Making Your Apartment or Condominium Safe for a New Baby
Written by Brian Enright
Bringing a newborn home is an exciting time for parents. Although a tiny infant isn't mobile yet, babies grow fast. Before long, a newborn becomes a curious baby who learns how to crawl and scoot across the floor. To be fully prepared for an exploring baby, parents often begin baby-proofing a condo or apartment even before the baby arrives. The advantage of completing this work early is that it will be done, and your home will be safe when your baby begins moving around.
Secure Dangerous Areas in Your Condo or Apartment
Some areas of a condominium will never be safe for an exploring baby, no matter how much baby-proofing you do. When this is the case, the solution may be to install a baby gate to prevent a baby from accessing these areas. Most apartments and condos are one level, so stairs may not be an issue for new parents. However if there are stairs or other unsafe rooms a baby gate can keep a small child safe. Some baby gates secure temporarily in doorways, removing when necessary. Other baby gates install with hardware for more permanent use. A permanent gate may be a safety measure to use at the top and bottom of stairs to keep a small child from climbing and falling.
- Child Safety Checklist (PDF)
- How and When Infants Learn to Climb Stairs (PDF)
- Childproofing and Safety at Home
- Infant Safety Tips
- Home Safety
Condo Balcony Safety
It's especially important in condos and apartments with balconies to be sure that a baby or toddler can't open the door. If it's a sliding glass door be sure there is a mechanism up high and outside the child's reach that secures the door. If it's a standard door it's best to keep the deadbolt locked at all times, and to put a cover on the doorknob that prevents a toddler from being able to turn it.
Blocking Off Access to Cabinets
Children are naturally inquisitive, especially when cabinets and cupboards hold interesting objects. These cupboards are often installed at a child's level, so opening the doors to explore is a common situation. In condos and apartments parents may not have the benefit of a shed or a garage to store potentially dangerous items, such as cleaning supplies, and may need to keep them in the kitchen. If that's the case be sure to use locking mechanisms secure cabinet doors, so they won't open easily for children. When parents need to open the cabinets, they can manipulate the locks to gain access.
- Childproofing Your Home: A Room by Room Checklist
- Childproofing a Home (PDF)
- Is Your Home Childproof? Safety Checklist (PDF)
- Store Hazardous Products Safely
- Organizing a Child-Friendly Kitchen (PDF)
Move Appliances and Cords Out of Reach
Appliances in the home can present a number of dangers to small children. A child might pull an appliance sitting on a counter down by pulling on a cord, which could result in an injury. Cords plugged into an outlet are also dangerous for children. Children may chew on the cords while they remain plugged into an outlet, which could result in serious injuries from the electrical currents traveling through a cord. If a child unplugs a cord, the child could have access to the uncovered outlet. Parents should keep all appliances out of reach of children. Cords must be secured in child-proof covers to prevent children from handling them. Special outlet covers can also prevent children from unplugging cords.
- 100 Ways to Child Proof Your Home (PDF)
- Heating, Electric, and Emergency Equipment Safety
- Kitchen: Household Safety Checklist
- Tips to Keep Your Children Safe From Home Fires (PDF)
- Protecting Young Children in the Home
- Home Safety for Children (PDF)
Cover All Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlets can fascinate small children as they explore a condo. To prevent dangerous shocks, all electrical outlets must be covered securely. Outlets not in use should have caps covering the openings to prevent children from sticking objects or their fingers into the holes. Outlets in use must have larger covers over the plugs to prevent children from pulling the plugs out and leaving the outlets open.
- 12 Safety Devices To Protect Your Children
- Childproofing Checklist
- Steps to Home Safety (PDF)
- Is Your Home Baby-Proof? (PDF)
- Making Your Home Safe for Baby
Making an apartment or condo safe for a baby takes time and effort. Some experts recommend that parents crawl around every room on their hands and knees so they can see the rooms from their baby's perspective. Placing breakable items up and out of reach is recommended, because babies can be rough with fragile knickknacks. Freestanding furniture should be secured to walls with special brackets to prevent children from pulling the items down onto themselves. Small objects and toys must be stored out of babies' reach to prevent them from swallowing and choking on these items. Cleaning supplies, kitchen tools, and other tools must be locked away in secure cabinets out of reach of children to prevent accidents.