There are three types of men in this world – the ones who forget to replace the batteries in their smoke detectors, the ones who don’t even have smoke detectors, and the ones who religiously check and maintain their alarms to make sure they’re in working order. With a baby on the way, you have to become that third type of dad. You need to be on top of your game all the time when it comes to safety.
If that thought terrifies you, welcome to fatherhood. Before you get out the brown paper bag to help you with your hyperventilating, we can help you cover the basics. We’ll give you the three most important things you should do to babyproof your home to keep your chip off the old block as safe as can be.
And if your baby has already been born, but can’t walk or crawl yet, you still have time. Stop making excuses and start taking action. You can have everything on this list done in the time it would take you to watch one basketball or baseball game.
Attach Your Furniture To Your Walls
Men everywhere can rejoice – it’s time to whip out your power tools! While you see things like your bookcases, dressers and television stands and don’t see a hazard, that’s because you aren’t thinking like your baby will as it is crawling, walking, and exploring.
They won’t see a bookcase – they’ll see a challenging jungle gym just waiting to be climbed. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, furniture, televisions, or appliances falling or tipping over injures someone every 17 minutes in the U.S. Many of those people are children.
In fact, every two weeks, a child in the U.S. dies from furniture falling onto them. It can happen in an instant, and it doesn’t matter how great of a parent you are. All it takes is for you to take your eyes off your child for a few seconds, which every parent does at some point.
You can use your power drill to attach bookcases directly to the wall, or you can do it with furniture straps. You can also use those straps on your dressers and your television, as well as anything else your child may think about climbing.
Get Outlet Covers
To protect your baby, you have to think like a baby. You might feel silly about it but get down on your hands and knees and start crawling around the house just as your child will in just a few short months. You’ll see what they’ll see. The primary points of interest will be the things that are at their eye level as they roam around.
One of the first things they’ll notice will be the electrical outlets. They’ll look like a perfect place to stick their fingers or their tongues. If the outlets aren’t covered, your baby will be shocked as they try to explore those outlets. They might suffer a minor injury from it, or it could be worse.
And this hazard doesn’t go away anytime soon. Even school-aged children, those ages 5 and 6, are often injured when they stick small metal items like paperclips into those outlets.
The best and easiest way to protect your child from this danger is to put some outlet covers on. They aren’t expensive, and it will take you less than 10 minutes to walk room to room in your house and cover them all.
Get Latches for Cabinets
Many of us store all kinds of harmful chemicals and cleaning products in cabinets under the sink in the kitchen and the bathroom. It’s a handy spot to keep bleach, toilet bowl cleaners, window cleaner, scrubs, and other sprays.
Depending on your storage situation, you might not have any other place you can keep them. But with a baby in the house, that location is loaded with trouble.
If your baby opens those cabinets – and at some point, it will – you might find yourself suddenly having to call a poison control center and calling an ambulance. It happens a lot more than you might think it does.
In 2016, for every 1,000 children, there were 41.3 poisoning incidents in children under the age of 6 that were called into U.S. poison control centers. The ages most at risk were 1- and 2-year-olds. But cleaning products weren’t the only danger. Children can also be poisoned by cosmetics, personal care products, pesticides, vitamins, and topical medicines.
To guard your child as much as you can, make sure any cabinets containing these harmful substances are locked by safety latches your baby won’t be able to figure out.
This blog is part of Fathers Incorporated‘s Drive To Five campaign. The campaign design seeks to reduce father absence by engaging dads at the early stages of their child’s development, which makes them more likely to continue their involvement through all of the stages of their development. For more information visit www.drivetofive.org