Baby Must-Haves: Safety Gear
Childproofing your home isn't just essential for safeguarding your baby: It's important to your own peace of mind. The safer your child's surroundings and the more familiar you are with potential household dangers and how to prevent them, the easier it will be to relax and enjoy your time with your family.
That said, all the outlet covers and cabinet locks in the world can't replace vigilance, so consider these items as tools to help make your home safe -- not replacements for your watchful eye.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors There should be one in or near each bedroom, and one near the kitchen. One family-friendly idea: the Vocal Smoke Alarm ($30) lets you record a message, which alternates with a siren. (Research shows that Mom's voice is more effective than traditional alarms.) You can also find combo smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Whatever model you choose, be sure to replace batteries every six months.
- Fire extinguisher Besides a regular extinguisher, it's a good idea to keep a compact, one-time use version in the kitchen, like First Alert's Tundra Fire Suppressant ($20). It'll put out small household fires, including cooking oil flare-ups.
- Lower cabinet and drawer locks (ideally, move any dangerous items, like knives or cleaners, to higher storage). We especially like the KidCo Adhesive Mount Magnet Lock Starter Set ($16) for its easy installation (no tools needed!); a magnetic key gives you - but not your child - easy access to cabinets and drawers.
- Stove knob covers (to prevent little hands from turning on a burner). Also remember to cook on the rear burners and turn pot handles toward the back so that your child can't reach them.
- Oven lock
- Toilet seat locks
- Tub spout cover (set your hot water heater to 120 degrees, or buy anti-scald devices -- for around $100 -- and install on faucets). One cute option: a turtle-shaped Spout Protector ($5; above).
- Corner and edge bumpers These are a must on coffee table corners and raised fireplace hearths. Your child might try to pull them off, but give them a try.