So, the stork has made a little delivery to your front doorstep and it's time for you to start your life as a parent. Your job for now is to just keep your baby safe, well-fed and in clean diapers. There will be a lot of nursing, swaddling and if you're lucky, plenty of sleeping. And most of these activities will take place in a nursery.
Chances are, with nine months to prepare, you have your nursery all set up and ready to go. The crib is made, the changing table is stocked and the clothes are in the dresser and hanging in the closet. But before you come home from the hospital, check out these safety tips to make sure your nursery is up to snuff for your new bundle of joy.
Your baby's crib is where she'll be spending a lot of her time for the first few months. When purchasing her crib, make sure it has a safety certification seal of approval. It's important that it's placed in the right spot and that you follow other crib safety guidelines, such as not placing the crib directly over a heating and air vent. It's also best not to put the crib right beside a window. They can be drafty, and a freak window-breaking accident could occur because of things like bad weather. Finally, remove all those cute stuffed animals when it's time to put your baby to sleep to avoid the risk of a smothering accident.
Most new parents think they don't need to worry about things like outlets until their child is mobile. What they don't realize is how fast that day will arrive. Your child will start rolling, long before you're ready, and crawling will begin shortly thereafter. Once the walking is in full effect, forget it. So, even though your child is still a newborn and peacefully still at the moment, it's best to go ahead and cover those unused electrical outlets with protective inserts. It may seem premature, but before you know it, your baby will be crawling around with a desire to stick those sweet little fingers in places they shouldn't go. Installing the caps when you finish your nursery will get you and your baby used to them being there, so when the time comes, they'll discourage prodding fingers.
A playpen is a great way to entertain your baby in a safe environment. Many modern playpens have mesh sides and come with a safety seal of approval. Do a proper once-over every few days to make sure the small mesh holes aren't getting larger, and keep an eye out for things like exposed staples and loose elastic. Don't leave a lot of large stuffed toys lying around in it either. Resourceful babies have been known to stand on things and climb out when unsupervised, which is a no-no to begin with.
Changing Table Safety
Your changing table should be comfortable for both you (the right height) and your baby (soft and comfy). Many new tables have padded mats, but if you're using an older table, you can use your own soft surface like a folded blanket or towel. For safety's sake, it should also have rails to keep your infant contained while she flails and kicks. For extra protection, add a changing pad that has a safety belt attached to it, so you can strap your baby to the pad if they have a tendency to roll during changings. If you get a hand me down table, give it a good once-over to make sure there are no exposed splinters, staples or nails and that the paint or stain is in good shape.
Low or No VOC Paint
When you're decorating your nursery, go with a nontoxic paint with low or zero volatile organic compounds (VOC). They're easier to find these days because they're in high demand, so there's no reason to not spend a little extra money for the health of your baby. The chemicals added to standard paint have been identified by the EPA as the cause of headaches, nausea, and issues with the nose and throat. These effects are all even worse on your fragile newborn.
Are you looking how to involve your kids in room decorating? Read our guide on How to Involve Your Kids in Room Decorating now!
- "Decorating the Baby Nursery? Use Low VOC Paint!" Freebabynames.org, 2011. http://www.freebabynames.org/baby-tips/decorating-the-baby-nursery-use-low-voc-paint/
- Hendrick, Bill. "Drop-side Cribs Banned Due to Safety Issues." Medscape.com, December 17. 2010.http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/734485
- Horton, Jennifer. "How Low-VOC Paint Works." Tlc.howstufworks.com, 2010.https://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/low-voc-paint.htm
- "Safety Basics." Parents.com, 2011.http://www.parents.com/baby/safety/nursery/nursery-safety-tips/
- Vanderbilt, Tom. "What Ever Happened to the Playpen?" Slate.com, August, 7, 2009.http://www.slate.com/id/2224431/
- "Your newborn: Nursery safety." Abbottnorthwestern.com, 2011. http://www.abbottnorthwestern.com/ac/pregcc.nsf/page/ns