For higher traffic areas of your home, a walk-through gate allows for easier parental access to the rest of the house.
THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD
If you want to use a high chair with your young baby, be sure to purchase a reclining high chair or low chair. Reclining chairs support little bodies, and are the only chairs that should be used before a baby can sit up alone. Reclining chairs allow you and your baby to gaze at each other – a delightful part of the bonding process. Babies should be stable sitters before being placed in non-reclining high chairs. This means they should be able to hold their heads and spines up by themselves. Many babies begin to sit up between four and six months of age. This creates a perfect match of child development and parenting because it is the same age range the American Academy of Pediatricians recommends for starting solid foods. Using a high chair at this age gives you freedom of movement while you help your child discover healthy first foods. Many parents also wipe their babies’ gums or brush their toddlers’ teeth while children sit in their high chairs. Using your high chair for several tasks makes it easier to care for your baby.
MAKE SMART CHANGES
With a baby or toddler in the house, make common sense changes to your living space. (That 6-foot-tall ceramic vase with the faux floral arrangement? Easy to see that that could be a problem). Decorative accessories are easy to pack away for a while, but furniture, televisions, and other electronics are essentials in the modern home. This is a challenge because falling furniture accounts for many injuries to young children. Here are some risks you may not have considered pre-parenthood and easy ways to make the home safer.
- Toddlers are drawn to the motion and colors on TV screens. Children may accidentally pull unrestrained TV sets onto themselves. If your TV is not wall-mounted, place a nonstick bathmat under it so it won’t slide as easily if yanked. If it is wall-mounted, make sure a professional evaluates the stability of the mount and make sure it’s beyond a child’s reach.
- For furniture, stock up on furniture wall straps. These inexpensive, easy-to-install canvas straps let you secure bookcases, shelving units, armoires and other furniture to the wall so they won’t budge when a child pulls on them.
- Chairs are the perfect size for toddlers to grab onto for pulling up into standing position. Many are also light enough they can be toppled by a toddler. Place accent chairs against a wall and place a low, heavy coffee table in front of them. Your child will grab onto the table and be less likely to access the chairs.
- Kids pulling on curtains can pull heavy curtain rods onto themselves. Consider temporarily ditching the window treatments. If that’s not feasible, use sturdy safety pins to “hem” them up so that your child can’t reach them.
- Turning lights on and off is fascinating fun for a child, but a tipped lamp could leave shattered bulb shards all over. Store any lamps that aren’t necessary and rely on ceiling and wall-mounted lights. Or, if that’s not an option, rearrange the furniture to block access to existing lamps and their cords.
Safeguarding furniture is important when you have a curious crawler or toddler. Fortunately, there are plenty of great strategies you can use and products you can install to do the job. Take precautions, then delight in watching your baby learn new skills in a safe environment!