I never was a fan of baby proofing… so much that I never even really did it (the way you’re supposed to, anyways). Two years ago, I even went on a crazy rant about how much I was opposed to the very idea of it, somehow thinking in the back of my mind that, if I gave in and ‘safety-fied’ my home, I’d somehow become a lazier mother. I also didn’t want my house to totally lose it’s style with a bunch of stick ‘em padded thingys everywhere you turned (I know how vain that sounds). Guess what: My kids bump their heads on corners and fall out of their high chairs and booster seats despite my hawk eye.
Now, as a mom of two (who’s had her share of safety scares at home), I do suggest baby proofing the major stuff. (Don’t tell my self from two years ago.) Baby proofing is backup should you take your eyes off your tot at any given second. Because that’s all it takes for something scary to happen: A SECOND. Here are a few INCONSPICUOUS products and tips you can DO that will keep you on that safety track (without too many stick ‘em padded thingys catching your eye).
1) Adjust your water heater to prevent tap water scalding: Tap water can reach temperatures of 150° F, which can burn adult skin in 2 seconds. Preventing injuries from scalding tap water is simple and only requires adjusting your hot water heater once (test your tap by setting it to hottest setting, filling up a measuring cup, checking temp with kitchen/meat thermometer… if thermometer reaches above 120° F, adjust the maximum temp on your home’s hot water heater to no more than 120° F). One less thing to worry about during baby’s bath time.
2) Get clear electrical outlet plugs and stick them into every reachable open plug around your house. Just do it (although I personally never understood how this outlet plug allegedly happens, but apparently it does). I promise that you won’t see the plugs and it’s one less thing to worry about during baby’s curious playtime in living areas. (Remember to always keep electrical wires hidden/away from common areas too. Outta sight, outta mind.)
3) Get the padded corner edges that are the same color as your furniture. There’s brown, black, grey, tan, white… it’s almost as though some overly-style conscious mom has gotten ahold of the safety companies and demanded that they make stick ‘em padded thingys to specifically match (as inconspicuously as possible) every kind of furniture (wood, glass, lacquered/painted). Don’t forget to stick those suckers on your fireplace hearth too (that’s a crazy dangerous place in addition to coffee and end tables).
4) Get the cabinet locks that you must install from the inside of the cabinet. It takes a bit more effort, but will keep your kitchen void of any indication that there are small children ready to bust out your baking gear at any time. And you won’t even know they’re there.
5) When cooking, turn the handles of your pots and pans (on the stove) inwards so that nothing is peeking or poking over the edge of your countertop. Also make sure that you never – NEVER – leave cups, bowls, containers, new pets (see picture), utensils (knives!) near the edge of tables/counters. Remember that curious hands like to test how tall they are and reach and grab anything they can see from their vantage point on the ground… picture objects on your countertop falling on your little one’s head. Enough said.
6) Write out directions of “What to Do” in case of cuts, burns and other potential household accidents and put these instructions in an easy-to-get-to place. What to do with a bleeding cut. What to do should someone get scalded/burned. What to do should someone drink Windex. These notes will not only help you remember the steps of how to react in emergency, but it may also help a sitter, a grandparent or your spouse. (These notes all in addition to a list of emergency numbers of who to call in case of emergency.)
DO YOU HAVE *INCONSPICUOUS* BABY PROOFING TIPS?