My nephew Johnny is almost 7 months old, poised to crawl, and probably walk in a matter of a few months. (My sister skipped crawling and started walking around 8 months old, so who knows how soon her little one will be on the move!).
Toddlers who are newly on-the-go bring great joy and entertainment (especially for proud aunties who don't need to watch after them every firghtening moment of their curious lives!). They also bring great fear -- what will they fall on, what will they eat, what will they destroy? Oh my.
So it's time for my sister to do some hardcore babyproofing, leaving no stone unturned by thinking like a toddler. It's time to buy baby gates galore and other babyproofing cushions/latches/gadgets, since she didn't receive any at her baby shower (and who needs them when you have a newborn?).
There are the classic babyproofing steps that everyone knows about (gating every staircase; getting those genius plastic electrical outlet plugs and cabinet safety latches; storing breakables, medicines/vitamins, potted plants, unstable furniture, cleaning products, and other haz mat out of reach...).
But what about babyproofing measures for the modern era of cellphones, laptops, and sharp-cornered modern furniture that baby will surely want to explore? Here are some tips:
- Cell phones - Read the manual or Google how to lock and unlock your keypad, and consider adding a PIN/password in order to use it (to add an extra step just in case baby ever does the "slide to unlock" thing). Also, think about giving him an old cell phone of yours (with battery removed) just so he has his own to enjoy (if toy mobile phones just aren't cool enough for him).
- Computers and iPads - Johnny's still too young for any screentime, but I know some parents with older toddlers who like to dabble with games and scribbling on Mom's iPad. This can be tough to remember to do, but don't leave your laptop or iPad on the coffee table while you run to the other room to grab your phone. That's just asking for trouble. If you DO leave your computer on and unattended, remember to take a second to log off (Ctrl, Alt and Delete are a Mom's best friend) or at least sign out of your email (especially work email!). It might save you from baby replying to all with an urgent message of baby jumble.
- Remotes - As with cell phones, baby's are obsessed with remotes, and these days, most households have a complicated media system with three or more controllers for the TV, DVD/Bluray player, stereo, Wii... So save yourself (and, let's be honest, your sports-obsessed husband) the heartache of messing up your entertainment system by designating a nice basket higher than baby can reach on a shelf to hold your remotes when you're out of the room. Another Mom's best friend? The "Input" button on remotes (it often helps you switch away from the scary blank TV screen).
- Glass and sharp-edged furniture - Sorry, folks. Your lovely pre-baby, glass-topped table (especially coffee table) will just have to go in the garage until baby is a totally stable walker. Corner covers and cushioned borders to attach around the edges of your sharp-cornered furniture can help, but it's just not worth the risk of a fall on a glass-topped table. Many parents switch over to cushy leather- or fabric-covered storage ottomans or cubes while baby is learning to walk. Bonus: You can stuff toys and kids' books, or all the things you don't want baby to access, into the cube -- as long is he doesn't master opening it and having a field day. :-)
Good luck with your babyproofing, Kate and other moms! Let us know if you come up with other good tips worth sharing!