Preparing for your first child is exciting and overwhelming. You can’t wait to welcome your new baby into the world but the list of things to do to prepare for the arrival can be so overwhelming – from finding the right doctor to the actual birth. And, then, there’s the nursery. You want to create the perfect space for you and your child. Pinterest and Instagram are great for inspiration but once you have your theme, you need to think about the practical matters like baby proofing. Baby proofing your nursery doesn’t have to be complicated – you just need to think like a willful baby who’s fixed on demolition.
Tips for setting up a safe nursery
Cribs – this will be one of the most important pieces of furniture you buy for your nursery as it’s where your baby will initially spend most of its time.
Here is a list of things you need to take into consideration when buying a crib:
- Regulations – Make sure your crib meets the current government safety standards (gov)
- Crib slats – crib slats should be no more than 23/8 “ wide. If they are wider your child could get itself stuck in-between the bars.
- Sides – buy a crib with fixed sides. Drop side cribs can be hazardous. There have been incidents of babies getting injured (or worse) due to failures in the hardware.
- Corner posts – look for a crib with no decorative knobs or other elements on top. This is, of course, to avoid clothing getting caught. If you like the look, however, search for cribs with posts that are 1/16” or under in height, or over 16”.
- Mattress – buy a firm, tight fitting mattress. You should not be able to fit more than 2 fingers between the edge of the mattress and the side of the crib. If the mattress is too small your baby could get caught between the crib and the mattress.
- Bare crib – use only a fitted sheet and a thin water resistant mattress cover. Blankets, pillows, bumpers and stuffed animals are discouraged to reduce the risk of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Bare is Best (#bareisbest) is the CPSC’s message for safe sleep (#safetosleep).
- Second-hand crib – if using a secondhand crib make sure it is manufactured after 2011, has no missing or broken parts and meets current safety standards. If budget is an issue, consider cutting costs by buying other second-hand furniture for the nursery, instead of the crib. Check out this link for more details on used cribs – Should you buy a used crib?
Safety considerations for the room
- Do not place any furniture close to the window. This will keep your baby from reaching the window cords and later, keep them from climbing and possibly falling. More window safety tips
- Buy cordless window coverings if possible.
- Install window guards especially if the nursery is on the second floor.
- Install plug protectors on all unused outlets. The best are ones that cover the entire plate. Toddlers can maneuver individual protectors out of the socket.
- When your baby gets older and starts crawling, safety gates are helpful to prevent late night wanderings or keep them away from potential dangers. Consider one that screws into the wall or doorjamb. Never buy an accordion-style gate or diamond shaped openings – they are a strangle hazard.
- Don’t hang anything that is heavy, like mirrors or heavy pictures over the crib. Avoid anything that could pose as a strangulation hazard. Wall decals or lightweight canvas art are good alternatives.
- Use a water-based, lead-free, zero-VOC formula paint; avoid pressed wood, particle board or plywood. Choose paper-based or natural-fiber wallpaper. Also, something to consider – new carpet emits some VOCs as well.
- Changing tables – store all changing supplies (baby powder, lotion etc.) in a location your baby can’t reach. If using a changing tray on a dresser be sure to secure it to the larger piece of furniture.
- Big furniture and floor lamps – secure large pieces of furniture to the wall and remove floor lamps that can be pulled over when the baby starts to crawl.
- Toy storage – avoid storage boxes with heavy lids or lids that can’t open easily.
- Gliders/rocking chairs – look for a rocker or glider with a stop-lock mechanism to prevent little fingers or toes from getting caught or worse.
Basic tips were provided in this blog. For a more comprehensive list, check out the links below. Childproofing is an important step but don’t wait to do it. A baby will become a curious toddler before you know it!
It’s August, it’s summer and it’s hot, but for families with school age children, the focus begins to shift from days at the beach to back-to-school. For parents, this means getting everyone ready and back on a regular schedule. For kids, there’s usually a mix of feelings, from excitement (new clothes, new school supplies, seeing friends) to anxiety (new teachers, new school, new grade, first time going to school). Here are some back-to-school guidelines to help you and your child prepare for the school year.
Back-to-School Tips for Kids
There is always some anxiety even with the excitement of returning to school– maybe it’s going to a new school, or a new teacher; or maybe it’s a different grade. There are many reasons why a child might feel anxious. Here are some tips on easing the anxiety:
- Talk candidly with them– what are they feeling about going back to school? Are they excited? Are they nervous? Are they stressed? Listen to what they are saying and offer reassurance. This will help them work through any concerns prior to school starting.
- Read them books about the first day of school – young children relate to storybook characters going through similar experiences. Book suggestions
- Be enthusiastic – tell younger children how excited and proud you are for them to start school. For older kids, highlight the positives about going back, for example, seeing old friends, favorite school activities or sports, new clothes or fun school accessories.
- Visit the school – if it’s a new school or the first time in school, arrange to visit the school. Or go to the open house, if the school has one. It’ll ease the transition on the first day if they are familiar with their new environment.
Back-to-School Tips for Parents
Back-to-school means a return to schedules, waking up early, school lunches, homework, school sports, etc. Here are a few tips to help get you prepared.
- Get younger kids back on their school sleep schedule two weeks before school starts. It is recommended that children ages 6-13 get 9-11 hours sleep.
- Create a morning routine that works for you and your family. Your child will arrive at school calm and ready to learn if their mornings are not stressful.
- Get the lists of required supplies, books, and technology they will need for the year.
- Shop early for clothes and school supplies to avoid the last minute rush. (Back to School shopping tips)
- Make appointments for a physical and an eye exam.
- Create a space where they can store their school supplies – books, backpacks, technology, etc. – to help prevent time wasted in the morning looking for something.
- Meet the teachers. “The ultimate support system is not an expert teacher, but an informed and supportive family.” Terry Heick, Edutopia.org. See Terry’s blog – Parents: 19 Meaningful Questions You Should Ask Your Child’s Teacher.
Things you can do now that will help all year round:
- Prioritize homework and limit TV, Phone, and Social Media use. (Creating a Family Media Agreement)
- Make sure they have a quiet place to do homework where there are no distractions.
- Help them prioritize their activities. Today children have a full schedule of schoolwork and after school activities, so helping them manage their activities will not only relieve stress but also provide them with skills that will carry them throughout life.
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