Family Health

Babyproofing for Guests: How to Make a Welcoming, Safe Home for Your Friends and Their Children

Babyproofing your home helps make your house feel like a home away from home for friends or family members who visit with their small children. This is a great way to communicate how much your friends mean to you, but if you don't have a small child right now, you may be unfamiliar with the best tactics for efficient babyproofing. Here are a few ideas for making your home a welcome space for guests and their youngsters.

Look at Things From a Child's Perspective

If you don't have a baby, it can be challenging to get into the right mindset. It may sound a little silly, but consider getting on your hands and knees and surveying the room from the viewpoint of a small child. Are there cleaning supplies, matches, or plants that could be enticing or within easy reach? Did you stash something under the couch that you forgot about?

Block Access to Unsafe Areas and Objects

If you have a room with too many unsafe items to secure, don't worry about putting every little thing away. Instead, just shut the door and put a childproof cover on the knob. This is an especially good idea for bathrooms, which pose hidden dangers such as low cabinets and toilets.

You can also set up baby gates to keep the child within safe areas or away from stairs. Your gates don't have to be expensive, but make sure they meet safety standards. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that older gates may have large V-shapes in which children can get stuck. Make sure stools and chairs that children could climb on are kept away from counters, stoves, and appliances, as well.

Install Babyproof Locks

Consider installing inexpensive babyproof locks on your cabinets, drawers, and dishwasher. What will you want to lock away? The list includes breakables (like plates or glasses), sharp objects (knives would be the obvious item to think about here), lighters, medicine, cleaning supplies, and detergent.

Keep an Eye Out for Hidden Dangers

Babies and young children have a knack for getting into things you never expected them to. There are so many possible examples. First, a baby could get wrapped up in window cords, so you'll want to tuck them high out of reach. In the kitchen, point the handles of pans to the back of your stove, and remove magnets from your refrigerator because they can be choking hazards. Electrical outlets are another potential danger, so consider buying inexpensive outlet covers to keep curious babies safe. A toddler can stumble a lot, so you may want to add bumpers to sharp furniture edges. Finally, remove any houseplants that may be toxic.

Of course, you can't spend thousands of dollars (and hours) childproofing your home for visitors, but a few inexpensive safety items added to the rooms where you and your guests will be spending the most time can make a big difference. Your friends and family will truly appreciate that you worked to make things a little safer for their little ones.

Posted in Family Health

Author and publicist, featured by Business Week, Livestrong, The Nest, and many other publications. Her interests include Science, technology, business, pets, women's lifestyle and Christian living.

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*This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute health care advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or physician before making health care decisions.