Childproofing Your Home

A Tale of Two Bedrooms


If you have inherited a classic, wooden toy chest (or if you find one at a garage sale), chances are it has no safety features. You can create your own safety zone for fingers, however, by gluing small blocks of cork onto the two front corners of the opened chest. Virtually all modern toy chests incorporate a built-in space between the lid and the chest to guard against crushing fingers.

With the exception of the changing station, everything in your baby's bedroom should be totally safe for your baby. That way whenever your baby is in the nursery, whether playing, sleeping, or getting changed, you will be virtually worry-free.

In the play area, store the toys your baby likes best somewhere where he can easily reach them. Leave everything in plain sight in low, open shelves. If your baby sees something he wants to play with, he can get it himself without having to climb. Until he can stand and do something with his hands (lifting the lid) at the same time, a toy chest will not allow your baby this degree of independence, yet you may prefer the tidiness of a toy chest to open shelves (or you may have so many toys that you need both). If your baby's room does have a toy chest, make sure it cannot slam shut, crushing your baby's fingers.

Arrange the furniture so that your baby's crib, as well as any other furniture that he might climb on, is not next to a window. Then make it a rule that the side rail of the crib must be raised to the locked position whenever your baby is in the crib. If it gets cold, provide your baby with an appropriate number of thermal blankets, but never place an electric blanket in your baby's crib. An electric blanket and a wet diaper are a hazardous combination.

Speaking of diapers, make sure to keep your diaper pail(s) covered except when you're using them-not just for safety's sake, but to contain the smell as well. If you can, make the diaper pail inaccessible, too-perhaps behind a closed closet door (if your changing station is right next to the closet). Store diaper creams, diaper pins, and other hazardous supplies on a shelf above the changing table or in a pocketed wall hanging. Everything you need to diaper your baby should be out of his reach, but well within yours. That way you'll never need to leave your baby alone on the changing table, even for just a second.

You will also need to take certain safety measures in your own bedroom. Again, remove or make inaccessible anything that might endanger your baby if he gets his hands on it:

  • Hang your purse on a high hook in the closet or keep it on top of your dresser.
  • Hang all ties, scarves, and belts well out of your child's reach as well.
  • Store coins and jewelry, as well as hair pins, safety pins, buttons and other sewing supplies, staples, thumb tacks, paper clips, and the like, on high shelves or on the tops of very high dressers where they will be not only out of your baby's reach, but out of his sight, too.
  • Throw away dry cleaning bags. They aren't safe anywhere in your home.

More on: Babies

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby © 1997 by Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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