You shouldn't wait until your child starts crawling to think about babyproofing your home. Chances are, he'll become mobile almost overnight, and you will be caught unprepared. The trick to adequate babyproofing is not to assume that your infant sees everything the same way you do. He's operating on an entirely different level-floor level. To really take stock of your home's dangers, then, you've got to take a crawling tour. Here's a rundown of the more common household hazards and how to remove them from your infant's path.
Bathtub. Never leave your baby unattended in the tub, even for a minute. She can drown in as little as an inch of water. To prevent scalding, set your water heater at 120° F. or lower, and never position your baby within reach of the faucet. Cover the faucet head with a specially made soft cover, and lay down nonskid strips to help prevent your child from slipping.
Cabinets. Babies can create havoc and get into danger by exploring cabinets, especially those in the kitchen and bathroom. Move all potentially poisonous substances and sharp objects into locked cabinets. Better yet, purchase childproof safety latches for all the cabinets in your home-regardless of what they contain.
Cribs. As soon as your baby starts trying to pull himself up, move the crib mattress to its lowest position and remove all objects (including mobiles, crib toys, bumper pads) that he could climb up on to get out of the crib.
Drapery and blind cords. These pose a strangulation hazard, since babies can become entangled in them. Tie them up and out of your baby's reach.
Drawers. Keep them closed so your baby can't reach up and pull them out on top of herself.
Electrical cords. Infants can chew on cords and wires or pull on them, bringing down lamps or other heavy objects on their heads. Move all cords well out of your child's reach.
Electrical outlets. Babies can get a shock by sticking their fingers (which may be wet from saliva) or objects into plug outlets. Unless outlets are behind heavy furniture or up high and inaccessible to your little one, close them off with safety plugs or with safety covers that snap shut when the outlet is not in use.
Entertaining. After parties, immediately empty ashtrays and glasses-leftover cigarettes and alcoholic beverages can be toxic.
Flooring. Make sure area rugs are secured with nonskid backing, and repair loose tiles, linoleum, and carpeting to prevent tripping.
Furniture. Unstable wall units, dressers, bookcases, or tables can topple over on babies who try to climb up on them. Have wobbly furniture repaired, or bolt questionable pieces to the wall.