Baby Prep – 101

As next month, September, is Baby safety month, we thought we’d get started a little early and give you some helpful (designer approved) tips for preparing your home for the little ones in your life. Excited?! Good! So are we.

The Interior Designers at McCoy Homes, take a three pronged approach to Baby Prep: Safety, Storage and Organization. Having a “Safety First” policy is sort of a no-brainer for us. Of course we want things to be comfy and lovely, but sacrificing safety for either just isn’t something we’re willing to do. That said, let’s get started… 

SAFETY FIRST! 

Give your house a thorough and unbiased Safety Check. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to do this and do it well. You just need to find a good check list (see below), have a little common sense, and be willing to solicit a second (or third) opinion.

BEFORE BABY COMES HOME

CRIB CHECK – Check for recalls and missing or loose pieces or parts. Confirm that your crib and the mattress conform to current government safety regulations. The US Consumer Products Safety Commission is a great resource!  Don’t forget to check your pack-n-play, portable crib, and/or bassinet as well. 

CLEAR THE CRIB – Remove pillows, bumpers, plush toys and heavy blankets from your child’s bed. Sure, that bumper your Aunt Sally made and all 47 of those super-soft lovies you got at your work shower make your baby’s nursery look warm and inviting. BUT, as there were more than three thousand five hundred sleep related infant deaths last year alone, we think you’ll agree that adding “comforts” that increase the risk of suffocation to your baby’s bed just isn’t a good idea. 

If an empty crib just looks sad and sterile to you, and you find yourself resisting our advice, read the CDC’s article on Safe Sleep for Babies. It’ll change your mind.

SENSOR CHECK – Make sure that your smoke detectors and your carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order. Ask your local monitoring service to confirm that all systems are go. And double check with the local authorities (fire and police) to confirm that your monitoring service can/is communicating with them directly and efficiently. 

WRITE IT ALL DOWN: Create a list of important numbers: pediatricians, medical specialists, emergency family contacts and emergency services – including poison control. Laminate your list and then store it in an easy-to-access location. 

CONFIRM VISIBILITY – Make sure that the numbers on your house are easily seen from the street – during the day AND at night. Invest in some outdoor lighting if need be. In an emergency, seconds are precious. You don’t want emergency services to waste them hunting for your house number. 

CHECK YOUR RAILS – Confirm that your hand rails have been installed properly and that they are secure. Reinforce them if you’re the least bit concerned. Since roughly 25% of infant accidents happen while a parent is carrying the child up or down stairs, we think this is one point worth checking twice! 

WHEN BABY MOBILIZES

CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN – Remove dust, dirt and grime from all surfaces on which your baby is likely to crawl. 

SHOES OFF – Have guests and family take their shoes off at the door. Many parents argue that subjecting your child to a little “clean dirt” is actually good for their development. And, to an extent, we agree. But, when have you ever been downtown and thought, “Mm! Now this is come good looking dirt!”…? Instituting a “No Shoes Inside” policy will help keep your home tidy and your baby healthy.

OUTLETS – While recent regulations have done a lot to reduce the number of toddler deaths related to electrical outlets, we still believe in covering our electrical outlets. It’s such an easy thing to do. For more tips on reducing your child’s risk of electric shock, check out Healthy Children’s article on the subject. 

AWAY WITH THE CORDS – Drapery cording, electrical cording… hide it and secure it – or get rid of it. A child can strangle him/herself on drapery cording and can do the same with electrical cording. Electrical cording, however, presents the additional risk of pulling whatever it’s attached to over onto your child. 

PAD THE HARD STUFF – Cover hard edges and sharp corners with protective padding to reduce the risk of head injury as baby begins to pull up and scale the furniture. 

TIE EVERYTHING DOWN – Make sure the Tip Bracket on your range was installed properly. Make sure book cases and televisions have been properly secured and won’t fall over onto your child. 

BATTEN THE HATCHES – Install safety gates at the bottom of your stairs and in the doorway of any room that has not been properly “baby-proofed”. Secure your kitchen and bathroom cabinets with locks or latches. 

MOVE IT ON UP – Take all of the chemicals and plastic bags out from beneath your kitchen sink (and any other place easily accessible to a crawling child) and move them to the top of a closet or into a lockable pantry. Is this particularly convenient? No. But neither is a poison related hospital stay. 

GET DOWN + PICK UP – Remove chocking hazards from the floor where your baby will crawl and/or toddle. To know that you’ve been thorough, you’ll likely want to get on your hands and knees and move through your home just like your baby would. The things that you missed while you were standing up will probably shock you. 

ORGANIZATION 

This Nursery Design Studio article borrowed tips from Marie Kondo’s book The Magic of Tidying Up and applied them to nursery storage and organization. It’s a good, but quick read.

STORAGE 

Rule number one: don’t skimp! Get the good, heavy bins with the lockable lids. And get plenty of them. For storage that you have to look at, spring for the cute stuff! If you like it, you’ll be more likely to use it. And if you use it, your life will be less cluttered and, therefore, less difficult! (Notice we didn’t say “easy”? You are about to bring a baby home after all…). Here are two cool storage systems we really like…

Nordic Storage System in Charcoal from the Container Store

Kuggis Storage Boxes from Ikea

ADDITIONAL HELPFUL HACKS

DITCH SYNTHETIC SCENTS! 

In an effort to reduce the amount of harsh chemicals with which your baby comes into contact, consider getting rid of scented candles and room sprays. Opt, instead, for a this Essential Oil Diffuser from Vitruvi

HEPA FILTERS + HOUSE PLANTS

Clean air is essential for the wellbeing of everyone in your home – especially your baby! So we recommend a three pronged approach to air purification! First, make sure that your vacuum cleaner has a well rated Hepa Filter. Perhaps this list from Best Reviews will be helpful? Second, we recommend an air purifier. Good Housekeeping rates the Blue Pure 211 as 2019’s best Air Purifier. Lastly, we recommend mother nature’s very own air purifiers, house plants! Check out this list of 20 BABY SAFE HOUSE PLANTS from Home and Garden. Be very careful not to deviate – some house plans are toxic. 

This fun potting solution from West Elm is one of our favorites!

The Equus Wall Vase from Global Views is another one! 

Well, that’s it for Baby Prep 101! We hope you found it helpful. But, if your needs go beyond that of a few safety tips and/or storage ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out! We’d be honored to help you plan a new custom home for your growing family. Send us an email or call the showroom today.