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Making your home safe for your baby is of the utmost importance. Most accidents resulting in injury or death could have been prevented. There are many preventative measures that need to be taken in order to safeguard your home. There are also many safety products on the market to help keep your child out of danger.

Playpens are wonderful when you are busy and cannot give your baby your complete attention. You should start putting your baby in a playpen as soon as possible for short periods of time. If you wait until your baby is old enough to require a playpen, he may not adapt to being in it. He will wonder why you are confining him, when all along he has been able to go where he pleases. But remember, a playpen is not a babysitter, and your baby still needs your loving attention.

Baby gates are also a great item to have. You can block off restricted areas of your home. Some of the newer gates have latches that you can open and close, as opposed to stepping over or removing the gate. This is especially convenient in doorways where there are stairs. For added convenience, these gates can easily be opened with one hand.

In the kitchen, as well as the rest of your home, you need to be sure that cleaning supplies, poisons, and other caustic products are locked up, or out of the reach of your baby. Syrup of ipecac should be kept in your home in case of accidental poisoning. Emergency numbers should be kept by the phone as well. While cooking, keep the handles of your pots and pans turned in, so they aren't accidentally knocked off the stove and onto your baby.

In the living or family room, as well as the rest of the house, you need to keep poisonous plants out of reach. Poinsettia leaves, oleander, scotch broom, and daffodil bulbs are some of the many poisonous plants that are common to homes and gardens. Electrical outlet covers are available for outlets that are not in use. Guard rails should be installed around fireplaces and woodburning stoves. Electrical cords throughout the home should be free from exposed wiring. Blind cords should not have loops that can cause strangulation.

The bathroom can be a dangerous place for your baby. Keeping the door closed is an obvious solution, but it's best to baby-proof the bathroom as well. A baby can drown in a open toilet. There are latches that can be installed to prevent a baby from lifting the lid. Also, always let the water out of your bathtub immediately after use. A baby can drown in a very shallow amount of water. It is also wise to keep the temperature of the hot water in your home set at 120 - 125 degrees Fahrenheit, so your child cannot be scalded. Never, leave your baby in the bath for even a moment. That is all it takes for a tragedy to occur. Medications should be up high or locked up. If you have an old prescription, it should be disposed of by flushing it down the toilet. Cleaning supplies should not be kept under the sink unless the cabinet can be locked, and kept locked at all times.

The nursery can also have hidden dangers. Be sure that the crib has slats that are no more than 2 1/2 inches apart. The mattress should fit the crib well, with very little space between the side rails and the mattress. A baby can become lodged between the mattress and the crib and suffocate if the mattress is the wrong size. Never walk away from your baby while he is in his bed with the rail down, or on an adult bed or changing table. He may not be able to roll over yet, but there's a first time for everything.

If you think there may be problems you are not aware of, get down on the same level as your baby. This will help you to see your home the way he sees it. You may be surprised at what he can get into. Everything is so exciting and new to your baby, and he will naturally be curious. Baby-proofing your home will allow him to learn and explore. He is completely relying on you to care for him, and keep him safe.