Baby-proofing is part of life when you are a new parent, but most new moms don't think that they have to worry about that before their baby is starting to crawl around. While that is mostly true, we think that moms should start to think about safety from the very beginning, when they are planning the baby's room before the birth.
For some moms, getting the nursery ready is a big part of the pregnancy, since it is one of the most tangible ways that a mom can prepare for the baby to arrive. Some moms spend hours on social media searching for themes and shopping online for the perfect accessories. The crib, dresser and a chair for rocking the baby can be big-ticket items that parents have to save up for and research before investing, and that's why it's a good idea to know what is safe before making a purchase — not just what would look cute.
There are so many things to consider when parents are planning the perfect nursery, but we know that moms want this space to be safe above anything else, and they may not know what to look for. Here are 20 non-obvious ways to make the nursery as safe as possible.
20 Anchor The Dresser: they can fall when climbed
Furniture anchors need to be a part of every babyproofing kit these days. That's because we have learned that there is a big risk of dressers, televisions and other heavy objects tipping over onto a child, and according to a federal website on average, one child dies every 10 days because of the issue.
Toddlers are known to try to climb anything, and if they pull on a dresser or piece of furniture and tip it, it's just too heavy for them to get themselves out of the situation. There were a number of Ikea furniture pieces that were recalled because of the danger, but it's there for a lot of other pieces as well. The only way to truly protect the baby is to get an anchor and have the furniture fastened to the wall so it stops before it falls all the way on the baby.
19 Soften the Corners On Furniture: those things are pointy
This is something that many people focus on in the living room, where the baby is going to have possible issues with the fireplace and the coffee table. But there are dangers in the nursery too when the baby starts pulling up and toddling around.
Moms need to watch out for any furniture that has corners, including dressers, bookcases and nightstands. You will need to think about how to soften them so that the baby won't get hurt when he's playing in his own safe space.
18 Make sure the paint (old and new) is safe
A lot of parents decide to paint the nursery as part of the process of nesting and setting up the nursery, but they need to think about more than the palette and also consider the safety of the paint on the walls. There are still toxic paints on the market these days, so you need to think about the chemicals in the paint when choosing the right one from the room.
One thing that people don't think about is the paint that is underneath, if the house is older, it could have lead paint in one of the earlier layers in the room. That means that you need to remove the old paint, don't just put a new layer on top.
17 Wood Floors Are Best: Carpets Are treated with chemicals
Many moms think that carpet is the best option for the floor in the nursery, since it's a nice soft padding for a baby when they are crawling and learning to walk. But according to some experts, wood floors might be better because of the potential for toxic substances in the carpet.
Babies have tummy time from their first week of life or so, which means they spend a lot of time with their nose pretty close to the carpet from the very beginning. All carpet is treated with chemicals, so be sure to talk to the salesman about what is there and figure out what might be harmful — or just opt for the wood or laminate.
16 Watch For Spaces To fall into Next To The Crib
This is something that is kind of new to most people's lists because of tragic cases that have been brought to our attention. It's especially apt in twin nurseries because of the spacing between cribs, but it could also be relevant if you have a dresser or changing table close by.
At some point, the baby will start to try to pull himself out of the crib, and that can be dangerous because they could fall. But what is worse is when they go down the side but their big heads get caught in between the two pieces of furniture. The child could get choked or hurt if the mom doesn't get to them quickly enough.
15 Vintage Isn't Better With The Crib
We love vintage furniture. There are great styles from every era, and the savings that can come from getting something used can't be beat. But it is not a good idea to go vintage when it comes to the crib because it just isn't safe.
Grandmas might have kept their old cribs for the next generation, but those likely have drop sides, which have been deemed unsafe. In recent years there have also been new regulations on the optimum distance between the bars and gaps with the mattress. Cribs need to be stable and safe for the baby, and that might mean that the old crib needs to stay in the attic.
14 Tiny Toys + baby = trouble
When your baby is small, just about everything that goes in the hand goes in the mouth. It's something that is true until sometime after the third birthday or so, and moms definitely need to keep that in mind when they stock the nursery with toys.
If there are older children in the family, toys can have lots of little pieces and legos can take over. But they need to stay out of the baby's room — because if a small toy is found on the floor, it's likely to end up in the mouth, and that means there is a risk of the baby choking on it. Wait a few years to get those toys with tiny parts for baby's safety and mom's sanity.
13 Make the rug non-slip with a pad
We've already mentioned that carpet isn't necessarily the best idea for the baby's room, but we understand how a mom would want a little soft rug for the baby and to soften the look. You still need to be careful of the chemicals and components, but that isn't the only warning that we have for the rug.
Another thing that moms need to do is make sure that they have a rug pad to make sure that the rug doesn't move around much with the little one. No one wants a new walker to slip, so be sure to make it safe.
12 Watch out for cords on blinds
Window blinds and drapes are a great thing for keeping the baby's room dark for sleeping times. But they can be dangerous, especially the cords that are there to open and close them. Unfortunately, the baby can get tangled up in the cord and get strangled in the process.
Moms need to be really careful when they set up the nursery to make sure that the baby can't get to the cords. It's good to tack them up high — way out of reach of the baby, even when they are on the changing table or climbing on the crib. This is a definite step you need to put on the baby-proofing to-do list for the nursery and the rest of the house.
11 Finger Pinch Guards
Have you ever caught your finger in the door? If so, you know how very much it can hurt. But worse that that, it can even cause a portion of the finger to be amputated. Babies don't understand the danger when you are closing the door, so it's entirely possible their little fingers can get caught before you know it.
There are safety devices that can be installed in nursery doors to save the baby's fingers from getting pinched. It's not something that many parents think of, but it's actually the most common cause of finger amputations in children, and no one wants that to happen to their little one.
10 Come up with a Fire Safety Plan before you need it
All families need a fire safety plan. They need to have an idea of where the best exits are to get out of the house in the case of an emergency. But not that they have a baby who will need someone to help them escape, they need to rethink the plan to include the nursery. That can include putting a sticker on the window so that firefighters know that it is a baby's room and making sure that your escape includes a stop by the nursery on the way out the door.
If the nursery is on the second floor or higher, you might want to attach a rope ladder or something that can help you get the baby safely down in the case of a fire right outside of the door. An adult might be able to jump down and be OK, but the baby might not survive being dropped from such a height, and a ladder might be necessary to get down safely.
9 Toy Box Safety: better without a lid
Most moms might be thinking about keeping the nursery clean when they start thinking about a toy box or bin, but they also need to think about safety. Toy boxes that close too quickly might hurt fingers over and over again, and make playtime no fun at all.
Another thing to think about is that children like to find places to hide, and that might be a big problem if the toy box latches and they can't get out. It can be scary for the child and the adult, so pay attention to how the toy box works when you consider what to buy for the nursery.
8 Cover The Outlets
Covering the outlets is probably one of the top items on many baby proofing lists but people think more of doing that in a living area where the baby is crawling around more than in the nursery. It definitely needs to be done everywhere to make sure that the baby is safe at all time.
The good news is that the electrical systems in most newer homes have fewer dangers for babies these days. The bad news is that we live in a society that has even more uses for electronics than ever, and that includes plenty of gadgets in the baby's room. Do your best to keep things covered so that the baby stays safe.
7 Baby Bedding can add risk
Baby bedding can often be the first big decision that a mom makes about her nursery, since she often picks paint colors and accessories to match. But the bad part of that is many baby bedding kits include items that really aren't safe for the little one. While a lot of moms have heard this, the possibility of SIDS is much higher when you include all those items, so we think it's worth mentioning again.
First, it's just fine if you skip the bedding bags. All you really need is a fitted sheet. The quilt is much better for decorating the wall than the baby bed, since loose bedding can be dangerous for the newborn. Also, doctors recommend that parents ditch the crib bumpers these days or use a more breathable material. Think out of the box with bedding because the kits just don't work.
6 Keep Changing Table Supplies Out Of Reach
In the kitchen and bathroom, you need to be careful about keeping cleaning supplies and medicine out of the reach of children, but many moms don't think about that step in the nursery. Many times, though, there are some toxic substances that you keep in the baby's room, usually around the changing table.
Baby powder can be bad for baby's lungs if it is inhaled, and the many creams for diaper rash are things you don't want the baby to ingest. There might be some other medicines that you keep in that area, and that is fine — as long as the baby can't reach them or climb up to get them.
5 Keep The Cords Tucked Away
As we have mentioned, there are a lot of electronics in our lives these days, and that means that we are constantly plugging things in. In the nursery. many parents add a humidifier and a sound machine; there may be a wipes warmer or a swing that plugs into the wall. On top of that, a mom may want to have a television or tablet when she is nursing. All of these electronics come with cords, and those can be dangerous for a little one.
You need to remember that babies aren't as adept at stepping over cords when they are learning to walk, and they can get tangled up when they crawling around. It's best to keep the cords tucked up and under control so the baby doesn't get tripped up or pull them out.
4 Don't Forget all the Detectors (and their batteries)
No one wants a house fire when they are home with a newborn, but what is worse is if you don't know about the fire until it's too late. That's why staying on top of the smoke detectors is very important when planning the nursery. Firefighters recommend changing batteries whenever you change the clocks for daylight savings time, since it's a twice a year reminder.
For homes that have gas heating or ovens, it's a good idea to also have a carbon monoxide detector in the house — actually several, including one just outside the nursery. That can let mom know when there are dangerously high levels of the gas, and that means she can save the family in time.
3 Rocking chairs are safer than gliders
One of the most treasured spots in the nursery is the space where mom can gently rock her newborn to sleep. Of course, moms need to make that spot as safe as possible as well, and we found a tip for that too.
According to some experts, the trendy glider isn't as safe an option as a good old-fashioned rocking chair. That's because the baby can get his fingers caught in the mechanics of the glider. A soft-covered version, of course, is safer still and might be more comfortable for the rocking. Be sure to get something that is stable and safe, even when the baby is down below and not rocking.
2 Mobiles can be pulled down easily
In past generations, one of the biggest features of the baby's crib was the mobile. You can really bring out a theme by adding a set that is full of enchantment — from a galaxy of stars and planets to a menagerie of zoo characters or a sea of boats and sea creatures. But mobiles aren't always safe, so parents need to be careful with their pick.
For one, you have to be really careful to make sure that the mobile is securely attached to the crib. While you want the baby to reach for the objects once he hits that milestone, you don't want him to be able to pull it down, as streamers and things like that can be choking hazards. Choose wisely, keeping safety in mind, or just skip the mobile over the crib.
1 Window Guards To Prevent Falls
Having the ability to open the door is great when you have a newborn, as fresh air can do a lot to give everyone some calmness and peace. But an open window can be a very dangerous thing when you have a baby that can pull up — and believe us, the baby will be able to climb before you know it.
If you have a second floor window or higher and you ever plan to leave it open, even a little bit, you need to consider window guards. Those tools can prevent the baby from falling from a great height. A fall can be really damaging, maybe even deadly, so window guards are a good idea to make sure that the nursery is extra safe.
References: Healthy Pregnancy, My Child Safety, Parents, Healthy Children, Anchor It