The Ultimate Baby Proofing Guide
Home is where the heart is, but it's also where crawling babies and curious tots can cause serious injury to themselves. Keep your little one safe with baby proofing gear such baby gates, child monitors, safety locks and guards, and pacifiers and teethers, that are specially designed for children's safety.
Baby Proofing: Bring On the Baby Gates
When you hear the phrase, "baby proofing," the first things that may come to mind are baby gates, and rightfully so. Baby gates keep early cruisers from entering certain areas of the house, tumbling down staircases and exploring rooms too "freely." While they aren't "one size fits all," there is one for every size room, staircase, and doorway. Think your extra-wide doorways can't be "kid-proofed?" Think again. Hardware mounted safety gates bolt to framing inside the walls and are ideal for baby proofing stairways. An important thing to remember about this style of baby gate is to install it so that the door opens away from the staircase (in case it is accidentally swung open).
Pressure mounted gates fit between two walls and hold in place by pressure, or tension. As a result, this style should never be used near stairs, as a child's body weight could easily dislodge the gate and cause them to fall down the stairs. Pressure mounted gates can be made of wood, metal or plastic and are the perfect solution for blocking access to a room that is potentially unsafe, such as a kitchen or bathroom.
Freestanding gates provide what the name suggests: a freestanding or enclosed space for baby to safely play. Many parents enjoy the mobility of freestanding gates as well as the versatility they offer. Extra-wide baby gates are perfect for homes that have gaping doorways or an open floor plan. This type of baby gate typically comes in both hardware mounted, and pressure mounted styles. Always remember, while baby gates substantially reduce the risk of injury, accidents can still happen if baby is in a push-pull toy near the stairs, carried by a distracted or encumbered adult, or the stairs are cluttered. It's best to be smart, take the proper precautions and always monitor your child near stairways.
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Baby Proofing: Let's Hear it for Locks & Guards
The baby gates are up, and you can breathe a sigh of relief. Your home is successfully baby proofed, or so you think. While protecting large areas and staircases are important, it's crucial you see things from your little wanderer's perspective.
Electrical outlets, which are (not-so-conveniently) located at eye level for tiny tots, are probably one of the first things you will notice. Carefully look around each room and find all of the outlets. Seal vacant outlets, whether baby can reach them or not, with plastic covers or sliding switch plates. Outlet covers are great baby proofing products to install first. They quickly give you peace of mind with minimal investment.
Edges and corners are likely the next things that jump out at you as being dangerous. Keep bumps and bruises at bay with cushioned corner guards and edging. They can attach to end tables, fireplace hearths, corners of the hallway, and more. Attach covers over stove knobs and in front of stovetop ranges to prevent your curious child from turning on the burner or pulling a hot pot onto themselves. Don't forget to remove all step stools and ladders from the kitchen as well to limit accessibility to out-of-reach items. If you are cozying up with your kiddo, fireplace guards are a good idea for crawlers and toddlers alike to prevent them from coming "face-to-face" with an edge or corner.
Cabinets, drawers and doors are intriguing to little ones. They're unbelievably attractive to open and close, but this interest can result in pinched fingers and bumps from sharp corners. Install finger pinch guards on all door hinges to protect your baby's tiny hands and remove rubber caps from mounted door stoppers, as they are a choking hazard. In both the kitchen and bathroom, install safety latches on all drawers and cabinets. Look for a secure lock to place on bathroom toilets to keep lids closed and avoid accidental drowning (which can occur in less than 2-inches of water). Does your little one always think it's bathtime? Cover the bathtub faucet with a spout guard to prevent possible burns (ouchy, too hot!) and bumps to the head.
Windows are often missed when baby proofing a home, but the potential to fall from one or be injured by drapery is nothing to ignore. Keep your little one safe with the installation of window guards or window locks to prevent accidental falls. While you're at it, swap out window blinds that feature cords or strings for safer window coverings, such as cordless options. You can also modify existing blinds with window blind cord wind ups.
When it comes to baby proofing your home room by room, there are many uses for safety locks and guards. Take advantage of the many baby proofing sets and kits top brands offer that include various combinations of these items and more. In no time, you'll be saying, "home safe home."
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Baby Proofing: Peace Of Mind with Child Monitors
Some say that parents have "eyes in the back of their heads," but that phrase rings even more true thanks to today's child monitors. While nothing can replace your close proximity and watchful eye, modern baby monitors offer an extra set of ears (and even eyes, if you want). With so many options, it's most important you purchase one that fits your needs and makes you confident baby is safe and sound. All baby monitors provide either audio or audio and video, and within those types, you'll find both digital and analog versions.
Aside from transmitting sound and images, other things to consider when buying a monitor include the frequency band, battery life, sound and light options, volume control, temperature sensors, motion and sound sensors, night vision, and 2-way talking capabilities. While some parents prefer the classic audio-only baby monitor other moms and dads are drawn to the appeal of an audio and video child monitor that offer both sound and picture display. For parents that want it all from their mobile device, models that are app-controlled from anywhere to monitor temperature, humidity, and noise, while also providing soothing lullabies and night lights, may be a fitting choice.
Regardless of whether you choose an audio or audio and video child monitor, pick a model that has multiple units and can be powered by both battery and an A/C adapter to ensure you're always plugged into baby's well-being. You could also consider purchasing a monitor that comes with a waistband clip to free your hands (and forgetful mind) as well as audio and video models that can display split screens for when you have more than one monitor running (perfect for families with multiple youngsters to keep an eye on). Baby monitors are not medical devices and, as such, cannot prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Therefore, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your baby's sleep, speak with your healthcare provider.