If there were a test to see how mommas fared in making homes safe for their babies, I would score the least. By far, this has been one of the most challenging things we have had to do since LG's arrival at Pune. The house we live in now is fairly big with a huge living + dining room, a kitchen with no doors, a long balcony that opens to the living room, a veranda outside the main door that leads to the stairs and finally a long corridor from the drawing room that leads to the three bedrooms.

What made our jobs challenging was to secure all the items that were lying on the floor away from the reach of Lil General, which meant just about everything. There is zero woodwork in this house which made moving here from Bangalore daunting. When we moved from Bangalore where everything was concealed in the wonderful woodwork we got done to this house where everything lay on the floor in cartons for over two years now, you know are in a mess if all this has to be kept atleast above 4 feet high. There are three lofts in this house each spanning about 12 feet long with a 1 feet opening to get in to the dungeon. So it is practically useless and if any man ever gets in there, there is no way out!

We finally took it upon ourselves after enough procrastination and avoiding accidents with LG, just in the nick of time. One room was kept aside for the purpose of dumping everything and secured with a lock all through the day.

Listed below are a few things that we did with each of his milestones:

The turning over stage

  1. Securing all the ends of the bed with pillows (building a fortress).But from my experience, I think it is best to place the baby down at all times unless you are within a feet's distance. You never know when they will roll over and fall ff the bed. within a day of learning how to turn, he was all over the bed. So better be safe than sorry and never underestimate what your baby cannot do. They are highly unpredictable who will never cease to surprise you.

  2. I never left him alone on a sofa since he was four weeks old.

  3. Never keeping anything on the bed that would attract him.

The crawling stage
If you have stuff removed from the ground level much before your child starts crawling, then it's good for you and everyone else in the family. I had my in-laws around for a few weeks when LG was 5 months old and I asked everyone around to help me out in putting things away. All of them procrastinated and were quick to comment that there is still a lot of time left before he reaches out for things. Sure, there is but an extra set of hands is always helpful with a baby around. You never get as much time to do anything as planned. And finally before we realized he was all over the place pulling things on a damage mission. So we either had to clean up the place making it safe for him within 2 days or else be prepared to see our valuables for the last time.

    It's never too early to put things away. Do it bit by bit from when your kid is 3 months old.
  1. Do not let any wire hang that they can reach from the ground. Wires fascinate kids for some reason.

  2. Secure all the electric points with tape.

  3. Make sure your bathroom doors close well, if not get it fixed.

  4. If your main door opens up to the stairs, ensure that you keep it closed at all points. If you have a balcony that you think is not safe, then never leave the door open. Not even for a minute. they just wait for the opportunity to sneak out.

  5. Keep potted plants away from your child's reach. I have two money plants in pots that are kept away from LG's reach by placing a wooden chair in front of the pots in the balcony. Once, he managed to reach the pots and I found his hands full of mud just about to put them in his mouth.

  6. Keep broom and mopping cloth out of reach, always. Even when the house is being cleaned. Instruct your maids to keep them away once they are done and always keep an eye when the house is cleaned.

  7. If you have a pooja room that is on ground level as ours, it is bound to attract kids. LG is always attracted to the diya and as I keep the door closed during the day, he manages to rush in as soon as it is opened. Never leave them alone with diya burning.

  8. I have a bucket full of drinking water in the kitchen that used to be on the floor. Now, i keep it on top of a counter. Ditto with the onion-potato basket.

  9. Never put any garbage (used mosquito mats, soiled diapers etc )on the floor. You will be surprised as to what they can see. Small grains and pecks of dust that we fail to see, they can see from a distance and will be quick to put in their mouth. I realized what a shitty job my maid was doing after LG came along. Dust that had gathered under the door, behind the sofa got cleaned. ensure your garbage tin has a lid and is kept in a place secured with a door.

  10. the minimum number of things on your kitchen floor and elsewhere, the better for you.

  11. If you have a habit of filling your bathtubs with water, then either stop doing that or be careful that you never ever leave the bathroom door open.

  12. Take extra care with the door knobs of every room. Make sure they don't lock on their own.LG has a habit of fiddling with the door stopper always and manages to close himself in the bedroom.

  13. If your kid eyes something but is not successful in reaching the same in his first or second attempt, be rest assured he will get it sooner than later. And much earlier than you had imagined. We had a good 5 days to save our wireless router but we failed to use that time. He dropped it 2 times and still we didn't learn our lesson. As a result, we had to spend another Rs. 2,700 to get a new router.

  14. If you have a tablecloth hanging out on the sides, make sure you put them on top else you will find all the contents of your table on the floor soon :)

  15. I had a bad experience with my music system. He managed to destroy my cassettes. The lights on the system attract him and he is always pushing some button, turning on the volume control to its maximum level etc. If you can manage to put the system at a higher level, then do that. We couldn't find a appropriate setting for my BOSE so we packed it.

  16. Many Indian kitchens do not have a door. So if you can create small insertable wooden partition, then that's great. Else you can perhaps put something to obstruct your kid from entering like a dining chair.

If it's comforting to know, you will never be completely done with child proofing your home. Just when you thought the house was safe enough for your baby to crawl, he would begin to stand and suddenly your new task is to keep everything above 4 feet. There's only so much you can do. By keeping an eye on him always until he is old enough to understand what's harmful, is what will work. The trick is not to stop them too much. Restricting kids only makes them want to do more and inhibits their creativity.

Useful links :

Childproofing Checklist: Before your baby crawls