The day my daughter was born changed my life in a way that would have been impossible for me to truly understand prior to her birth. Bringing a new life into the world, and the promise that that life holds, was humbling.
I felt the weight of responsibility involved in giving her the best life possible. I wanted her to have access to whatever opportunities she might desire, and empower her to follow a path that inspires her to lead a full life without regrets.
First Comes Love, Then Comes the Baby Proofing
Anyone who's been blessed with the experience of bringing a newborn into the world knows that there is a moment where all of the cool things that you had acquired up until that moment become danger zones. That sexy corvette doesn't have a safe backseat for your daughter's car seat. The power tools in the garage need to be moved up onto peg hooks, out of reach of those curious hands. The laptop charging cord and the marbles in the decorative bowl on the coffee table are choking hazards.
Baby proofing a home is a big undertaking. But, it's critically important. According to an article from the Soothing Blog, "Drowning is the leading cause of accident-related deaths in children under 5 years old." Beyond securing a pool with a childproof fence, and keeping a close eye on young children around water, there are a variety of things that can be done to protect children throughout your home:
Cabinets and Storage Areas
One of the most dangerous places for a young child is the kitchen. Whether it's knives on the counter or toxic chemicals under the sink, it's important to thoughtfully tidy up the home. When we brought Sarah home, we made sure things like dish soap and windex were removed from the lower cabinets.
Once toxic items had been moved to storage areas that would be challenging for a toddler to reach at a moment's notice, we safety-latched the cabinets with childproof locks. Trust me, the extra step involved in unlatching your cabinets is well worth the peace of mind in knowing that your child can't accidentally access potentially hazardous items.
While an outlet might always look like it has an expression of surprised happiness, there's something much more shocking lying just beneath the surface. Toddlers are attracted to shiny things. What's more shiny than a spare paper clip sitting on the floor? And, what if after picking up that paper clip, your infant decides to feed the smiley face on the wall? The resulting catastrophe is difficult to imagine.
Unfortunately, according to Careful Parents, roughly 100 children die from electrocution every year. Don't let your child become a statistic. Cover up those outlets with a plastic safety cover.
House Plants and Decorations
Did you know that common household plants, if ingested, could be poisonous? This is doubly true of fake, plastic plants. While you might encourage your son or daughter to adopt a vegetarian diet, it's best to start them out when they're a bit older; preferably with items purchased in the produce section at your local grocer.
It might be easiest to remove your household plants entirely. Although, if you still want to keep some colorful flowers throughout the home, you could use a hanging planter to suspend the plants out of reach. Just make sure that as your flowers wilt and drop their petals, you clean up the floor before allowing you child to crawl around unattended.
Organic, Non-Toxic Cleaners
I've been amazed by the variety of surfaces Sarah finds appetizing. Whether it's licking the door of our refrigerator (creating a "fun" texture on the stainless steel), or kissing our countertops, she always seems to be kissing or licking something, Because of this, my wife and I clean our home daily.
But what if the cleaners were causing the rash Sarah would develop around her mouth? As much as we vigilantly tried to keep a pacifier in her mouth and prevent her from making out with the appliances, she was still coming into contact with residual cleaning chemicals.
We started looking into alternatives. The cleaning formulas we found on sites like Earth Easy weren't just safer, but actually cheaper than store bought, toxic cleaners. Plus, they smelled really good! After a few weeks of using natural, non-toxic cleaners around the home, Sarah's outbreaks around her face started to become more infrequent.
Transformation from Bachelor Pad to Kid-Friendly Living Space Nearly Complete
Sure, the man cave had to go. The corvette is on Craigslist (It hasn't sold because I'm asking for way more than market value, but don't tell my wife). And now I have to unplug and unlatch safety mechanisms to plug things in and open cabinets. But I would never trade the experience of bringing home Sarah for the everyday conveniences and cool stuff from my past.
My daughter is my whole world. If you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about. I hope my advice helps you get your home ready for the safe arrival of your very own bundle of joy!