no preparation at all. The older the child the more they will understand, but for toddlers it can be more difficult. If there are already multiple siblings in the family, then the transition is usually smoother, however with an only child introducing that they will be ‘graduating’ to big sister/brother early on is important as pretty soon, they will have to learn to share you and your time – something they’ve never had to do before.

In the early months of pregnancy, start talking about babies and how little they are. If the child doesn’t yet know about pregnancy number 2, start asking them if they’d like a baby sister or brother, introduce the idea that it would be a positive change and they would have a friend to play with as the baby got older. If your child is young and can’t really communicate their feelings verbally, then still talking about having another baby in a natural way will slowly get them ready.

Explain to the child what is growing in Mummy’s tummy and that they are going to be the best big sister or brother, you can ask them to kiss, sing and read to mummy’s tummy to help encourage them to accept a second child and start a bond between them both.

Reading child friendly books are fantastic ways to help prepare for their ‘big sister/brother’ role.

Book titles:

  • We’re Having A Baby – Marion Cocklico
  • Mommy’s Having A Baby – Braylen Jefferson
  • I’m Going To Be A Big Sister – Brenda Bercun
  • I’m Going To Be A Big Brother – Brenda Bercun
  • Babies Don’t Eat Pizza – Dianne Danzig
  • Brand New Baby Blues – Kathi Appelt
  • My New Baby – Rachel Fuller
  • There’s A House Inside My Mummy – Giles Andreae
  • Waiting For Baby – Rachel Fuller

Getting a baby doll is a great visual aid, this helps your child understand what the baby will look like once it arrives. You could buy a dolls cot, bottle and pram and allow them to explore through pretend and imaginative play. Show them how to rock the baby, feed it and stop them crying. Taking the doll on outings with you in the day, is another great way to slowly introduce baby number 2 into their life.

Get the older siblings photos/baby book out. Little children love looking at themselves as a baby and if you have photos from when you were pregnant with them, show them and explain how your tummy changed and got bigger as they grew. Taking your child to a baby scan is also another special bonding activity, but if this isn’t an option you could always just show them the baby scan pictures when you get back.

Take your child out on baby related shopping trips and allow them to pick out a few clothes, maybe even the outfit the baby will return home from the hospital in. Don’t forget to get your older child something too, maybe a special outfit to wear when visiting the baby for the first time. They could also help you find nursery furniture, this all helps with the bonding process. If you have an active toddler who’s not into shopping, then have them ‘help’ assemble the baby’s cot or draw a picture to hang in the nursery.

If your child isn’t interested in anything to do with another baby, leave it a few weeks and then try introducing it again. Sure enough they will come around. Like I said, the earlier you introduce the idea that your having a baby, the more time you have to prepare.

Most importantly, remember not to stress! Thousands of babies are born everyday with siblings already waiting to meet them and not every transition or first meeting goes well and that’s okay, it is just a matter of time, sure enough it will become their ‘normal’ very quickly.