The keys to safe exploration are injury prevention and supervision. Nannies must work with parents to create a safe environment that encourages exploration. By being aware of impending milestones, parents and nannies can childproof appropriately.
Nannies should get on the floor and look at the environment from a child’s perspective. Electrical cords should be out of reach, outlets should have outlet safety covers, window and blind cords should be tied up out of reach, furniture should be stabilized and attached to the wall, safety gates should be placed and appropriately installed at the tops and bottom of stairs, area rugs should have nonskid backing and bumper guards should be placed on the corners of furniture to protect the child from sharp edges and surfaces.
Garbage should be stored in a tightly closed container and small items that pose a choking hazard to the child should always be placed out of reach. Nannies should make a habit of storing their personal items, like their purses, out of the reach and sight of the children.
Nannies should work with parents to identify a safe area where a child can be left when she needs to use the bathroom or tend to other children or activities that may require her undivided attention for a few moments. Things like helping an older sibling in the bathroom or cleaning up a spill would require that an infant be placed in a safe location while the nanny tends to the task at hand. A crib, play pen or play yard within sight and hearing of a nanny can be an appropriate location. Some family pets may need to be removed from the area during this time, depending on if they can breach the infant’s safe area.