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When babies begin to crawl, their curiosity has no limits.
Therefore, it is your job to protect your baby from potential hazards.
Start childproofing your house before your baby begins to crawl, i.e., around four to five months.
Install baby gates and latches to restrict access to rooms, cabinets, and drawers.
Place objects that are easily breakable and that contain small parts up high and away from your baby’s reach.
Remember that the best way to keep your baby safe is to supervise it at all times.
Preparing to Childproof Your House
Childproof your house when your baby is 4 to 5 months old.
The average baby begins to crawl at eight months, which means that some babies begin crawling even earlier at six or seven months.
By starting early, you will have more time to thoroughly check your house and create a safe environment for your baby when it begins to crawl.
Get on your hands and knees.
Getting on all fours is a great way to see potentially dangerous objects and situations that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Go through your house on all fours and make a note of all potential dangers and hazards.
Then, make a list of all the materials you will need to child proof your house and go shopping.
Purchase a playpen.
Because playpens are movable, they are a very convenient way to supervise your baby when moving through different areas of your house.
Playpens are also great for supervising your baby when you are busy cleaning and cooking, or if you need time to relax or catch up on work.
Purchase a playpen online or at a department store like Babies R’ Us, Sears, Target, or Wal-Mart.
If using a second-hand playpen, thoroughly check it for loose parts and damage before using it.
Installing Gates and Latches
Install safety gates.
Install safety gates in front of rooms and areas that contain potential hazards like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and older siblings’ rooms.
Purchase gates that mount into the wall instead of pressure gates.
Pressure gates are ineffective because babies can knock them down if they use them to stand up, or if they push on them too hard.
If your house has stairs, make sure to install mounted safety gates at the bottom and top of the stairs.
Also, place screens in front of fireplaces.
Use child-guard latches
Install child-guard latches on cabinets and drawers that contain objects and materials that are potentially hazardous.
For example, install latches on cabinets and drawers that contain household chemicals, medicines/vitamins, toiletries, sharp objects like scissors and knives, and other potentially harmful products and objects.
Use trash bins with child-resistant covers.
Fill and unlock one cabinet with baby-safe toys and objects in order to divert your baby from off-limits cabinets.
Mount heavy furniture to the wall.
Because crawling babies might use large pieces of furniture to stand up, you will want to mount these to the wall.
This will prevent large furniture from falling over and injuring your child.
Use wall anchors to secure furniture to the wall.
You can purchase wall mounts from your local hardware store.
Mount standing bookcases, shelves, cabinets, and other unstable pieces of furniture to the wall.
Secure second-story windows.
Use either window locks or screens to secure these windows.
These safety measures will prevent your baby from climbing out of a window.
Additionally, secure long chords from drapes and blinds by rolling them up and placing them out of reach.
Supervise your baby at all times.
A crawling baby needs constant supervision.
Being proactive and supervising your baby at all times is the best way to keep it safe.
If you cannot supervise your baby, either place it in a secure playpen, its crib, or a swing until you can resume supervising it.
Place safety caps in electrical outlets.
Also, secure electrical chords to the floor or place them behind furniture to prevent your baby from pulling, swinging, and tripping on them.
Secure chords to the floor and sides of the furniture with electrical tape.
Secure lamps and other objects that contain chords to the furniture they are sitting on top of with electrical tape or weights.
Place tall lamps that can topple over easily behind furniture.
Place breakable objects up high.
Place them on the top level of a shelf or in a high cabinet.
Place sharp objects or objects that contain sharp pieces up high in a cabinet, as well.
Make sure the shelves you place these objects on are sturdy.
Because household cleaners emit toxic vapors, it is also recommended that you place these up high and away from your baby.
Remove choking hazards.
As a general rule of thumb, any object that fits inside a cardboard toilet paper roll should be removed and placed in a secure area.
Also, make sure your baby’s toys do not contain beads, eyes, ribbons, buttons and other small pieces that your baby can pull off and choke on.
Toys and objects that also have long chords and/or strings, or that are heavy should be removed and secured.
Remove larger objects that contain small pieces that your baby can pull off and choke on as well.
Place them up high or in a cabinet with a safety latch.
Pad sharp corners.
Pad the sharp corners and edges of furniture and structures, like fireplaces, with edge guards.
You can purchase rubber or plastic edge guards online or from a department store like Babies R’ Us, Target, Sears, or Wal-Mart.
Because babies can pull on them, do not place table cloths or place mats on tables and side tables.
Use verbal cues
Your child is not too young to understand the word no.
Therefore, while supervising your baby, make sure to use verbal cues to indicate which actions and objects are off limits.
The more you reinforce this, the sooner and better your baby will understand which behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate.
Use verbal cues like “no,” “that’s not yours,” and/or “no touching.”