Congratulations! It’s finally time to start a family of your own. Your baby is on the way, and everything seems new and exciting, and everything is! Whether you’re having the baby on your own or are taking the adoption route, there is a lot to do to prepare your house and your life for a newborn.
It’s never too early to start getting you’re home ready for a newborn, so start thinking about it now. Below you will find a list that includes some of the basics for getting yourself prepared for your new family. Also, use this guide as a way to explore some of the less common things to consider when you’re expecting a newborn. Nothing is off-limits, nothing is too over the top, it’s time to get ready for your new family member!
Preparing your home
Big Picture “babyproofing”
The word “babyproofing” is in quotations because the fact of the matter is, there is no way to ensure that your home is 100% free of risks for your newborn. Something will inevitably be overlooked, but with the help of this list, it won’t be anything major.
Having a newborn crawling around you home will make you notice things you’ve never even thought of before. Obviously, there are different stages of a newborn’s mobility. Thus, you will not have to toddler-proof your home if you are dealing with a newborn. However, you can and should start thinking about childproofing in the long term. Even when a baby isn’t walking yet, there is the possibility of them climbing on or knocking down objects that you wouldn’t expect.
What many soon to be parents don’t understand is that babyproofing includes basic home safety features like fire alarms, home alarm systems, and carbon monoxide detectors are all installed and functioning properly. Doing this basic due diligence around your home will ensure that you can rest easy as your newborn gets to know your home.
There are little things about the way that your home works that can make things dramatically easier with a newborn around, and will protect your family long-term. Making sure your water heater is set to a safe temperature for a newborn (somewhere around or under 120oF) can make bath time far easier and safer for your family. Having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen is a safety precaution that all of us should take. Still, it becomes a necessity when you have a newborn.
Blocking not only exposed staircases but even installing even gates on staircases that are behind doors. Babies gain a sense of mobility rapidly, and those pesky doorknobs quickly turn into toys to play within the eyes of a newborn. The same goes for electrical outlets, that is why plastic outlet caps must be installed on all outlets. Power outlets are typically just above ground level, which is the perfect height for a baby to get their curious little hands on.
If you have a patio, pool, or outdoor area that you spend time in, that must be babyproofed as well. Outdoor hazards can be even more dangerous than indoor items. Having things in order, such as pool repair and patio services, can save your baby from dangerous situations on your property.
Babyproofing Your Kitchen
The basic idea behind babyproofing is making anything, and everything that your baby might pull on or try to pull on, open or play with can’t hurt them. This idea is most important in your kitchen. Any kitchen is full off hazards for your baby that can be avoided with simple babyproofing ideas and gadgets.
The kitchen is the center is most homes, it is where you spend a good chunk of your time. Typically, if you are in the kitchen, you’re cooking, cleaning, or unloading groceries, all of which means you’re paying less attention to your baby than you normally would. On top of that, there are knives, ovens, cabinets, cleaning supplies, glass products, and other hazards to your baby. For those two reasons, the kitchen must be the most thoroughly babyproofed room in your home.
Babyproofing your kitchen is all about the height of hazardous items. Like most people, I’m sure your cleaning supplies and hazardous chemicals are in low cabinets that a baby could easily access. Moving chemicals and cleaning products to higher cabinets or drawers are the first step in keeping your family safe. Doing the same with potentially suffocating items like plastic and paper bags is also an important step in babyproofing.
Along with the obviously hazardous items that are listed above, there are some sneakier items that you might overlook. Vitamins, pain relievers, and herbal supplements can all be potentially hazardous to a newborn if they are kept in a low cabinet or drawer, these items should be moved to an out of reach storage space as well.
Moving less dangerous items to your now unoccupied cabinets is a good way to make use of all of your cabinet space. Things like Tupperware and pots and pans that are too heavy for a child to move are good replacement items for those unused spaces.
You will also want to purchase a few basic safety items that will ensure the safety of your baby and your family. Latches (preferably magnetic ones) for low cabinets and drawers can save you a lot of headaches and will reduce the risk of your child getting into cabinets with potentially hazardous items. However, latches are not a substitute for moving dangerous items out of reach. You will also want to buy some oven-knob covers to ensure that your child cannot turn on a burner and injure themselves or leave the gas running and put you, the whole family, at risk. These simple devices can save you and your family from an emergency trip to the urgent care clinic or worse.
Babyproofing your Living Room
Naturally, after you’ve babyproofed your kitchen, you will want to make sure that you eliminate all potential hazards in the living room. In this room, sharp edges and corners pose the most threat to your baby. When a baby is learning their own mobility, they run the risk of falling or stumbling onto or around hard or sharp items in the living room. For that reason, all table corners and any sharp edges should have protective padding installed. Small table items and decorative pieces should be considered potential hazards as well.
Babies can be very prone to climbing anything and everything possible. To ensure that your baby doesn’t get to anything dangerous, you will want to move all potentially climbable furniture away from windows that a baby could break or fall through. Large electronics such as your television must be anchored to the wall. Curious babies may push against an unanchored television resulting in it potentially falling on your baby. Other items that must be secured to the wall include cabinets, entertainment systems, and end tables.
Other hazards that might be hiding in your living room are any wall hangings or picture frames. Buying you and your family, some heavy-duty hangers could save your baby from a falling picture frame.
Babyproofing the Nursery
It sounds like an oxymoron to think about babyproofing a room made specifically for a baby. Still, there are some things that might slip past you if you’re not paying close attention to them.
Contradictory to what you might think, not all cribs are safe for babies. If you have purchased a new crib, it is probably safe for your child. However, if you are using an older crib, maybe one that was given to you by a relative or friend who had children a while ago, then you are going to want to make sure it is up to today’s safety standards. To ensure that your crib is up to date, you will want to make sure that the bars are close enough together that your baby cannot get any of their appendages stuck between the bars.
When you are dealing with a newborn, it is important to keep in mind the potential suffocation hazards such as blankets, stuffed animals, and pillows. Newborns are at a heightened risk of suffocation, so this is a crucial step to babyproofing your child’s nursery.
As is the case with items in other rooms in your house, babies are likely to try to climb the sides of their crib. For this reason, you should consider having a heavily cushioned carped or pad underneath the crib as a safeguard if your child if they do fall from their crib.
This next step is not so much babyproofing but more just adjustments that you can make to ensure the comfort of the baby. Even if you have air conditioning, you should practice opening your windows as long as the weather permits. Making use of natural airflow can improve the air quality in your nursery, which is beneficial to your baby’s health. Of course, if you are leaving windows open, you must also ensure that your baby has no chance of getting to the window.
Babyproofing the Bathroom
Under no circumstances should you ever leave your baby unsupervised in the bathroom. Babies and small children can drown in close as little as an inch and a half of water, so be especially attentive during bath time. Much like the kitchen, moving hazardous products out of low shelves and counters to higher storage spaces is crucial. Medicine cabinets should be latched or even locked, and absolutely all electronics must be placed out of reach.
Preparing your Life
Now that your home has been properly baby-proofed, there are a few things that you should consider getting in order before the baby arrives. Once the baby is here, there will be very little time to plan or organize things in your life.
After the maternity leave period, if you are returning to work, you will need proper child care. Much like elder care, child care can be expensive, difficult to find, and hard to trust. For those reasons, it is essential to get set up with a reliable child care specialist before the baby arrives.
Health and Dentalcare
Finding adequate healthcare for your baby should be relatively easy through the doctor that you are seeing for your pregnancy. That being said, it is still important to find a pediatrician you can trust to care for your newborn. Along with health care, you will also want to find a child dentist for the sake of your newborn’s oral health.
Get Your Affairs in Order
Your own mortality is the last thing that you want to be thinking about when there’s a baby on the way. However, it is an important thing to consider when you’re expecting. It is smart for expecting parents to hire an estate planning lawyer to organize a Last Will and Testament to cover the possibility of potential illness or untimely demise.
Maintaining financial stability is hugely important when you have a newborn. Babies are expensive, and paying for everything your child needs might mean cutting back on non-essential goods and services. On average, women spend around $150 on beauty-related goods and services each year, these types of expenses may need to get cut when you’re expecting.
The Take Away
Thinking about the dangers that pose a risk to your child is never fun. Still, it is a necessary thing to consider to keep you and your family safe. Infantile injuries are severe and must be considered as such.
With the help of this list, you and your family should be amply prepared to ensure the safety of your newborn.