You want to keep your baby safe, but after a few hours of trying to attach cabinet locks you may find yourself wondering if it's really worth the effort. According to KidsHealth, "household injuries are one of the top reasons kids under age three visit the ER," which means baby-proofing is a must. However, that doesn't mean it's easy. Get down to your baby's level if you want to figure out what baby-proofing you can do on your own and when you'll need to call in the pros for help.
While baby-proofing professionals generally cover all of the bases, they don't know your baby. As part of its advice on baby-proofing, Wake Forest Health reminds parents that homes are like a playground to babies. You must look around to see what your baby can climb on top of, pull out, tip over or stick her fingers in. Before she even arrives you can start baby-proofing by making sure all baby products on hand meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's safety standards. Remember that baby-proofing is an ongoing process. As your child develops new skills and interests, you may have to secure new areas or items in your home.
Get Down on Your Baby's Level
One thing the pros know to do is to assess the situation from the baby's level. Has your baby started crawling? Get down on your hands and knees and follow him around the house, looking for electrical outlets, unstable furniture and other unsafe objects or areas. Covering outlets and blocking stairways are no-brainers, but knowing to move heavy books out of your baby's reach or hide a lamp cord may not be apparent until you start crawling around the house.
Choosing Baby-Proofing Products
A professional will likely know which products work best, but you can find out the same information on your own. Ask friends with kids what products have worked for them and which ones haven't worked. You may discover that those cheap plastic outlet covers spend more time in baby's mouth than in the outlets they're designed to hide. Even if you don't want to hire a professional, you can consult a professional baby-proofing company for advice on what products to buy. Many such companies allow you to buy products directly from them. While you might spend more money, you'll know you're getting a quality product.
You can baby-proof as well as the pros in many situations, but if you're not particularly handy around the house or don't feel confident that you've covered all your bases, it may be time to call in the pros. Remember that professionals know how to find many of the hidden dangers that parents miss. They can also help handle tricky situations, such as wobbly staircases, or get the job done quickly, which can be a benefit for parents who simply don't have the time to do it on their own before their baby becomes mobile.