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Parent to Parent: Tips for toddler-proofing the home
Parent to Parent

Parent to Parent: Tips for toddler-proofing the home

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Q • Our 7-month-old daughter is beginning to try to crawl but mainly scoots around wherever she wants to go. I know she’ll be crawling and then on to actually walking soon. We are first-time parents and want to babyproof our home to make it safer. What are some tips to do this and should we ask her grandparents to do the same?

From a reader • Honestly, we don’t really babyproof, and we certainly wouldn’t ask grandparents to do it. If they have things like wall oil plugs that give off a scent or breakable decor on the floor or on a low shelf, then yes, we’d make sure that whatever it might be is put up out of reach. We watch our 8-month-old pretty close. We have three kids, but they have never really been interested in sockets, etc. We make sure to keep cleaning supplies, medicine, supplements, batteries and similar things up high. — Wendy C. in Brenham, Texas

From Jodie Lynn • If you have the time to monitor your soon-to-be walking or “toddling” baby, you’ll need to watch her closely.

Many new parents go the extra mile and cover the outlets, use gates, put possible harmful things out of the reach of tiny hands, etc.

If you have stairs, then of course, gate those off. There are all kinds of new types of gates from mesh and plastic to metal. The ones that sort of grow with your child, as in expandable with various extensions and widths, would most likely work the best.

If she turns out to be an adventurous child, then do these:

• Get on a baby’s eye level to find the dangers you might otherwise miss. Go room by room and create a checklist of potential risks. Keep in mind that there will be more to do with each new stage of a child’s development.

• Prioritize the list based on the most dangerous. These include poisoning, falling, choking, burns, suffocation, etc.

• Move certain furniture pieces for a while, such as coffee tables, certain chairs, or anything that she may grab or pull herself up on or fall on that could cause injury.

• You also may want to attach your TV or certain furniture items to the wall and cover outlets just to make it a safer environment.

As far as her grandparents’ house, it’s always best to keep an extra watchful eye on her, especially if they are not too keen on the idea of moving things around.

Can you help?We have 3-year-old twins and were wondering what activities might be available to keep them busy during the winter. They are quite active and seem to get bored quickly. We can only go outside so much due to the large amount of snow in our area. They do like to play on the computer, but I’m not sure if that’s good for them at this age. My husband and I both work from home and it gets pretty stressful with two preschoolers running around.

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email:, or go to, which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

Jodie Lynn is an award-winning parenting columnist, author of five books and mother to three children. She and her family live in Wildwood.

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