Many new parents understand how important it is to ensure that their home is ready for the arrival of their new baby. In fact, baby proofing their home is often something parents do before they even bring their infant home from the hospital. While your baby will not be able to get into much trouble on their own, at least for awhile, it is important to take some precautions to ensure their ongoing safety.
For example, using covers for electrical outlets can help avoid potentially serious accidents. Additionally, child safety gates, cordless window blinds and other safety precautions can go a long way to prevent household accidents. However, one area of baby proofing that many parents fail to even consider is in the use of hand-me-down furnishings. It can be great to have family and friends pass along items for your baby, especially big ticket items like a crib, swing, stroller or car seat, but you need to be sure that these items are safe.
Many products have been the subject of safety recalls, be sure to check that the items you are using are not on the CPSC list of recalled products. Crib slats that are too far apart can create a strangulation hazard, mattresses that do not fit properly can result in suffocation; knowing which products can be hazardous is extremely important for your child's safety. Additionally, never use a second-hand car seat unless you are absolutely certain that it has never been involved in an accident.
Baby proofing your home requires much more than simply putting items up out of reach of curious hands. In fact, as your infant gets older, you will need to be even more diligent in providing a safe environment. Consider safety latches for cabinet doors and drawers, a safety closure for refrigerators, toilets and even entire rooms, and of course, stairs should be protected with a child safety gate. The items you can use for protecting your child are extensive, but a thorough inspection of your home will help you identify potential threats.
If you have a swimming pool, you might want to consider having several lines of defense. Accidental drownings are all too frequent, especially in areas where pools are common. As a minimum, you should have a child safety fence surrounding your pool; however, door alarms to notify you if a child has opened a door leading to a pool area can also be helpful. It is important to realize that backyard pools are not the only potential drowning hazard. Small children have been known to drown in a bathtub with only a few inches of water, a bucket left unattended or even the toilet bowl. It is imperative that these hazards be properly monitored to ensure a child friendly environment.