Baby Proofing in Fairfield County: 10 Tips to Make Your Home Safe for Your New Arrival
If you are preparing to welcome a new family member, or your little bundle of joy has already arrived—congratulations! Having a baby is one of the most wonderful and exciting milestones in life, but it can also be stressful if you are unsure what needs to be done for effective baby proofing. Fairfield County homeowners don’t have to worry though. You can rely on the professionals for help!
While your home may feel pretty safe and secure to you already, it is a real eye-opener to look at it from a child's point of view and discover all the potential hazards that curious babies could encounter. Some baby proofing measures are pretty straightforward—anyone who has watched cartoons knows that electrical sockets are a source of danger. However, others are not as obvious, especially to new parents who have yet to see what a crawling or toddling baby is really capable of. There are many tasks that could be done for your baby proofing in Fairfield County.
Don't panic! The team of skilled service professionals at Mr. Handyman of Upper Fairfield County has experience installing baby proofing measures that go a long way towards keeping your baby safe from harm. Don't have the time, tools, or energy to take care of baby proofing in Fairfield County? No problem—just give us a call, and we'll get your home in perfect shape for your new arrival. Here are our top 10 baby proofing tips from your local Fairfield County handyman.
1. Secure Furniture to the Wall
We are putting this in the number one spot for baby proofing because it is extremely important for baby proofing, and people tend to neglect it. Any type of furniture that could be pulled or toppled over, your handyman must firmly secure to the wall with a tether. Furniture like bookcases, china cabinets and dressers are the main offenders. Still, any type of heavy, free-standing structure that could fall over needs to be secured, including entertainment centers, wardrobes and more.
The reason for this is because babies and small children will attempt to climb them, and when they do, you don't want the furniture to come crashing down on them. Even furniture that seems too small or squat to be a problem, such as a small child's dresser, can be surprisingly heavy and cause serious injury if it topples. Your local Fairfield County handyman could install tethers on the backs of all furniture that needs to be secured and ensure they are fastened safely to a wall stud—the tethers are not visible from the front.
2. Lock Up Hazards
Next, it is important to stow hazardous substances and items out of reach, either up high or in a locked cabinet. That includes harsh chemical cleaning products, medication and anything else that might be toxic when ingested. Not to forget, sharp tools or items with strangulation hazards like the cord on a hairdryer in the bathroom cabinet. We will install childproof cabinet locks and drawer latches that you can open easily while on the go but will keep potentially dangerous items away from your little one.
Pro Tip: Don't Forget About the Toilet
You really don't want your baby or toddler splashing around in the toilet. Not only is it unhygienic, but it poses a more concerning problem like a drowning hazard and requires secure baby proofing. You may think you’ll be able to keep your baby out of the bathroom while unsupervised, but a determined kid could absolutely find a way. The best course of action is to have your handyman install a toilet lock in the form of a simple safety latch that holds the toilet lid closed.
3. Prevent Access to Stairs & Windows
Taking a tumble down the stairs is a major cause of injury for babies, whether they are in a wheeled baby walker or just crawling or toddling on their own. Stairs that are accessible to an area where your child will be roaming—whether they go down or up from the area in question—need to be blocked off by baby gates as part of your baby proofing. There are many options for baby proofing with gates—from pressure-mounted to drilled into the wall.
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind for your baby proofing in Fairfield County:
Do you have older children or short adults in the house who cannot swing a leg over a gate and need quick access? We recommend a baby gate that actually has a gate set into it. It allows you to unlatch and swing open. This way, you don't have to remove the whole gate every time you want to access the other side.
Do you need to block off an area, like the bottom of a staircase or a wide entrance into a kitchen that doesn't have a standard sized doorway or hallway space to work with? Get an extendable fence with hinged panels that you can configure in the right shape and length.
Are you renting a home or reluctant to drill holes in the walls for other reasons? You should consider installing a pressure-mounted baby gate that you can remove in seconds without leaving any trace behind on the walls.
Do you have radiators, fireplaces, or another type of heating system that is close to the floor and gets very hot? Block off access with a fence that surrounds the heater in a semicircle.
Windows that open pose another potential falling risk, even first story windows. We recommend looking at options for window guards, which usually look like a small fence or screen that your handyman can install over the part of the window that opens, either on the interior or the exterior of the house. Keep in mind that double-hung or single-hung windows that slide up could also be dangerous if they come crashing down on little hands and fingers.
4. Cover Electrical Outlets
This is a basic part of all baby proofing in Fairfield County. Thanks to Saturday morning cartoons, we all know not to stick a knife in an electrical socket, but it is a good idea to safely cover them until your baby learns that important lesson themselves. There are outlet covers that are simply small pieces of plastic you can insert into unused outlets. And cover plates slide to the side to allow quick and easy access when you need to plug something in. Some more heavy-duty options cover both outlets in a set and can be locked shut.
5. Turn Down Water Heater Temperature
When you prepare a bath for your rugrat, you will, of course, mix plenty of cool water into the hot water that comes out of the tap to create a nice, warm temperature that won't cause scalding. But accidents do happen — caregivers sometimes forget to double-check the temperature before they put a baby into the water, or a baby or toddler might manage to turn the hot tap on in a bathtub or sink themselves. If that happens, you don't want the water to be scorching hot.
There is a simple way to make sure that never happens: have a local handyman turn down the master temperature setting on your water heater. Most water heaters are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit by default, but no one wants to take a shower in water that hot. By turning it down just 20 degrees, you drastically reduce the risk of scalding, and as a bonus, you will even save money on your utility bill because your water heater doesn't need to use as much energy. We can also install thermostatic valves on individual fixtures to keep the temperature at or below 120 degrees Fahrenheit from specific faucets.
6. Remove Peeling or Flaking Paint
If there are places on your wall where the paint is flaking, or wallpaper is peeling off, it is important to take care of it before your baby notices and pops a paint chip into their mouth — and it is doubly important if you have an older home that may have lead-based paint on the walls. The peeling remnants should be removed so there is a smooth surface to work with and then repainted.
Not sure why your paint is peeling, or your wallpaper has suffered damage? More often than not, it results from excess moisture that causes the drywall to swell, pushing the paint from behind and causing it to crack and peel. If you suspect water damage, it is important to have it checked out by a service professional who will determine if the cause is a leaky roof, damaged siding, a hidden plumbing leak, or some other issue.
Pro Tip: Finish Painting or Wallpapering Before Baby's Arrival
It is a good idea to plan and execute painting and wallpapering at least eight weeks before your baby is born, if at all possible. That way, the fumes will have fully dissipated, and there will be plenty of time once the walls are dry to move furniture back in place and suitably arranged.
7. Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Your Fairfield County home should already have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors near every sleeping area, but if it doesn't, this is the perfect time to have your local handyman install and test them to make sure they are all working correctly. If you have them, but it has been a while since they were tested or had new batteries put in, we will check that as well.
8. Get Rid of Cords on Blinds and Curtains
If you have the type of curtains or window blinds that open and close by pulling a dangling cord, they are serious strangulation hazards that need to be moved well out of your little one's reach. Tragically, a child (usually under the age of three) dies of blind cord strangulation every two weeks in the United States. Don't worry! You don't have to get rid of the entire window covering. For baby proofing purposes, your handyman could install cord winders that keep the cords wound up and safely out of reach but still usable to open and close the blinds or curtains.
9. Assemble Crib & Change Table Properly
If you have started shopping for furniture and other items for the nursery, you may have noticed that babies require a surprising amount of stuff—and hardly any of it comes assembled. If you can't make heads or tails of the cryptic pictograph instructions, or the mere sight of an Allen key gives you a headache, help is on the way! Our team of handyman experts will safely and efficiently assemble the entire nursery, from crib and change table to bouncy chair and diaper wipes warmer (yes, that's a thing). That includes making sure crib slats are no more than two and three-eighths of an inch apart and ensuring no exposed or loose screws and bolts.
Pro Tip: Avoid Blankets and Crib Bumpers
The safest way to make up your baby's crib is with a fitted sheet only—no blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or crib bumpers. The risk of suffocation or strangulation with a crib bumper is far greater than the risk of getting their foot caught between the crib slats without one. If you are worried that the crib is too stark and not comfy, remember that baby won't mind in the slightest. Put them in a sleep sack to keep them warm. It is basically a sleeping bag with armholes that won’t cover their face.
10. Baby Proofing Sharp Corners & Edges
Do you have low-side tables and other types of furniture with sharp corners and edges that a baby could easily bump their head into? Some families choose to replace their coffee table with a bump-proof soft ottoman, but you could also have your handyman add specially-designed padding to the corners and edges of hard surfaces. This is most important when a baby begins to pull themselves up on their feet and experiment with walking, and since that phase lasts a relatively short time, you won't have to put up with the padding forever.
Here Comes Baby! Get Peace of Mind With Expert Baby Proofing in Fairfield County
Whether you are in the Stamford area or another part of Fairfield County, such as Milford, Westport or Easton, you can trust Mr. Handyman of Upper Fairfield County for high-quality workmanship and outstanding customer service.