Wandering Toddler

My year-old child has begun to climb out of the crib at night. I am concerned she will get into something and hurt herself. I worry so much about her at night, I can’t sleep. How do I keep her safe?

Start by thinking about her environment in larger and larger circles, from the crib to the door. First, the crib. There get rid of all those bumpers (those oh-so-cute fabric pads that used to protect your baby from banging her head against the inside of the crib). Bumpers make great stepping stones for climbers. Also, take all those big stuffed animals, pillows, and heavy comforters out of the crib. These items were dangerous as suffocation hazards when your baby was small. Now that she’s bigger, they’re tickets to freedom.
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Childproofing

Our baby isn’t crawling yet, but he will be pretty soon. Basically he goes for anything within his reach. I’m assuming he’ll be the same way when he starts crawling. What should we do to childproof our house?

Once your baby realizes that he’s able to move around by himself, his mission in life will be to locate–and race you to–the most dangerous, life-threatening things in your home. So if you haven’t already begun the never-ending process of child-proofing your house, better start now.

The first thing to do is get down on your hands and knees and check things out from your baby’s perspective. Taking care of those pesky wires and covering up your outlets is only the beginning, so start with the basics:
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Toddlerproofing your home

Dear M. Dad: When my baby was born my wife and I spent a lot of time and energy babyproofing the house. Our child made it through infancy, but now that he’s a toddler, he’s getting into everything and we realize that we missed some key safety measures. Is there such a thing as toddlerproofing a house? And if so, how do we do it?

A: The thing about toddlers is that they’re absolutely desperate to explore their world. Of course, in toddlerese, the concept of exploring means touching, climbing, pulling on, taking apart, shredding, throwing, chewing, and more. Back when your son was an infant, taking things away from him or simply picking him up and moving him out of trouble would work most of the time. No self-respecting toddler, however, would be fooled by that. In their minds, babyproofed cabinets or anything that you take away or put out of reach is immediately worth extra points. After all, if it weren’t especially interesting, you wouldn’t have bothered to protect it so well.
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