Babyproof the House in a Weekend

by Joe Kita

Ignore for once your wife’s frequent admonitions to grow up and plunk yourself down on the floor to view your abode from a baby’s perspective. What are you drawn to that’s potentially dangerous? Where could little fingers fit? And what might topple over and hit your head? In case you get distracted while sitting there, here’s a checklist…

Outlet plugs. Fit these into all electrical wall outlets to prevent zaps. Special devices are also sold to cover power strips.

Safety latches. Install on all kitchen/bathroom cabinets and drawers that are below belt-level to keep contents secure.

Finger guards. Put these near door hinges to keep little digits from getting pinched.

Lid locks. Clip these onto your toilets so the tops stay down.

Corner/edge guards. Fit these over the sharp ends of all tables, countertops, and window ledges to prevent forehead gouges.

Baby gates. Put these either at the top or base of all steps to prevent tumbles. Extended models can also cordon off fireplaces and wood stoves.

Window guards. Install across windows so baby (or you, in a moment of desperation) can’t crawl out.

Banister guard. Install one of these plastic shields if the rungs of a second-floor banister could be breached.

Appliance locks. Attach these to keep doors closed. Also, do this test: Open and push down on the oven door. If the entire stove starts to pivot forward, call an appliance service. It was incorrectly installed.

Water temperature. Measure it where baby will bathe. If it’s hotter than 120 degrees, call a plumber to turn it down. In fact, have him install anti-scald valves on all faucets.

Flat-screen saver. If your TV is on a stand, make sure it’s secured or pushed back as far as possible so it can’t be pulled over.

Floor sweep. Walk around feeling for any sharp spots that could gash a hand or knee. Look for protruding nails on molding.

Home gym. Remove barbells from racks, keep machine cords and elastic bands wrapped. In fact, it’s best to just put a lock on this door. Mike Tyson’s daughter died in a treadmill accident.

Toy chest. Make sure the lid can’t fall on junior’s head and that nothing inside can fit through a toilet-paper tube. If so, it’s a choking hazard.

For baby-proofing products, visit your local infant- or home-supply store or such on-line sellers as and