Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

You didn’t skip prenatal vitamins or visits with your OB. Your car seat has been inspected to make sure it was installed properly. Now, make sure your house is ready for the new baby.

Bringing a baby home for the first time is a joyous occasion, but the time to start preparing your house for the new arrival begins months before the event. Some quick and easy ways to baby-proof your house are to make sure appliance cords and window blind cords are far out of reach and to move furniture away from windows. Never open windows more than four inches with a small child in the house, and if you have a staircase, a baby gate is a must.

Here are 6 more safety tips every parent should know:

1. You can sign up to receive regular email updates from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) about recalled products and warnings. Register for those e-mails at or visit to obtain information about specific items.

2. In the mid-90s, the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development launched the “Back to Sleep” campaign to encourage parents of newborns to lay their infants on their backs to sleep. That effort has helped reduce SIDS deaths more than 50 percent. When it comes to cribs, skip pillows, blankets and bumper pads. They may seem like they will make your baby more comfortable, but these items can cause suffocation. Dress your baby in a blanket sleeper and lay her in an empty crib on her back.

3. You can’t eradicate all the unsafe items from your home, but you can put locks on doors that go to offices, storage closets, and the garage to prevent little ones from wandering into unsafe areas. And make sure that if you have guns, you practice good gun safety habits, keeping guns locked up with ammunition kept in a separate location to prevent tragic accidents.

4. Choose a paint with a low VOC (volatile organic compound) for the nursery. It’s better for your baby’s breathing. Be sure all heavy bookshelves and bookcases throughout the home are bolted securely to the walls.

5. Never, ever leave your child unattended in the tub for even a second. Don’t even text, talk on the phone, or get distracted for any reason. Ignore distractions like ringing telephones and doorbells. Bring everything you will need to bathe the baby into the bathroom with you, and if something happens where you must leave, wrap your baby in a towel and take him or her with you.

6. Discard as many household cleaners and chemicals as you can live without. Even makeup and other beauty products can be poisonous to your baby. Switch to all natural cleaning and beauty products.

Before bringing baby home, get down on your hands and knees and view your home from infant eye level. You’ll be surprised at the change of perspective.