A Mom’s Guide to Creating a Safe Play Area for Your Baby
I’ll be honest. I really liked my son when he was in his infant stage.
But, I loved when he hit the one year mark and started to play a lot more on his own.
As a mom, I understand the value of independent play, and as much as I wanted him to play away from me, I wanted to ensure the space he was playing in was totally safe.
And, in addition to safety, I wanted to make sure he had an awesome set up to let his imagination run wild and had lots of toys available to stimulate his senses.
If you are planning on designing a space for your toddler to play in, here are a few important tips that will assist you during this process.
Tips For Making Your Baby Play Area Super Safe
- My first priority was to give my baby an area to play in that was away from stairs. My stairs have secure baby gates on them already, as well as banister guards, but I don’t want him to associate the stairs with playtime.
- You also want to pick a play area that gives your child some privacy, yet is still not fully out of sight. I turned a half of my dining room into a play area because we don’t use the dining room often and I can easily see the play space if I’m in the living room or kitchen.
- After you have an ideal location, get down on all fours and explore the area as your toddler would. Plug up any electrical sockets and keep an eye out for wires and cords. Scan furniture that needs to be moved so your baby can’t pull anything heavy over on top of themselves.
- Be sure your little one isn't playing near a fireplace that isn’t gated off, or on a hard surface that doesn’t have any kind of padding or carpeting. You can place a throw rug in the play area if you have hardwood floors or even purchase a foam play mat.
- You also want to keep your play space safe by keeping it clean. Regularly wipe down bouncers and books because babies and toddlers often drool or get snoot on them. So, in order to avoid infection, regularly vacuum, dust, sanitize, and mop the space.
- When it comes to toys, read labels and think about each one you place in their possession. If the toy’s box is recommended for a 3-year old, your 1-year old is probably not developmentally ready for it yet, and the toy could pose a safety risk due to how it’s constructed.
- If your baby is at an age where everything ends up in their mouth, you want to look over toys and avoid anything with small parts or pieces that can break off so they don’t choke on them.
- One of the biggest things to avoid in a play space is magnets. They are a huge, hidden choking hazard! You should also check parts that move on toys regularly to ensure they are still intact and aren’t ready to fall off. Basic maintenance like this helps keep your play space safe and secure.
- Finally, I’m a huge fan of arts and crafts, but your child should not be able to access these items without your direct supervision. I learned the hard way with Playdough. My son took a huge bite out of it and I had to quickly fish it out of his mouth!
What To Buy For Baby's Play Area
There are a handful of things that I recommend purchasing for your baby's play area, to make it a safer and more fun place for them to be around.
- Activity tables. One of the first things I purchased for my baby's play area was an activity table. These tables are great because they are just the right level for your toddler and it encourages off the floor play. You can place a train set on it, puzzles, a dollhouse, toy cars, you name it. The VTech Magic Star Learning Table is a great option.
- Playpen. When your baby is still young, you probably want to keep them to a playpen, so you can keep them confined to a smaller place. I've used several of these with my two kids, but here are the best-selling ones on Amazon.
- Play mat. A play mat is another great item to put in a play space for babies who are starting to crawl and are showing curiosity about their environment, but aren’t able to really get up and go yet. Play mats have tons of buttons to push, lights that blink, and other colorful and textured objects that can be manipulated. The Baby Care Play Mat is a favorite in my household.
- Baby gate. If your baby's play area is going to be part of a larger room, such as a basement or living room, you may want to "wall it off" so that baby has his own dedicated space. For this, I like to use a baby gate, and this one from North Star is my favorite.
- Foam flooring. Chances are, your little one is going to have his fair share of slips and falls in his play area. So, it's a good idea to install some foam flooring, a pretty cheap way to protect him from falling. Here's what we use for your play area.
A safe place in your home is a must for your child.
You can be sure that it’s safe and fun to be in by following some of the tips above!