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Baby Basics

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 asbaby can sit up and pivot on her tummy. Remember, this guide is just astarter. Get down on all fours and crawl around your house to get ababy's-eye view of the many dangerous temptations that lurk. Keep inmind that anything that fits through a toilet paper tube is a potentialchoking hazard, and dangerous items can easily get hidden in deepcarpets, corners and under cabinets. Regular sweeps should be apriority. Also, check all the safety preparations you made before babycame home, remembering that her height and reach are now significantlygreater.

Throughout the house

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

[ ] Latchclosed any cupboards, doors and drawers within baby's reach to avoidpinched fingers or unaccompanied explorations; purchase baby-safedoorstops 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


[ ] 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


[ ] Put all tools and toxic substances in locked storage

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


[ ] 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


[ ] 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

[ ] Getin the habit of cooking on the back burners, turning pot handles towardthe 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


[ ] 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

By Paula Kashtan