Bringing a new baby home for the first time is an exciting moment in any woman’s life. In the weeks leading up to the grand arrival, however, the sheer volume of baby-preparation items on your to-do list can be staggering. One of the most important things on that list is making sure that your baby’s room is properly childproofed so that it’s truly the soothing sanctuary a nursery is intended to be.
Get Started Early
Before your baby is born, or when she’s still a very small infant, baby-proofing can seem like a task that’s easily put off. After all, it’s not like a newborn is particularly mobile, right? Actually, knocking out your childproofing chores before the baby arrives or when she’s still very small is a good idea. Babies reach milestones more quickly than you realize and time will be at a premium from the moment you bring your new baby home. Making sure that her room is safe, even when she’s too young to properly explore it, is a smart move.
Skip the Cutesy Bedding
Choosing the bedding and décor scheme for your new baby’s nursery is one of the high points when it comes to preparing for your bundle of joy’s arrival. Thick blankets, fluffy pillows and plush toys, however, are actually discouraged strongly by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and entire cities have banned crib bumpers due to their link to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. If you just can’t resist creating a nursery worthy of a magazine layout, remember to remove everything from the crib before putting your new baby down for a nap.
Keep Window Treatments Safe
Making sure that the sun isn’t shining on your baby’s small, delicate face while he’s trying to sleep is an admirable effort, but you’ll also want to make sure that his crib is situated far enough from windows that he can’t access it, and that the cords on the window treatments are properly secured. Dangling cords and tie-backs can present a strangulation risk when your baby gets older, so this is one baby-proofing step you certainly don’t want to miss.
Double-Check Used Baby Gear
Baby items are expensive, and a fully-stocked nursery requires a lot of them. There’s nothing wrong with saving money by opting for second-hand gear or with preserving a sense of tradition by using heirloom items. What you will want to do, however, is ensure that all of those items meet modern safety guidelines and that any paint on them isn’t lead-based.
Choose Low-VOC Paint
The wall color of any room sets the tone for the entire space, so it’s natural that you’ll want to start painting the nursery as soon as possible. Making sure that your baby won’t be exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals needs to be a priority, though. Choosing paints that are low in volatile organic compounds is advised, as the chemicals found in traditional paint have been linked to everything from asthma to certain types of cancer.
Cover Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlets are fascinating to little ones, and they’re incredibly dangerous. Making sure that all the outlets, especially those that are within Baby’s reach, are outfitted with childproofing covers is the most effective method of ensuring that she doesn’t hurt herself.
Avoid Furniture with Sharp Edges
There’s a reason why the lines on most nursery furniture are rounded. When your baby starts crawling and eventually learning to walk, he’ll encounter his share of falls along the way. Colliding with a hard, rounded surface is still likely to be painful, but not as harmful as landing on a sharp corner that can cut into delicate skin.
Keep Cords Out of Reach
If you’ll be plugging lamps and other electrical items into the wall outlets, be sure that all of the cords are properly secured. It’s easy for a baby to pull these things down onto himself when he’s looking for leverage to stand or simply curious about what will happen when a cord gets a sharp tug. Placing cords behind furniture so that Baby’s inquisitive fingers aren’t able to access them and securing loose ones so that they’re not dangling attractively is wise.
Install Window Guards
The last thing you want is for a fire escape route out of your baby’s room to be blocked, but you also don’t want him to take a tumble out of an open window. Even a fall from a first-floor window can be dangerous for such a small person, so consider the installation of window guards on any window that isn’t part of your fire escape plan.