Grandma baby proofs her home

Great tips for keeping your baby safe

Great tips for keeping your baby safe

"911 what is your emergency?” This phrase played over and over in Ulster County grandma, Kim Ellis' dreams for months leading up to her granddaughter, Abi’s, arrival. Her granddaughter was coming to stay with her for three months. The last time She kept Abi, she was just a baby, but now she’s crawling! Here's Kim's side of the story.

As soon as she started to crawl, she began climbing on laundry baskets, sofas and getting into all sorts of mischief. Naturally, I started to worry about her staying in my New York home — which was definitely not built with small children in mind!

I was determined to turn my home into a space where Abi could play without the constant fear of injury. As I walked through my home, my head began to spin thinking of all the things that needed to be changed to ensure Abi’s safety. I was on a mission, but had no idea where to begin.

Identify hazards

We have open stairs, a loft with horizontal bars and many boxes filled with potentially hazardous objects. We did, however, renovate the kitchen last spring with Abi in mind. We had drawer latches and double knob locks for each cabinet we installed and I moved the boxes and cans down to the lower shelves and the detergents and other chemicals to the top. 

When my own children were small, I always left one low drawer filled with plastic containers open so they had a space in the kitchen to play. After my minor success at “Abi-proofing” my kitchen, I decided it was time to tackle the entire house. I was a little overwhelmed, so I turned to friends for help.

Get perspective

The most common bit of advice I heard was to get down on the floor and look at your house from a crawling baby’s point of view.  Although I felt and looked silly, I promptly got down on all fours and inspected each room of the house to see what needed to be changed. I was shocked at what I found.

In the living room, I had exposed electrical outlets, tons of loose wires and exposed power strips. I also had poisonous plants and unanchored furniture that needed to be secured. I was almost afraid to venture into the other rooms after discovering all the things that needed to be fixed in the living room, but I quickly reminded myself to toughen up and do what’s best for Abi. So onward I crawled!

Stay vigilant

In each room, I made sure to cover unused electrical outlets with  plastic covers. Then I rolled up all the loose wires and carefully tucked them away. I neatly tucked away the plastic bags that were scattered around my kitchen and moved all medicine to our locked medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

I was amazed to find that childproofing is honestly an ongoing, daily task. I’ve tried to make it a habit to scan counters, furniture surfaces and floors for small objects, coins and anything else that could be dangerous.  I'm also constantly on the lookout for new safety products on the market.

READ MORE: Predict your child's height!

Think outside the box

When it comes to babyproofing, don’t stop with the larger features of your home. Sometimes the things you never thought could possibly pose a threat can be highly dangerous to little ones. Here are some interesting things I never thought could be dangerous to little ones.

A purse. Most women carry dangerous items such as medicines, lotions, nail scissors and small objects in their purse. These items can pose a major threat to curious tots.

The diaper bag. Like mom's purse, diaper bags often contain tubes of lotions, wipes and other items that should not go into little mouths.

The laundry room. Think about it, all the detergents, chemicals, heavy equipment, not to mention the hot iron!

The family pet. Introducing a pet to an active baby is a topic worthy of a book. Both the dog and the toddler need training!

The garage. That's an area that can be full of hazards, including chemicals, tools, and unstable shelves. Children do have a tendency to get into places one doesn’t expect them to, so childproof your garage, too.

The backyard. Check the yard for equipment with sharp edges or splinters.

Kim Ellis is a writer, teacher, mother, and grandmother. She lives with her husband in Ulster County.