Create A Baby-Friendly Living Room

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Nothing compares to the joy of watching your baby grow and learn. You want your child to be able to explore his world, but you also consider safety to be a top priority. Most families spend more time in the living room than any other area of the house, and you want this to be a cozy, usable, family-friendly space. You also want it to be safe for your baby. Those goals don't have to be mutually exclusive. You can have an attractive living room that is also the perfect place for your child to spend time interacting with his or her family and world.

  • Basic Safety

The living room is the center of family life; a place to relax, play, and spend time together. It is also filled with potential dangers to your baby or toddler.

Electrical outlets and wires:Little fingers are irresistibly drawn to electrical outlets. The imagination and ingenuity of a toddler knows no bounds when it comes to finding small objects to insert into outlets just to find out what happens. To prevent electrical shocks, place covers over all exposed outlets. For convenience, purchase the sliding-cover style that allows you to use the plug without having to remove the entire outlet cover.

Lamps, television sets, DVD players, computers and music systems fill most living rooms with tempting wires dangling in your baby's line of sight. Wires are not only a shock danger to a baby eager to chew them, but they can also pull a heavy television or lamp down on top of your toddler.

You can purchase cord reels or spools to wind up any extra slack in electrical cords, or just do the job with twist ties or tape. Bundle cords together as much as possible, and use tape or cord covers to keep them securely in place. Use a cover over surge protectors or power strips.

Windows:Everyone enjoys a nice view outside a window, and babies are no exception. Unfortunately, windows pose danger to little ones. Use locks on your sliding windows to prevent a child from opening the window on his own. Mesh covers or child-safety bars allow you to keep windows open without the danger of your baby crawling or falling through.

Secure curtain or blind cords as a dangling cord can strangle a curious child. Use a cord reel or fasten the cords high up where the baby cannot reach them.

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  • Furniture Safety

Babies and toddlers like to climb, and furniture provides an exciting challenge. Toddlers like to use furniture for balance, and to pull up as they learn to walk. Take some basic safety measures to prevent accidents or injury.

Unsecured furniture:Strap or bolt all heavy or tall furniture to the wall to prevent your child from tipping it over by pulling or climbing. Don't forget the television set, which can easily be pulled off a table or stand.

Sharp edges:A fall onto the edge of a table, a sharp corner on furniture, or the fireplace hearth can severely injure your toddler. This is a particularly common source of injury as toddlers are learning to walk. You can buy bumpers or pads to cushion edges and corners, removing one more source of potential harm.

  • Living Room Décor

Your home is a reflection of you and your tastes, and nowhere reflects that as much as your living room décor. You don't have to create a lifeless, uninteresting room to make it safe, but you do need to take some basic steps to protect both your baby and your favorite possessions.

Knick-knacks:Your child's earliest years are not the best time to display your prized collection of antique dolls, the china handed down by your grandmother, or any sentimental but fragile décor. Put all breakables somewhere safe, such as up high, or inside a cabinet with locked doors. You might want to simply put delicate knick-knacks away for the time being. The early years pass by so quickly, and soon your baby will have outgrown the need for these safety measures.

Houseplants:You want your toddler to learn to eat her greens, but not when it comes to your houseplants. Many indoor plants are poisonous, and the time to find out which ones are is not when you discover your baby with a mouthful of leaves. Be safe, and keep all plants up high where baby cannot reach.

Rugs:Unsecured rugs on hardwood floors are a slipping danger. Your toddler can slide and fall, leading to injury. Use rug pads or rug tape made to hold rugs in place, and prevent any sliding or wrinkling.

Your baby will grow up before you know it. Take the time to safety proof your living room before your child is old enough to get into danger, and then you can focus on spending quality time with your baby, without worrying about injury or damage to your living room.

Last Updated: August 3, 2011
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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