Pregnancy Magazine

COVER-PREGNANCY-GEARPublished in: Pregnancy Magazine
Published: Fall 2008

By Krista Watterworth, HGTV Host, Interior Designer and Mother of One

It’s as if it happens in slow motion: Your baby’s tiny hands, wet with apple juice, inch closer and closer to a non-protected outlet as sprint from across the room to stop avert catastrophe. Yikes!

The best time to plan your baby proofing is now. You can do it yourself for a fraction of what it would cost to hire a professional, and a few good pieces of advice go a long way. While it certainly doesn’t behoove you to turn your home into a padded cell, if you address the most essential hazards thoroughly, your baby will be just fine. Here are my top five issues to address before baby starts crawling.

1. Spiky Corners

Reconsider any furniture with metal, glass and sharp wood edges.  If possible, swap these for padded and functional pieces such as upholstered or rounded ottomans and side tables. More permanent fixtures, such as fireplace edges and radiator covers, require special attention.

Surfsidebaby.com offers three sizes of Padded Table Shields in non-toxic, flame retardant material ($25 to $49). These stretch around the entire outer edge of a table and do not require adhesion.

Corner and Edge Cushions soften edges with foam but are adhered to surfaces which can damage furniture.  Substitute Velcro for the included double stick tape in case baby likes to pull the edges off.  Onestepahead.com offers a set of four Corner Cushions as well as a 12-foot strip ($8 to $15).

2. A Gated Community

You may not have a flat surface to make hanging gates easy.  Decorative moldings and posts, wrought iron railings, or a brick wall can cause some installation issues. Target.com offers a variety of wall or pressure hung, roller shade or angle mounted gates in various materials ($30 to $200). Consider installing a 2×4 piece of wood to provide a flat surface. And don’t forget to gate off the fireplace!

3. Latch It

Not all latches are created equal, and they won’t work on all cabinets. The Tot Lock is my favorite because it can be deactivated when it’s not in use, it’s strong, and it won’t pinch fingers.  It takes time to install but it’s worth it. You can find it at babysupermall.com ($11).

4. Guard the Windows

We all need a little fresh air,  so it’s important to open your windows.  Most high-rise buildings require window guards on all windows but it’s also highly recommended for single family residences. If you have a window seat, second- or third-story windows,  a window next to a toilet, and windows low to the floor, then use window stops, locks or cables. The Super Stopper ($7) from Kidsafeinc.com is a great place to start. Don’t forget brackets to wind up or cut cords from vertical blinds and drapery.

5. Electricity!

The standard plastic outlet plug can be easily removed and become a choking hazard. Leviton Child-Proof Wall Plates sliding outlet covers and outlet cover boxes can be found at smarthome.com ($6).  Also necessary are power strip covers offered by Kidsafeinc.com ($10). As a matter of fact, block off all access under desks. Keep your hair dryer or curling iron away from the tub!

Follow Your Gut

Now that you’re a mom, go ahead and follow that instinct that warns you when something feels unsafe for your baby. More often than not, it’s spot on.

Other Important Safety Gear:

•    Smoke Detectors on every level of your home
•    Carbon Monoxide Detector outside bedrooms
•    Cordless Phone for mobility
•    Door Locks and Door Knob Covers
•    Anti-Scald Devices for faucets and shower heads
•    Door Holders and Door Stops

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