Babyproofing – Once your twins are on the move, you’d better be ready because what one doesn’t find to get into – the other will. By the time they are toddlers they will figure out ways to get into everything – even places that your were sure they couldn’t reach! While they do need to be able to search and explore – they do need to have parents who put their health and safety first.
A lot of what babyproofing is – is just expecting the unexpected. Some basics are :
-installing smoke alarms on each floor
-having a first aid kit stocked and handy
-having emergency phone numbers posted ( 911, poison control etc)
-having your pediatricians number handy
Babyproofing your home to make it as physically safe for your children as possible, should happen before your babies are moving and exploring. First thing that all parents should do is get down on the floor – SEE what your babies see – what is in their reach – then move to all fours and crawl around. While you may feel ridiculous – you will see things the way your babies do – and that will enable you to find any problems before they do.
NEVER leave one of your babies on a surface other than the floor. This includes couches, chairs, tables, changing tables, beds etc. Even when your baby is still little and can’t roll over yet , they can wiggle and small changes in their weight shifting can result in them rolling off a higher surface.
NEVER leave a baby in a tub with any water in it at all – not even for a moment. Don’t rely on baby seats on head rests in the tub as a slippery baby with a heavy head can squirm enough to end up in the water, and if face down , can easily drown in a matter of minutes. Don’t answer the door or the phone – they can wait.
You should check the water heater temperature as well to be sure is is not higher than 120 degrees F (about 45 degrees Celcius)
Babyproofing for older babies.
When babyproofing your home, remember that babies explore their world with their eyes and hands and their mouths. Everything will go into their mouths – so look out for small things that could choke them – vacuum and sweep frequently. If you have older children with toys with small pieces – put them up high or away altogether until the twins are older.
Make sure all electrical outlets are covered so that little fingers aren’t able to poke things into them. Look at things like lamps which often have cords that will get pulled on – we had to remove all table lamps quickly as they were pulled off the end tables.
Check to make sure that your blinds do NOT have hanging cords – tie them up or remove them. They are a strangulation hazard that young children can die from.
Move all knick knacks and books, plants to higher ground – the higher the better. It’s easier to have things out of sight than it is to be saying ‘no’ constantly – as well as finding your favorite items broken later when they find a way to reach them.
Babies love books, magazines and paper and will rip and try to eat them. Some inks can be toxic and wadded up paper when eaten can choke a baby. Put your magazine rack away for now and keep newspapers and books and any important papers high up and away from curious fingers.
If you or anyone in your family – or your visitors smoke – PLEASE do not allow it in your home around your children. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke have much higher rates of respiratory illness, asthma and are more likely to smoke as adults. Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, tobacco, matches, lighters , ashtrays and cigarette butts are all poisonous to your children. Keep all these items out of your home and protect your babies.
Babyproofing for Household Toxins
Go through your home and look in every drawer, pantry and cupboard. Read the labels. Check for childproof lids on cleaners. Move everything that is low down out of the kitchen if you can – a top shelf in a high closet or pantry will be safer. Dishwasher detergents and soaps, laundry products, stain removers and household cleaners can all be deadly. Toilet bowl cleaners and furniture polish – silverware polish – all lethal if ingested by your babies. Box them up – consider finding safer cleaners for your home – both for air quality for your family and the environments and to reduce the risk of poisonings.
Medications and vitamin and mineral supplements should be stored up high in a locked cabinet. Don’t assume they are unreachable to your twins. Mine would boost each other up , stack furniture and find ways to get what they wanted.
Look in your kitchen cupboards. Are there things there that could fall and injure a little one? Heavy cans, pots breakable bowls ? Or just things that would spill easily and cause a big mess for you ? Really take some time to re-think your kitchen cabinets – keep plastic containers on the bottom – things that are interesting yet safe for babies to get into.
When our twins were still crawling we just had wooden spoons holding cupboard doors closed. Once they started pulling themselves up we needed latches. Once my son crawled INTO the oven – that was it – we baby gated the kitchen completely so that they could not come in. While we felt like we were in a cage – it was the only way I felt safe cooking and knew the twins were safe.
Some things are invaluable with having multiples. Baby gates are one of them. You can use them to prevent falls down stairs, to keep an area designated a No Baby Zone, keep your twins IN an area – or OUT of one. Babyproofing with baby gates is fastest and easiest way to keep those twins in a safe place!
A play yard is another way to create a safe baby zone- look for the expandable kind.
Bouncy seats, swings, doorway jumpers and other baby seats- all great to keep babies in one place – just make sure your babies are fastened in securely and that they are used on the floor – not a table or chair on anything else. Make sure you’re not leaving your baby in any of them for longer than 30 minutes at a time to make sure you’re not doing anything negative to your baby’s physical development.
High chairs and strollers – must- haves ! Just always be sure that the safety belts are working and that you are using them – even if it’s ‘just for a minute’.
Babyproofing for visiting – or visitors.
This is a tough one – people who come to visit you may not be used to being around twin babies who are into everything. While it can help having a set of hand to help you with the babies – teaching others is important as well.
Visitors who have medications !! Make SURE they know they cannot leave these around – even Tylenol or vitamins. Eyeglasses – keep in a case not left on a table to be broken. Books out of reach – purses kept closed and hung up – babies love to go through the contents of purses. If your guests are drinking coffee or tea – have them keep it out of reach !!!!!!! These are all from experience by the way .
Visiting somewhere else – do a quick scan – are there breakables low down?? Poisonous plants within reach? Bowls of loose change or safety pins or peanuts on a counter or table? Is there a way to block off the stairs? Are there pets that should be put away for your visit? Is there dog or cat food on the floor accessible to your babies? Is the toilet closed? It’s constant as a parent of twin babies – you are always on the alert as your twins are going here and there , getting into everything while guests and family members think it’s so ‘cute’ !!!
Babyproofing for twins isn’t something that you do once, and then you’re done. You do it all the time, because your babies are always learning and growing and you’re trying to keep them safe. The first few years are tough, and then they grow a little more, and understand a little more, and it does get easier.