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Paula Kashtan

Q&A: Babyproofing For Crawling Baby?

I think my baby is going to start crawling soon. What should I do to make sure the house is safe for her?

Welcome to a whole new world of potential dangers and disasters. Once baby starts to crawl, generally around eight or nine months, safety takes on a new meaning. Start getting your home ready as soon as baby can sit up and pivot on her tummy. Remember, this guide is just a starter. Get down on all fours and crawl around your house to get a baby's-eye view of the many dangerous temptations that lurk. Keep in mind that anything that fits through a toilet paper tube is a potential choking hazard, and dangerous items can easily get hidden in deep carpets, corners and under cabinets. Regular sweeps should be a priority. Also, check all the safety preparations you made before baby came home, remembering that her height and reach are now significantly greater.

Throughout the house

[ ] Move all dangerous items (cleaners, knives, heavy objects, medications, etc.) to cupboards and drawers out of baby's reach

[ ] Latch closed any cupboards, doors and drawers within baby's reach to avoid pinched fingers or unaccompanied explorations; purchase baby-safe doorstops for every door to prevent accidental closings

[ ] Put lockable covers on garbage cans, or place in latched cupboards

[ ] Move all electric cords behind furniture or under rugs

[ ] Secure heavy furniture such as bookcases and cabinets to walls to prevent accidental tipping

[ ] Put televisions and other heavy items on sturdy furniture, and move as close to the wall or corner as possible

[ ] Move all tall, wobbly lamps behind furniture

[ ] Put baby gates or fences at the top and bottom of every set of stairs, no matter how short the flight

[ ] Block access to all floor heaters and radiators

[ ] Use garden fences or plexiglass to block any space of more than four inches between stair or balcony rails

[ ] Put colorful stickers on sliding doors and any other large panes of glass

[ ] Install window guards and stops, and put safety bars or netting on all windows, landings and decks

[ ] Place food and water for pets out of baby's reach

[ ] Put a lock on VCR (or, finally toss it!)

[ ] Install fireplace screens around all hearths (but remember — screens get hot, too)

[ ] Place logs, matches, tools and keys out of baby's reach

[ ] Never leave any amount of water in an open container or bucket

Bathroom

[ ] Make sure all medications have childproof tops and that your medicine cabinet has a secure latch

[ ] Place soft covers on the bath spout and knobs

[ ] Put non-slip mats in and beside the bathtub

[ ] Purchase a bathtub ring for baby to sit in (and never, ever leave baby alone in the tub, not even for a moment!)

[ ] Install safety locks on toilets

Garage

[ ] Put all tools and toxic substances in locked storage

[ ] Make sure you have a functioning garage door safety sensor

Nursery

[ ] Once baby can get up on hands and knees, remove mobiles and anything else hanging above crib

[ ] Move crib away from anything that could be used for climbing

Kitchen

[ ] Install covers for stove and oven knobs, an appliance latch for the oven door, and a stove guard to block access to burners

[ ] Install safety latches on refrigerator and freezer doors

[ ] Get in the habit of cooking on the back burners, turning pot handles toward the wall, and placing hot food and drinks away from the edges of tablesand counters

[ ] Forgo placemats and tablecloths — if baby yanks, everything on top will go crashing

Backyard

[ ] Make sure backyard gates latch securely

[ ] Empty wading pools and store upright after every use

[ ] If you have a pool, surround it by a locked fence at least four feet tall

[ ] After it rains or snows, check for any collections of water and drain completely

PHOTO: Thinkstock / The Bump