We all know about the obvious baby proofing tasks – electrical outlet covers, cupboard locks, gates, cords from blinds, breakables, climbing hazards, etc. but there are a surprising number of “hidden” hazards that you don’t really think about until your baby has found them. Kate is 9 months old now and is getting into everything. Between our two kids, they have both managed to find hazards that we didn’t think about when we were baby proofing our home.
Only you know your baby’s temperament and what he or she will get into. Leah was a very cautious baby and rarely got into trouble, but I remember one day in particular, when she was about 15 months old, I turned around and she was actually LICKING the electrical outlet (baby proofed luckily). LOL!
10 Often Missed Baby Proofing Tips
1. Door stops
You know the little metal spring like things that keep the door from banging into the wall? Kids love them since they make a really loud and obnoxious boing sound when they play with them. Did you know that the little plastic caps on them can actually come off? I had no idea until Kate managed to remove the caps from two of them in our new house in one day.
Solution: Replace them with solid one piece door stops that do not have any parts that the baby can take off.
2. Older Child’s Toys
I spend a lot of time worrying about Leah’s toys. I worry that they will be forgotten on the floor, or slide under the couch out of sight, or that they will fall off the table and find a way into Kate’s little hands and mouth. Things like coins, dress up earrings and rings, stickers, puzzle pieces, marbles, magnets, Barbie shoes, legos, and other small toys are a real problem. We can’t take Leah’s toys away (can we?), but at the same time we have to make sure that everything is kept safe for Kate.
Solution: Gather up all of your older child’s toys that are not so safe for baby and keep them in a separate box, shelf, or bin and only pull them out during baby’s nap time, or when baby is safely out of reach. Teach your older child the dangers of small objects. Leah is now pretty good at identifying choking hazards and boy does she love pulling hazardous toys away from Kate! We are teaching her as best we can to pick up after herself, but it is still our responsibility to go around and look for the princess earrings that have slipped under the couch.
3. Look for small pieces that baby can pull off
Leave it to Kate to wander around and find hazards. One day she crawled over to the speakers beneath our TV, which I thought looked pretty safe, but within 10 seconds she had pulled the plastic name tag off of it and had it heading to her mouth.
Solution: Look around at low levels for small pieces that your baby can remove – labels, grommets, wooden pegs, springs, felt, etc.
4. Dried food under the table
Today Kate was squirmy while Leah was doing crafts at the kitchen table, so I put her on the floor. I did a quick scan under the table and I found two Shreddies, a dry kidney bean and a chunk of play-doh – We swept and vacuumed two days ago!
Solution: ALWAYS do a quick scan of the floor before you put your baby down – make it a habit. This might involve getting down on your hands and knees to see things you wouldn’t normally see.
5. Button batteries
There are enough news articles and campaigns going around on Facebook that button batteries have really freaked me out. All kids toys have their batteries behind screwed on covers, which is great, but with other household items that is not always the case. None of the remote controls in our house have screwed on covers for their batteries and I found 3 smaller remotes (For Apple TV, a radio, and an iPod player) that have button batteries with backs that are easily removable.
Solution: Keep these remotes out of reach from babies, toddlers and children. Even an older child can play with it and inadvertently drop the button battery from it.
6. Objects that can fall or be pulled onto baby
When Kate was 6 weeks old we had her on her play mat in the living room. Leah was “playing” the piano which was also in our living room, when she knocked over the piano bench and it was about 12″ from hitting Kate. The thought had never crossed my mind that it was dangerous and I still get chills thinking about it! And now that she’s mobile, Kate has come very close to pulling over one of our lamps in our living room too, the little rascal – it’s her mission to crawl under or around whatever I have put in front of it to block her.
Solution: Always be cautious when your baby is near objects that can easily fall or be knocked/pulled over, such as chairs, lamps, benches, stools, larger toys, laundry bins, etc.
7. Tags and labels on toys
You can’t buy a stuffed toy without a gazillion warning labels, new materials only, and/or care instructions sewn to its bottom and they are the first thing that goes to Kate’s mouth. The problem is, these labels are no match for teething babies who like to suck and chew on everything, and some of these labels CAN be chewed off by your baby. I was shocked to find that the very first toy I tested had its label hanging on by only a thread!
Solution: Always tug on the labels before you give them to your baby, or better yet, just cut them off – they are an eye sore anyway!
8. Curtains, blinds or blankets near the crib
We had at least one night when Leah was younger that she pulled a blanket off of the rocking chair and into her crib. You just don’t consider general decor items to be hazards (or at least I never did) until your little one has found a way to get them in their crib!
Solution: Keep the crib far enough away from the curtains and blinds that they can’t be pulled into the crib. Make sure any blankets or throws you may have on a rocking chair near the crib are also out of arms reach.
9. Anti-slip mat in the bathtub
Bath tubs are slippery. We realized this after Leah tried to stand in the bath tub for the first time. It was like a skating rink in there!
Solution: Get an over-sized rubber bathtub mat that will cover the entire tub bottom – you might have to go to a specialty baby store to find a big one.
10. Garbage can
It would be nice if babies stayed away from garbage cans. But let’s face it, they don’t stay away from anything else, so why would they stay away from these? You’ll know when it’s time to baby proof your garbage can. Our biggest temptation seemed to be the bathroom garbage with Leah. It had to stay in our bathtub for well over a year!
Solution: Put garbage cans out of reach from babies, whether they go in a cupboard, on top of the counter, or in a bathtub. Don’t forget about the kitchen garbage can.
It’s always good to be as prepared as you can with baby proofing but as long as you keep a close watch over your little one, don’t worry too much about missing things. Babies are clever little rascals, and they will help you find the hazards you didn’t even know about as soon as you take your eyes off of them!
Has your baby found any hazards that you had never thought about? What does he or she like to get into that you didn’t expect?