Create a safe environment for your baby

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by Julie Snyder

Safe environmentDuring your pregnancy, you make sure your baby has all the building blocks to grow a healthy mind and body. You avoided stuff that might harm your precious babe, like alcohol, pesticides and even some of your make up.

Your next goal is providing a quality environment for your baby.

During the first year and a half, your baby's brain develops at a stunning rate.

These tips can help you create a safe environment for this new person

Your baby should be able to safely explore, develop and grow in the healthy nest that you build for him or her.

Your baby's safe and secure environment

Safety first

You've adjusted to the new family member. Baby might even be sleeping at night. Just as you got the knack of things, your child became mobile.

Gate off dangerous areas: A well-placed gate encourages your child to stay in areas you've made safe. It can also prevent falls and make pets off limits.

Wires and cords: Shorten and tape them to avoid strangling accidents. Check wires for fraying and cover unused outlets. Make it a habit to pick up stray shoe laces, belts, ties and plastic bags.

Secure unstable furniture. Screw bookshelves and furniture to studs in the wall. Remove floor lamps or tuck them into inaccessible areas.

Doors and windows: Bar or screen windows so that your climber won't lean against the screen and take a tumble. Use cabinet latches and guards to protect fingers.

House plants: Some plants are toxic. Check yours and replace the poisonous ones. Are some of your house plants vines or dangle? Place those out of reach. Your child might not be able to resist giving them a tug.

Green up baby's space

Making green decisions can affect your baby's overall health in a big way. It's easier than you think! These tips can get your started making baby's nest environmentally friendly

Non-toxic paints: The vapors from common paints continue to leach into the air long after the paint job. Choose non-toxic, water-based, VOC-free paints.

Natural flooring: Carpet also gives off fumes long after installation It can also host dust mites and other allergens. Tile or hardwood from a natural source can be easily cleaned and doesn't hold onto irritants.

Natural furniture is made of sustainable wood and painted with non-toxic paints. Natural furnishings are a great investment, especially if you're planning for more than one baby.

Clean air: Indoor air is generally more polluted than outside air. Opening the windows for a few minutes each day helps clean it up. Some experts recommend using a HEPA air filter.

Organic bedding: Babies sleep a lot. Bedding made from organic cotton and batting that hasn't been treated with formaldehyde or bleached is your child's healthiest option.

Safe toys: Eventually, everything not nailed down ends up in your baby's mouth. Plastics may contain BPA and other harmful chemicals, some paints contain lead or other heavy metals. Choose toys made with non-toxic materials.

Natural cleaning products: Common household cleaners introduce toxins into your home. Use natural alternatives like vinegar and baking soda. Natural alternatives bypass toxins and save you money.

Add an element of fun

You've made choices to protect your baby's developing brain. Set aside a space so your baby can exercise that brain! The area might contain a variety of textures, levels and surfaces.

Then comes the fun part! Add an item to interest the little explorer. It might be a set of wooden blocks, fuzzy blanket, a cardboard box or the laundry basket with a few hand towels in the bottom.

How do you keep your young child safe at home?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.