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Health & Baby

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Safety-Proofing Your Home

Month 6, Week 1

Now is the perfect time to baby-proof your house. Your little one isn't crawling yet, but he could begin any time during the next few months.

It's better to prepare for a mobile baby ahead of time than scramble around in his wake to move dangerous items.

You should:

  • Save the national poison control hotline number in your phone and post it at home, in case your baby ingests something he shouldn't: 800-222-1222.
  • Be sure that your bookshelves, changing tables and ottomans are sturdy, so your baby won't accidentally pull furniture onto himself while trying to get into a standing position. Anchor wobbly furniture to the wall.
  • Use child-proofing products throughout your home: electrical outlet covers, safety gates at the tops and bottoms of staircases, cabinet and drawer locks, adhesive foam bumpers on coffee table corners and fireplace hearths.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Although you won't understand anything that your baby says for several more months, he's beginning to grasp some of the things that you say to him regularly. Talking to your curious baby throughout the day will help him further his understanding of language.

Here's what he may already know or will learn during the next few weeks:

  • He may respond to his own name, looking up to see what you want when you call him.
  • When you say “no,” he may stop doing the activity that you just forbade.
  • He may conclude that you're pleased or upset simply from the tone of your voice.
  • If you say something to him, he may babble a response. Reply and he'll respond again. Voila! It's your first of many conversations.

If your baby isn't doing this yet, don't worry. Each baby is unique. And you can always ask your pediatrician about any concerns you might have.

Month 6, Week 1 Tips

  • Keep the cords from blinds and drapes out of reach of curious babies, as they can pose a strangulation risk.
  • Make sure large lamps or pieces of furniture are stable so that they can't tip over if your child pulls up on it.
  • Place dangerous liquids -- liquor, cleaning supplies -- in locked cabinets that your baby can't access.
  • The best way to babyproof a room is to see the space from your infant's perspective: Get on your knees and notice what can be grabbed from a crawling position and what's on the floor.
  • Don't get too annoyed when your baby throws his rattle on the floor for the umpteenth time. The game helps him learn about cause and effect.
  • Never place your infant car seat on top of a supermarket shopping cart; it could tip over. Instead, put the seat inside the cart or place your baby in a front carrier or stroller.
  • While you're thinking about safety, make sure your smoke detectors are working -- check them monthly -- and brush up on your family's fire escape plan. You do have one, right?

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