Life tends to move quickly for 20- and 30-somethings nowadays. Once you find the right partner, it seems like weddings, house hunting, and babies for the next 10 years. For many young couples, owning a new home opens a whole new world of hazards for themselves, their pets and especially their newborn babies. One of the first things you need to do before even opening a moving box is baby-proof your new home.

One of the best things to do in your new home is to get down on the floor and get a baby’s-eye view. It may sound silly, but there are plenty of dangerous items you can overlook when you’re at eye level. You may need to crawl around to check feel if there are carpet staples or rough pieces of tile that need to be fixed.

Next, check your water heater. It’s very easy for babies to get burns, so you’ll want to turn the heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cupboard doors should always be secured, especially those with household cleaners and supplies in them. Make sure to keep an eye on baby though, some children are stronger and more determined to get into cupboards and cabinets.

Cover any and all sharp edges on coffee tables, couches and end tables. When babies learn how to walk, they need to coast by holding onto chairs and tables. If they slip, sharp corners could become very dangerous.

Make sure every area of the house has both a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.

Cover electrical sockets with cover plates or plastic plugs.

Keep all siblings’ toys separate, even if they are large, many older children’s toys have small or removable pieces that could pose a choking threat to baby.

Remove all refrigerator magnets as well. Magnets can fall off or slide down the refrigerator every time the door closes, placing the choking hazard at baby’s level.

If you’ve just bought your home, ask your realtor or neighbors to help out with the baby-proofing process. Many times young couples will find themselves in a neighborhood with other young families, who can be very helpful. If you feel you need more help, you can hire a professional baby-proofer, who will come to your home and help you. Ask neighbors, friends and your Berkeley real estate agent for suggestions for a reputable baby-proofing expert.

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