Safe to Explore

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Well, Veronika is a crawler! Her big brother skipped this milestone (which, in fact, doctors don’t refer to as a milestone, since so many kids skip it), so a nine-month-old on the move is new to me! Here are a few baby-proofing tricks I’ve uncovered in just a few days to make sure Veronika can safely explore!

  • Cover all electrical outlets with safety covers. Yes, these might be annoying when I have to remove one to vacuum a room or plug in an appliance, but the alternative is far worse.Safe to Explore (7)
  • Make sure all rugs are slip-proof.
  • Keep medicines or cleaning supplies out of reach or in cabinets with safety locks. I quickly moved our paint bin into a cabinet, too, after Veronika decided it was her favorite thing to head towards in the playroom.
  • Keep all toys small enough to choke on out of reach. Since we don’t have a baby gate large enough to divide the playroom from the living room, big brother helped me create “pillowville.” Safe to Explore (2)Veronika stays on one side with baby-safe toys and all the big boy stuff (Legos, Playmobil) lives on the other side of the divide. Make sure to box up small toys at the end of each day to be safe.Safe to Explore (3)
  • Use wall anchors to stabilize furniture that can tip, like bookshelves or stand lamps.Safe to Explore (8)
  • Check for breakable objects that baby can tug down from shelves or windowsills. If need be, remove to an area the baby can’t reach.Safe to Explore (1)
  • Get down low and look at the room from your baby’s vantage point. I hadn’t realized how obvious my computer cord was until at her eye-level. You can use cord-wrapping devices for all the pesky cords that come with modern life, or move those objects to a different room. Safe to Explore (4)Looks like the computer will have to move to another spot!Safe to Explore (5)

As always, it’s a good idea to have standard first-aid items in one place, if not in a kit, and to know infant CPR. Keep emergency numbers like poison control stored in your phone so you’re never looking them up in a panic (that’s 800-222-1222 FYI).

Stay safe, and enjoy the crawling stage!



Fire Safety Drill

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This project feels far and away the most important I’ve ever posted to this blog. Travis has had a fear/fascination with firefighters lately, as so many young children do. He adores their heroics and trucks, but is scared of alarms (especially because our old building had one too many false alerts go off). My tactic on all this has been to hush those fears (“What if the alarm goes off?” “It won’t, sweetie, it will stay quiet all night,”) instead of to address the reality that it very well could, and for a real reason.

A recent article in Parents magazine shamed me straight. Just because our old building had false alarms was no reason to go on thinking every alarm in Travis’s life will just be crying wolf. He didn’t need me to coo sweet reassurances – he needed to be empowered with knowledge!

We followed Parents’ suggestions, and it was a huge hit. First, draw a map of your house, including how to get out of each room – no need to be fancy with your drawing, just make sure your child understands what’s where on the graphic.

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Now we needed to find two ways out of every room. This was a fun puzzle for Travis, more obvious in some places (a back patio door!)…

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…and trickier in others – aha, a window!

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The next step is to decide on a safe place where your family can rendezvous and wait for each other and the firefighters. Our building’s mail kiosk is a great landmark, even for a three year old. We added our “safe zone” to our drawing.

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Finally, it was time for a drill! Travis loves the timer on my phone, so we set it for two minutes. Could he and I make it to the safe zone before it beeped?

We each started from our bedrooms…

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…made it to the outside hallway…

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…and celebrated our success!

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Travis loved it all that he play-acted the drill in our living room for ages after we were done, and I caught him drawing his own escape “map.”

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Now when he asks me, “What if the fire alarm goes off?” I still first reassure him that the chances are slim. But if it does go off, he is empowered with the answer to his own question. “If it does,” I asked him, “What would you do?”

“Meet out the doorway at the mail kiosk!”