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When your precious grandkids come to visit, you’ll want to be certain you’ve done everything possible to keep them safe. If your baby proofing experience dates back decades, a few reminders can help. These tips from a grandmother will guide you through babyproofing how-tos, including covering outlets to putting away your meds.
Danger Zones for Grandbabies
Remember when you had your first baby? Along with that little bundle of joy came a host of new things you needed to learn, like how to use a car seat on a plane. Babyproofing your home ranked near the top of the list. The first few months were easy enough, but when those little darlings start crawling, everything changed. All at once, your home became a dangerous obstacle course. Eye-level outlets beckoned. A dropped pill on the floor became candy. And, an open cabinet door offered a new place to explore.
When you become a grandparent, it starts all over again. Assuming your grandbaby visits occasionally, this room-by-room guide offers practical advice and reminders to help us prep for visits from our little treasures. Remember, as grandparents, we may little some of the rules slide, but safety is non-negotiable.
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Kids in the Kitchen
Kitchens present a plethora of child safety challenges. From a tempting stove knob to a within reach handle of a pan filled with hot water, trouble lurks at every turn. Removable table bumpers keep sharp edges from being problematic. And remember, a tablecloth within reach is a hard temptation to resist. Little one can pull down plates, hot foods and liquids on themselves with a tug.
Here are a few additional safety tips to baby proof your kitchen:
- Use your stove’s back burners and keep pot handles turned to the back of the stove.
- Keep hot foods and drinks away from the edges of tables and counters.
- Don’t allow young children to use a microwave oven alone.
- Don’t leave a baby alone in a highchair. Keep your baby safe by always using safety straps.
Baby Proof Cabinets
When my son (now 41) was a baby, he loved to play in one of our kitchen cabinets. I stocked it with plastic toys, an old pot and a wooden spoon which he, of course, used as a drum. As for the other cabinets, it was hands off. We added cabinet locks to all the lower cabinets.
And for several years, cleaning products were kept on higher shelves. If, like me, you’ve resumed placing cleaning products under the kitchen sink, adding a cabinet lock will keep your precious grandbaby safe. While locked cabinets may not be necessary for everything, a quick survey of any with potentially dangerous contents like choking hazards or plastic bags which present a suffocation risk should also be secured.
Baby Proof Drawers
Any kitchen drawers containing sharp objects like cutlery or small tools and scissors should also be secured with plastic or magnetic locks. Adhesive-based straps offers another option for a temporary latch.
Keep the Living Room Livable and Safe
Chances are you’ll spend the majority of time with your grandkids in the living room when they visit. Safety precautions change as they grow and become more independently mobile, but here are a few key things to consider:
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- Be sure to remove breakable objects from the coffee table. Also, consider adding a temporary safety bumpers to soften the sharp corners.
- Cords and drawstrings to tempting window blinds and curtains need to be kept out of reach.
- Don’t allow electrical cords to dangle within reach of a child.
- Lock doors that go outside, to stairs or to garages.
- Always keep an eye on your grandbaby near larger furniture items like bookshelves or a big screen TV.
Baby Proof a Fireplace
That crackling fire we love to see in the fireplace can actually backfire with a little one around. If you’re planning to light a fire while the grandkids are in the house, it’s best to create a barrier between the flames and their little fingers. A baby gate or some other type of safety gate will do the trick. And, of course, never little a child unattended near a burning fire. Be sure to test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector to ensure both are working properly if you plan to light a fire.
Even if you’re not using the fireplace, the hearth’s sharp edges can present a hazard to little ones running around playing. Soften the corners by stacking pillows at the edges.
Baby Proof Outlets
Nothing is more tempting to a crawling baby than an electrical outlet. It’s within reach and has those oh so fascinating holes to poke things into. Outlet covers come in a variety of styles and most are inexpensive. Even if your little one only visits occasionally, it’s best to cover outlets. Simple outlet plugs usually come in clear plastic to make them less noticeable to the kiddos and cost between $2 to $5 per pack. However, if you need to use the outlet, you’ll need to remove the plug. Just be sure not to leave it lying around to prevent it from becoming a choking hazard.
At the next level, installing outlet covers make a great addition to every room. Simply slide the cover out of the way and plug in the cords when you need to. When you unplug, the cover slides back over the holes to protect your sweet little explorer.
Baby Proof a Christmas Tree
One legendary Christmas when my son was a toddler, I took the cutest photo of him standing in front of the Christmas tree with his hands behind his back. It was monumental, considering the year prior he had pulled the tree over more than once. Ultimately his dad had to move the tree to a corner and tie it to a stack of free weights too heavy for baby to move. Clearly, I knew nothing about child proofing a Christmas tree back then!
What I’ve learned I’m happy to pass on to you. First, keep the expensive breakable ornaments near the top of the tree. Or at least out of the child’s reach. Soft non-breakable ornaments are ideal for the bottom of the tree. If young children want to play with these, no problem.
Block off the tree with decorative indoor fencing or a series of baby gates if you prefer to keep the grandkids completely away from the tree.
Bedrooms, Bathrooms and Off Limit Areas
If you’re setting up a room for your grandbaby, be sure to keep the baby’s crib and changing table away from window blind cords and drawstrings. A baby monitor offers peace of mind for you while your little one sleeps.
In the bathroom, remember to keep your medications put away, hot curling irons out of reach and toilet lids closed.
Baby Proof Door Handles
A determined toddler will do her best to open door handles to off limit areas. To keep her from succeeding, consider using inexpensive round plastic covers. These require you to push a button and turn which is too difficult for young children.
Babyproofing: It’s All Worth It!
All of this sounds like a lot of work, but most of it is just common sense. Amazon will likely become your favorite website when you’re pulling all of this together–a luxury I didn’t have when my kids were little. But remember, nothing is too much trouble when it comes to spending time with our grandbabies!