Friday, January 14, 2011

Baby Proofing by Baby’s Stages Part 2: 6-12 months

Welcome back! Today’s post is part 2 in a series focused on using your baby’s developmental stages to help baby-proof his environment. Now let’s take a look at the older baby, age 6-12 months. Note: If your baby is just now moving into his crib, review part 1 of this blog for links to check crib safety.

6-7 months
Your baby may have mastered rolling as an efficient mode of transportation or he may be getting ready to crawl. Warning! If you haven’t already completely baby-proofed your home, now is the time. Your baby’s instinct will be to poke, hold, and taste anything and everything he comes across. Almost everything that is small enough to pick up can end up in your baby’s mouth. The 6-7 month old is also learning to have more control over his body movements. What does this mean for you? Your baby will be even more explorative because he has an innate drive to practice his newfound motor skills (rolling, crawling, etc.) almost constantly. Here are a few specific tips to keep him safe:
  • Remove any hanging toys from the crib when you notice your baby can reach up and touch them.
  • Put outlet covers on all outlets; even those hidden behind furniture. Little arms and fingers can find their way into the smallest of holes.
  • Lock cabinets; especially those that contain any poison or chemical that could be ingested.
  • If unable to lock cabinets, remove all poisons and chemical cleansers to a safer location; like the garage. This includes medications, alcohol and even vitamins.
  • Clear all objects off coffee tables, or other low furniture. Even magazines and newspapers can be a hazard. Babies will be able to tear pages and it will almost always end up in their mouths. This can be a choking hazard.
  • A good rule to follow: if an object can fit through a toilet paper roll, it is a choking hazard and can get stuck in your baby’s throat. These items should be placed in a locked drawer or up out of the reach of your child.
  • Keep pet food (if any) out of the reach of the baby. This might sound like a silly tip, but I can attest from experience that your baby will be drawn to your dog’s bowl of puppy chow. It’s amazing how quickly they can move towards the food and pop a few pieces in their mouths!

8-10 months
Many babies this age are beginning to pull up on furniture (or people) to get themselves from a sitting to a standing position. With this new ability comes a brand new perspective of his world! Soon he will be walking along furniture and exploring everything that is in his new line of vision. Baby proofing must now be taken to the next level.

  • As soon as your baby can get up on all fours he could use the crib bumper pad as a step to climb out. Remove it from the crib.
  • Coffee tables and other furniture that babies could pull themselves up on should be cleaned off completely. Babies can pull heavy objects over on themselves easily or put things they find lying about into their mouths.
  • Furniture that can be potentially pulled over onto baby should be secured to the wall (upright book case, TV, etc.)
  • Double check outlets and cords. Remember, pulling up brings baby to a new height!
  • Watch sharp corners on furniture or any sharp object that is just the right height for head bumping. There are soft, non-permanent corner covers available for corners of tables. Or move the offending piece of furniture elsewhere for a while.

12 months
Most babies are learning to take steps and some are walking pretty well by this time. Again, more mobility leads to more exploring! Babies become little scientists, exploring and testing the world around them. When it comes to walking and movement, 12-month-olds often have a one track mind. It is common for babies this age to focus all of their energy on perfecting their newfound skill, leaving little time for eating, sleeping, or getting their diapers changed.
Now that your baby is more mobile, you may want to consider the following tips in addition to those mentioned earlier in this post:

  • Keep the bathroom doors closed or purchase toilet locks
  • Make sure breakables are completely out of reach. Remember babies are stronger and more mobile now!
  • Do not leave sharp objects such as scissors, clippers, pens and pencils within your baby’s reach.

Other Resources
For more information about keeping your environment safe for your child visit:
For information on crib safety click here.
For information on recalled baby items click here.

Next time: Reasons for Reading to Your Baby!

1 comment:

  1. The toilet is very attractive to toddlers! We have installed a security gate that blocks access to the toilet in our bathroom but it means clambering over it when we need to use the loo...