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Baby Proofing Basics

Kitchen

The kitchen is a very busy place in any home. To a curious crawler, the kitchen can seem like a fascinating playground. Cabinet and drawer locks should be first on your list of baby-proofing items to buy. There are several different types in stores; do your research and choose the one that best fits your cabinets and drawers. Some require hardware and tools to install. It may be a good idea to leave one cabinet unlocked that is safe for a baby to explore. Store plastic containers in this cabinet, as well as a few pots and pans and wooden or plastic serving spoons. While you are working in the kitchen, your baby will enjoy exploring the cabinet and will be distracted from the cabinets that are locked. All knives, kitchen cleaning products and foods should be stored either up high or behind a locked cabinet or drawer. Also available are stove knob covers and oven locks. If necessary, refrigerator and pantry locks are also popular choices. Garbage cans should be kept behind a locked cabinet or pantry door or should be covered. All appliances with electrical cords should be stored up high with the cords unreachable or behind a locked cabinet door.

Playroom

Have a safe play space for mobile babies to explore. This space can be a bedroom, a designated playroom, or even a sectioned-off place in your living room. All unused outlets should be covered with plastic outlet covers, available anywhere baby products are sold. Any heavy furniture, including dressers and televisions can be attached to the floor or wall with anchors. Remove all debris from the floor regularly. Small toys and other objects can quickly become choking hazards in the hands of a toddler. Be sure that all toys available to your baby are age-appropriate. Anything with small pieces meant for an older child should be kept away from your baby's designated play space.

Helpful Tips

Crawl through your house on your knees to notice hazards that you may not have noticed otherwise. Fix these hazards as you find them. Remind older children that small objects are to be kept away from babies and toddlers. Test child locks monthly to be sure they are in good working order. Shorten cords on window blinds. These can easily wind around a child's neck and present a strangulation hazard. Blinds should be pulled to their highest position when children are present in the room. The inner cords of these blinds can become strangulation hazards as well. Replace outlet covers immediately after unplugging appliances such as vacuum cleaners.

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