Youngsters will likely laugh with joy when watching your pets, and these simple baby-proofing ideas will ensure your home is safe for everyone.
You probably got used to not handling the litter box when you were pregnant, now it’s time to do some baby-proofing so your little one doesn’t either. Consider investing in a litter box with a cover. It won’t keep eager toddlers out forever, but will slow him down enough for you to catch him before he crawls in or gets a fist full of litter in his mouth.
Be on the lookout for puddles. Pets may be jealous of the new addition and react to the change by leaving urination surprises. Clean up any accidents immediately. Baby playing with paper towels is bad but baby playing with dirty paper towels is much worse.
Keep all pet food dishes out of your child’s reach. They will be the first thing baby will head for when placed on the floor. The water dish ends up toppled, creating a slipping hazard for unstable feet, the food, the perfect size for little fingers, becomes an unscheduled snack. Animals are protective of their food and a dog may growl, snip or bite. Baby proofing meal time is as easy as distracting baby with a toy while feeding pets and picking up the dishes immediately afterwards, or putting them in a room off-limits to the little one, allowing the pets in periodically through the day to get refreshment. Don’t forget about baby proofing snack time also. Limit treats so pets don’t hide the leftovers for later. Treats that can be consumed quickly, like soft, chewy snacks are better than rawhide or bones that have to be gnawed slowly, taking more time to eat and a longer opportunity for a dangerous confrontation between pet and baby.
Lock doggie doors. Raise cat beds off the floor and be mindful of cat shelves that baby could pull up on. Keep stray pet shavings off the floor. Make sure fish tank lids are tight, with no dangling cords (tape them to the base if necessary). Secure tanks so they can not topple over if your curious infant pushes against the glass to get a better look.
Get busy baby proofing pet playtime by clearly defining which toys are for baby and which are for your pets and by keeping them separate. I am, like many of us, guilty of buying too many toys for my two dogs. By throwing away the old, torn ones, I was able to limit the number sufficiently enough to keep track of them instead of having them end up scattered all over. I also got rid of any with small parts, loose feathers etc. that could be hazardous if they did end up finding their way into baby’s hands. To avoid confusion and possibly dangerous confrontations, those baby toys that squeak like the pets toys, I wait to play with until the dogs aren’t around.
Baby proofing doesn’t mean keeping pets away and isolated. Think about ways you can all still play together. Teach your child to be gentle with your pets. Keep pet’s nails short to prevent scratches on baby’s soft skin. Keep fur combed to avoid fistfuls sticking to small hands. Rather than sacrificing the dogs walk to walk the baby, I wore my infant in a front and then a back carrier leaving my hands free to hold the dogs leashes and when pushing him in the carriage, I put my two dogs on a dual harness.
Above all, be vigilant. Baby proofing means never leaving a young child unattended with your pets. Baby proofing can only do so much. No matter how well they may seem to get along, those teeth and claws are sharp and it only takes a moment for a dangerous situation to develop.