Home Maintenance | March 14, 2019
Bringing baby home for the first time is incredibly exciting — and just a little bit terrifying! Are you ready? Is your house ready? Well, you may never feel completely prepared for what parenthood has in store, but at least you can prepare your home for baby’s arrival.
We’ve assembled a thorough guide for baby proofing your home, including helpful HVAC-related tips to keep baby safe and comfortable. Even if baby isn’t due for a few more months, there are plenty of things you can do now to prepare a safe nest for their arrival. And be sure to run through our handy baby proofing checklist again before baby starts to crawl. Once baby is on the move, you’ll have a whole new set of hazards to defuse!
Protect your bundle of joy from HVAC-related hazards
- Ensure baseboard heaters are securely attached to the wall.
- If your thermostat is adjustable remotely, either with a remote control or with an app on your phone, make sure access to your HVAC system doesn’t fall into the wrong little hands!
- Install special screens or filters in your heating vents/registers. What could be more fascinating than a secret tunnel in the floor that periodically blows air throughout the day? For most toddlers, the temptation to remove vent covers and subsequently drop things (soothers, toys, raisins, poop — yes, poop!) down the floor vent is very compelling. Avoid an embarrassing call for HVAC maintenance by placing vent filters and securing vent covers in place.
Baby proofing your whole home checklist: Before baby arrives
General whole-home baby proofing and safety tips
- Prepare a first-aid kit and attend infant first aid training.
- Purchase fire extinguishers and learn how to use them. Many retailers sell combo packs of rechargeable extinguishers, which may include one general purpose and one kitchen extinguisher. Note the expiration date of your extinguishers in your calendar.
- If you don’t already have them, install carbon monoxide detectors and test your smoke detectors regularly to ensure they’re functioning properly.
- Put non-slip pads under rugs throughout your home to avoid slipping and falling while you’re carrying baby.
- Add important contacts to your phone, including your pediatrician, poison control, and any other emergency contacts, as well as important medical information, such as baby’s blood type.
- Set a maximum temperature for your hot water heater of 48 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit). Most modern water heating systems will let you set a maximum water temperature to help reduce the chance of accidental burns and to also reduce energy consumption.
- Top tip, HealthLink 811 is a great resource for new Alberta parents: remember that number!
Baby proofing the nursery
- Place a thick rug or carpet on the floor in front of the changing table.
- Position the crib well away from windows, vents, wall decorations, lamps, and cords.
- Follow instructions carefully when constructing nursery furniture and ensure all bolts and screws are tight.
- Maintain an ideal baby room temperature between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit). At this temperature, baby should be comfortable sleeping in a onesie and either swaddled or in a sleep sack/suit. Transition to a light blanket once baby is over 12 months.
Assess indoor air quality and arrange HVAC maintenance
Prior to bringing home your bundle of joy, you may also want to assess your home’s indoor air quality and make sure HVAC systems are running in good condition for optimal comfort and safety. Need a bit of maintenance before baby comes home? Review our maintenance plans and our air quality products and services. Products such as air purifiers or humidifiers might be worthwhile additions to your home’s heating system and can help reduce allergens and improve home comfort.
Baby proofing your home checklist: When baby starts to crawl
It might sound crazy, but the experts suggest that the best way to thoroughly assess your home for toddler hazards is to get down on their level — literally get down on the floor and see exactly what dangers are lurking for baby who is crawling and pulling themselves up. Run through the following checklist to cover the bases:
General whole-home childproofing and safety tips
- Put safety covers over electrical outlets.
- Fasten furniture such as bookcases, shelving units, and appliances to the wall to help avoid tipping.
- Choking hazard rule of thumb: Anything that can fit through a toilet paper tube is a potential choking hazard.
- Put baby gates at the top and bottom of staircases and anywhere else you don’t want baby to go.
- Install locks or latches on cabinet doors (the magnetic ones are great) as well as the oven door, and place door knob covers on any doors you don’t want a growing toddler to open.
- Keep your pet’s food and treats out of your child’s reach.
- Unplug small appliances such as curling irons or electric shavers when not in use and stow out of reach.
- Place garbage receptacles inside latched cupboards.
- Ditch any tablecloth or runner that drapes over the edge of the table.
- When cooking, turn pot handles toward the wall and keep hot food or drinks well away from the edge of the counter.
Childproof the nursery and bathroom
- Lower the crib mattress so that baby can’t climb out.
- Remove mobiles or anything dangling over the crib.
- Install a safety lock on the toilet seat.
- Place a soft cover over the bathtub spout and knobs.
- Move all medications and herbal supplements well out of reach.
- Place non-slip bath mats on the floor beside the tub.
Childproof the backyard
- Empty wading pools and store them upright after every use.
- Repair any damaged fence boards and ensure the gate latches tightly.
- Install a fence around your outdoor air conditioning unit.
And don’t worry, if you do have to make an awkward phone call regarding certain ‘items’ that have made their way into your venting system, we won’t judge. With over 13 years providing HVAC installation and service in Sherwood Park, Edmonton (and over 2 decades as parents ourselves) we’ve seen it all and we’re always here to help.