Babyproof your home, stairs are dangerous for unattended babiesSooner than you think, curiosity will get the better of your baby and she’ll start roaming all over the house. Common sense goes a long way, but you’ll need to actively protect your little one from dangers that lurk everywhere.

Here are the top 10 reasons to get serious about babyproofing:

10. Drool-y fingers and electricity don’t mix. Use outlet covers and keep wires out of reach.

9. Your baby’s been eyeing that shiny water faucet. Set your home water heater to a maximum of 120°, or install anti-scalding devices on faucets.

8. If it dangles, he will want it. Opt for cordless window coverings. Make windows above the first floor even safer with window guards.

7. Open drawers make your dresser look like a StairMaster (but more fun). Secure heavy furniture to the wall with anti-tip brackets, and/or place hefty electronics—including that flat-screen TV—out of reach.

6. Real stairs look like fun, too. Install gates at the top and bottom of staircases. Gates that screw into the wall are safer than pressure-mounted or accordion-style models.

5. The knobs on the stove are more appealing than the knobs on his pop-up toys. Use dial covers or stove guards.

4. Your window cleaner looks like Kool-Aid. Keep cleaners, medicines, and other dangerous substances locked up and up high. Post the Poison Control hotline (800/222-1222) by each phone, and program the number into your cell phone.

3. Your baby’s head will make her top-heavy for a while. If she peers into the toilet, she could fall in head first. Use a toilet safety lock.

2. Unlike your baby’s diaper, carbon monoxide is odorless. Make sure you have working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

1. Your baby’s safety is priceless. Don’t take chances whether you spend money hiring a pro or do the job yourself.

Crib Notes: New Guidelines

You can babyproof the inside of your child’s crib by clearing it of toys and blankets, using fitted crib sheets, and banishing bumpers. But what about the crib itself? In light of an alarming number of crib-
related injuries and deaths, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued sweeping new guidelines regarding crib safety. These new guidelines:

  • prohibit the use of a traditional drop-side rail in cribs made or sold after June 28, 2011
  • require stronger mattress support, slats, and hardware
  • will also apply to childcare centers as of December 28, 2012

What about older cribs?

While it’s not illegal to use them, chances are they don’t conform to the new guidelines. Unless your specific model was recalled, neither the retailer nor manufacturer is required to take it back. However, some manufacturers offer immobilizers to secure drop sides. Although they don’t address every issue, the CPSC still considers that a non-recalled, sturdy crib is the safest place for your baby to sleep. Just check it regularly.