Tips to Prepare Your Living Quarters for Baby
Preparing for an addition to the family is a busy — but also incredibly exciting — time. You’ve got doctor appointments, showers, classes and more on your plate.
And, on top of it all, you’re supposed to get the house ready for a new baby before it’s even here?
Relax. Baby-proofing your home doesn’t need to be stressful. Most of the tasks, in fact, are quite easy, and these tips will help you get started.
General Baby-Proofing Tips
Whether you’re expecting a baby or you already have kids, you should do the following, according toKidsHealth.org:
- Learn the age-appropriate forms of CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home, with smoke detectors inside each bedroom and outside of sleeping areas, and check them regularly to ensure they are operating properly.
- Make a first-aid kit that contains emergency instructions.
- Keep a list near the phone with the following information for you and any caregivers:
- 1-800-222-1222: The number for the American Association of Poison Control Centers
- Cell-phone numbers or emergency contact information for family members, relatives and neighbors
- Your pediatrician’s phone number
Around the House
First of all, get a head start — tidy up wherever possible during those last few weeks of pregnancy, says organization expert Andrea Shirey, owner of Sigh of Relief Organizing in the Seattle area. “One of the good things about babies is that they don’t do much in the beginning, so you can ease into baby-proofing your home,” she says. “But you don’t want to be tripping over piles of laundry on the way to feeding your little peanut at 3 a.m.”
Here are some other tips from such experts as the National Safety Council (NSC) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):
- Keep long strings, cords or ribbons — and toys with them — away from infants and young children. Don’t ever hang such toys in a crib. And don’t attach pacifiers to strings or ribbons around a baby’s neck.
- Look around your house for small objects that can be swallowed. Even coins or a deflated balloon can pose a risk. Keep those items off of floors and tables.
- Use anti-scald devices for faucets and showerheads, and lower your water heater settings to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Bathwater for a baby should be 100 degrees Fahrenheit — always check the temperature with your wrist or elbow before putting in baby.
- Install corner and edge bumpers for tables and other furniture to help prevent injuries from falls once your baby turns into a toddler.
- Anchor heavy furniture and appliances that could fall on young children. Even a television or small bookshelf can cause significant injuries. These should be attached securely to the floor or a wall.
In the Nursery
Cribs made after 1974 must meet strict safety standards, according to the NSC. But, there are still things to watch for, regardless of when your crib was made, including:
- Make sure the mattress fits tightly, so there are no gaps that an infant could fall into.
- The crib should not have pillows, large stuffed animals, plastic sheets or other suffocation hazards.
- The crib should be placed away from windows and pull cords on window coverings. According to the CPSC, homes with young children should use cordless window coverings to prevent strangulation. The Window Covering Safety Council assists families that cannot afford new, cordless coverings.
Baby-proofing your home does more than simply keep your child safe — the peace of mind it provides will allow you to enjoy this special time with your little one. After all, it won’t be long until your baby becomes more mobile, and you’ll need to consider things such as cabinet locks, outlet covers and safety gates.
And, before you know it, you’ll be handing over the car keys and wondering where the years went.
Review Your Insurance Coverage Before Baby Arrives
Call your independent insurance agent about a month before your due date to discuss whether you need to update your car insurance, home insurance or renters insurance to account for this exciting new phase of life