Sleep Like a Baby: Infant Safety Checklist Nursery Edition

Father feeding baby standing in a crib drinking water

Congratulations! You are a soon-to-be mommy or daddy! We know what you’re thinking, “How can I keep my baby safe at home?” Well, you’ve come to the right place.

In honor of Baby Safety Month, sponsored by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), we’ve put together these quick tips to address safety concerns for infants at home.

Start with the basics

a homeowner stands on a ladder and installs a smoke detector
Every home needs working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Your home won’t be safe for your newborn if it’s not safe for anyone. Get your home in shape with the following easy home safety projects:

  • Install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and have them in the appropriate areas.
  • Check your detectors monthly to ensure they are working properly. (The vipHomeLink home management app will remind you!)
  • Stock your first-aid kit.
  • Keep a list of emergency contact information at hand, such as poison control.
  • Have a landline in your home. Emergency personnel can find your home easier, and landlines still work in the event of a power outage. (Cell phones don’t always have power or reception.)
  • Make sure the numbers on the outside of your home are easily distinguishable.
  • Check your hot water heater and make sure it’s set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so as not to scald your baby.
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vipHomeLink can help!

Get a good gauge for your home’s safety with the Home Fitness Index on our home management app! Find out your home’s score now by logging into vipHomeLink (if you’re a member) or subscribing now  (if you’re not)!

Before you welcome your baby home

a baby pushes off a present to grab a Christmas tree
Baby proofing evolves as your baby grows.

Many simple home items can quickly become home hazards. These include but are not limited to garbage cans, tablecloths, loose rugs, small appliances, glasses, oven burners, cords, and even certain houseplants. You’ll need to prioritize certain areas of your home, but baby proofing isn’t a “one and done” task. It evolves as your baby grows and starts to explore his/her home.

Start your preparations in the nursery

a dark nursery with a mobile that casts red, blue, and green lights on the wall
Where is your baby’s first bed located?

AKA your bedroom!

While some parents choose for their newborns to sleep in a nursery, American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your newborn shares a room with you – not a bed – for the first six months to a year. This is to prevent sudden infant death syndrome. (However, babies also sleep better in their own rooms after four months, so read the AAP’s full recommendations before making a decision in later months.)

Since we’re focusing on infant safety at home, let’s start by readying your baby’s crib.

a baby holds onto the tip of an adult's finger
Gaps can be no bigger than two baby fingers.

Choose the right-sized crib. Gaps around the mattress should be no bigger than two baby fingers. Also, bars should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart, which will reduce the risk of your baby getting his/her head stuck. The crib should be free of any loose screws, plastic parts, springs, and cracked or splintered wood.

Cover the mattress in only a tight-fitting sheet and stop yourself before putting in any choking hazards, such as toys, pillows, bumpers, etc. Double and then triple check the area and remove any cords. These may come from lamps and window blinds, etc.

If you’re thinking about adding a mobile to the crib, make sure it’s secure, and your baby can’t grab it.

a baby on a crib reaching up for a mobile
Only a thin, tight-fitting sheet should be in the bed.

Overall, opt for newer items and cribs, rather than hand-me-downs, as newer items generally adhere to current safety protocols. Drop cribs are the perfect example. They are no longer made in the U.S. due to their suffocation hazard, and if you have one – get rid of it!

Some parents are even ditching the “crib” idea and going with a SNOO, which rocks your baby and helps to sleep-train them. (Drew Barrymore apparently loves these.)

Set up the changing table

a baby dressed in pink on a changing table and smiling
Babies can roll even as newborns.

Your baby may not start to smile until he/she is six weeks old, but even newborns can go for a roll. When you’re setting up your changing table, stock up on contoured changing pads with raised edges. (This is to help your baby stay on the table.) Then get into the habit of keeping a hand on your baby (or the table before they arrive).

Also, keep changing supplies close but not so close that your baby can reach them since some baby cleaning supplies can be toxic when ingested.

Put on the finishes touches early

a finished nursery with a crib, a chair, and wall art that reads Dream Big
Finish your nursery before the baby arrives.

If you do need help getting your home improvement project complete, contact a licensed contractor or remodeling expert to help you. This way, you can have the space you need by the time the stork arrives!

Complete any upgrades to the nursery at least eight weeks before your baby’s arrival. Then leave the windows open as paint has harmful fumes that can threaten your baby’s development.

Dress the nursey’s floor with a thick carpet, or if you have an area rug, put double-stick tape on the bottom. This way, you won’t slip while holding your little one during those late-night crying sessions.

Secure any dresser, bureaus, or TVs to the wall with anti-tip devices. These are easy to install and relative cheap, generally under $10 per device. If you need help installing these life-saving measures, find a reliable handyman who can help.

a baby lays on a blanket, holding a doll, and looking up shocked at the camera
Adventures in parenting!

Parenting is going to an adventure, isn’t it?

If you’re worried about not addressing all the different hazards that threaten your newborn, hire a decorator or designer with baby safety expertise to help you baby proof your nursery.

As your baby grows, so will the number of safety hazards. Learn top tips for keeping your toddler safe at home, such as how to prevent burns, the dangers of sharp-edged furniture, and need-to-know product safety.

You weren’t born ready –

Two cell phones are up in front of a picture a large home and has the vipHomeLink dashboard up
vipHomeLInk can help!

But vipHomeLink can help you champion baby home safety! Our home management app can help you stay on top of home maintenance, so your home stays safe for your bundle of joy. We also have expert-backed vipTIPS to help you learn what you need to do and how to do it. In fact, personalized reminders pop into your vipHomeLink dashboard.

Sign up today with a monthly or annual membership to vipHomeLink. 

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