Baby Proofing Advice

Help!! I know this is next on our big list of things to do around the house. I have so many questions!

1) Zones 

Do we baby proof the ENTIRE house or just safe areas for play? For example, I intend to to make our entire basement 100% baby proof – every nook, cranny and outlet. All the furniture bolted to the walls. All the toys ready for play. On the other hand, our upstairs living room has a lot of glass and there is a lot of heavy furniture. I’d like to just leave that room as-is and just never let him in there. But is that realistic? Too risky?

Mazen’s bedroom is another place that definitely needs baby proofing since he’ll be spending time in there. Same with the master bath, bedroom and the porch, which I see as the upstairs warm-weather play area.

What about the kitchen? If we had a big open floor plan with a great room and kitchen in one, I can see that the kitchen would need to be proofed. But our kitchen (and the upstairs living room I mentioned above) are both kind of closed off. I’m not sure if it’s worth putting a lock on every single cabinet if we won’t be in there that much. Right now I cook and eat during naps or while he’s in his highchair, but as he gets more mobile, maybe I’ll need (want?) him to be able to crawl or walk around with me?

I of course want to be on the safe side, but the thought of having proof the whole house is more exhausting than a night with 1 hour wake-ups.

2) What should I buy?

I have this tub spout cover in my Amazon cart.

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I have these outlet plug covers. I don’t see the need for anything too fancy because we won’t use our outlets that much to plug things in and out.

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We definitely need baby gates at the top and bottom of our stairs. Because we go up and down all.day.long, I’m looking for something that’s really easy to open and close while holding a baby. I’d love to not have to drill giant holes in the wall, but I hear that makes it extra safe? I would love some gate recommendations!

Obviously if we decide to do the whole kitchen, we’ll need cabinet magnets [like these] or locks. When I have babysat in houses with those cabinet and drawer things, they drive me nuts!

What other gear do I need to buy?

3) On Hands And Knees

What are things that you don’t think about until they become an accident? I’m planning to do the baby crawl around my house and see what looks dangerous. We have the nursery furniture bolted in the wall, but we need to figure out what other furniture in the house needs this – but first we need to decide on those safe zones!

You expert mamas who have mobile kiddos, please share your wisdom to this overwhelmed first-time mom.

Thank you!!

36 Weeks: Car Seat Installed!

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10 weeks ago I did a post on car seat safety after listening to a Pregtastic podcast. The podcast was excellent – everyone should listen to it. One of the things the expert in the podcast recommended was taking the car seat to your local police or fire department for a lesson on proper installation and use. I think something like 80% of people do something wrong the first time.

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Here in Albemarle County, the fire department offers this service for free. I found this pamphlet online and emailed to schedule an appointment. It was easy to do and she said it would last about 20 minutes. We just needed to bring the seat – no need to try putting it in ourselves first.

We bought the Chicco KeyFit30 in Midori, which came with one base. The bases are expensive ($80) so for now we are just going to use my car for baby transport, but we might end up getting a second base in time if we feel we need one. This car seat got excellent reviews both online and from Consumer Reports. I also know a lot of friends who have it!

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We brought a few loaves of bread to our firemen as a thank you – they were much appreciated : )

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We had 3 firemen come out to show us the install and talk about how to put a baby in the seat. The first step was a very, very, VERY tight fitting of the base.

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I couldn’t believe how hard he tugged on the seatbelt, and Matt said this was the #1 reason he was glad we did the lesson because he would not have thought it needed to be so very tight. I’m not sure if I could have done this myself… I thought the seatbelt would break, but the fireman reminded me they are designed to hold people in during very serious crashes, so they are very, very strong. [Note my car is a 1999 so too early for the LATCH system!]

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We also learned that the seat cannot be touching the passengers seats at all (new info) and that the front of the seat will move and jiggle some – it’s the back part that must be totally secure.

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After the base was installed, we talked about proper use – things like putting the shoulder straps in the proper place, not putting the baby in too much padding before going in, adjusting the straps both when he’s in and when he grows bigger.

I was given a mirror for my car as a hand-me-down – one that’s supposed to be used for looking at baby while driving. The expert on Pregtastic said she does not recommend them because they distract the mom from safe driving. I can see how it would be useful though (at a stop light when distraction isn’t as much a concern), so I asked the firemen their opinion and they said do not use it as well but for a different reason – that it has not been safety tested. Given the unpredictability of crashes, you never know what might happen if I mirror flies around your car. That’s 2 experts who say no, and since safety is the ultimate goal here, I will be giving it away. Matt says it’s not really a big deal because it really doesn’t matter if the baby is crying, asleep or awake and I don’t drive that much alone anyways.

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Matt and I both practiced getting the seat in and out. The middle is the safest spot because it buys you more space from a side collision, but I found it really hard to reach in and get out – especially since this car is low to the ground and required a deep bend over. I asked the firemen what they thought about moving it to the passenger side and they said it would still be very safe, just not quite as safe, so I might consider that if I have back problems or if he just gets too heavy.

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Last but not least, a Twitter friend offered to give us his car seat that his family was finishing used. A very generous hand-me-down, but unfortunately, it was 6 years old and I checked with Peg Perego and their seats expire at 6 years.

But the great news is that the fire dept. took the seat and will use it in their training sessions, so it went to a good cause!

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I’m glad we went for the appointment and feel pretty comfortable with the seat. Hopefully its safety will never be tested.

PREVIOUS 36 WEEK POSTS

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Nesting –> Resting

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26 Weeks: Car Seat Safety

From the moment I became pregnant, I started listening to Pregtastic podcasts. When I was out walking, while taking a shower, while making a meal, on car trips – everywhere. I. Learned. So. Much.

I was very sad when I reached the end of the 250ish episodes, but I discovered the continuation of Pregtastic: New Moms, New Babies. Unfortunately it seems both shows are on a hiatus right now, but that doesn’t mean the information isn’t great. NMNB has been great to hear from new moms and how things are going, and the topics covered are really educational.

If you only listen to one mommy podcast in your life, this one should be it: Child Seat Safety, Proper Installation and Seat Recommendations.

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I really know absolutely nothing about car seats, yet their job is of utmost importance. I know the baby has to be buckled in and I know that it’s wise to go to the fire/police station to have them verify that the car seat is installed properly. But in this podcast, there was much that I didn’t know that might end up saving my baby’s life someday. (A tough phrase to say/type).

The podcast is led by Robyn Siminoff, a Child Passenger Safety Instructor, and she shocks even the moms in the studio with some facts about carseat dos and don’ts. Some of the rules seem a bit extreme, but when you think about the role the car seat is playing in your child’s safety, this is serious information.

Here were a few pointers that I took away and packed into my brain:

-Never put your car seat insert in the washing machine (SHOCKER! All the moms had done this!) Anything other than wiping/hand washing will ruin the fibers of the straps so that in a crash they would not spring back as they are suppose to and the baby can fly out if the straps break.

-Even if you are in a fender bender and your car is not damaged, the impact from just you slamming on your breaks is enough to “wear out” the single-use straps. You need a new seat, or at the very least, new straps. (Soooo annoying, but remember we’re talking life or death here. If you were in a much more severe crash a few weeks later and those straps didn’t work…you’d probably wish you had addressed them after the first bump).

-Straps need to be secure and tight at ALL TIMES. Whenever the baby is in the seat. This includes when grocery shopping or in strollers. (Note car seats should never go in the top part of a grocery cart – they can tip out no matter how heavy it feels!) A lot of car seat accidents happen when the baby isn’t even in the car but because mom doesn’t put on the straps for a quick carry.

-Robyn does not recommend a mirror to see your baby’s face. This distracts mom and makes a car crash more likely a la texting while driving. If your baby is upset, you will hear him cry and whether you can see him or not you will likely take the same action (pull over to nurse/adjust or ride it out till you’re home). The mirrors can also fly around in the car in a serious crash.

-Speaking of flying debris, if you would not want to hit your baby in the face with an item yourself, don’t have it loose in the car. Stuffed animal = probably OK. Stroller, cooler, heavy purse = not OK. She suggested strapping your purse in with a seatbelt.

-The angles of the car seat are very important. The baby’s head should not fall forward and the base should be totally even. Don’t add any layers to your baby that would allow him to slip out like a big snow suit – the suit would stay in the car seat and the baby would fly out of the suit. Instead put your baby in in no more than 2 layers and then put all the warmth over him and the straps.

-Always have your car seat checked out if you put it in a different car for the first time. Tight isn’t always right.

Safe baby transport to all!

PREVIOUS 26 week posts

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