Although it isn’t until age two or three when children actually begin to play collaboratively with one another, it is still great to set up playdates with your baby and other kids even when they’re young. Time with other kids can help improve development, entertain your baby, and it may even give you a few minutes to sit back and relax while your baby focuses their attention on someone else. Today we will share some safety tips for baby playdates.
How to Safely Plan a Baby Playdate
In this article we will breakdown important safety tips for baby playdates including:
- Setting up a safe play area
- Always supervise babies
- Be aware of older children and pets
- Cancel playdates when babies are sick
- Check ahead of time to see if the home is baby-proof
Set Up a Safe Play Area
It is important to give babies a safe area to play and there are a couple of different ways you can set this up. Depending on the age of the babies, you’ll likely need a soft area such as a clean rug or blanket. You may also want to use some pillows so that babies who are crawling, rolling over, or starting to stand have soft surroundings in case they fall over. Some parents may opt to let babies freely roam around the home, or you may want to set up a baby playpen to keep babies contained. Get some sensory toys that are safe for your baby’s age group such as blocks, rattles, and teething toys and place them in the play area.
Always Supervise Babies
Even if you have babies safely contained in a baby-proof area, you should still always supervise them. Babies can easily get hurt and often want to put random items in their mouths, so it is very important that an adult is watching at all times. Make sure that there aren’t any items nearby that could be a choking hazard. Playdates make it easier for parents to relax since there is more than one adult present to supervise if one adult needs to walk away. Be sure to clearly communicate to the other parent if you need to walk away so that they know to watch the babies.
Be Aware of Older Children and Pets
If the other home where you plan to take your baby has older children and/or pets living there, these are important safety considerations to be aware of. Most older siblings will be comfortable playing around your baby, given that they are used to having a baby around their own home so you probably won’t need to worry but it is still important to pay attention and be aware. In case there are older kids at the home who aren’t used to babies, you’ll want to make sure they know to play gently around younger babies. When it comes to pets, again you likely won’t need to worry if you’re going to a home where there are already kids around because the pets are likely already used to it. It is still important to pay attention though and speak up if you become uncomfortable with how close an older kid or pet is getting to your child.
Cancel Playdates When Babies are Sick
Babies and toddlers have no concept of personal space, so they can easily spread sickness between each other. If either baby has started to show symptoms of sickness including cough, runny nose, fever, digestive issues, or changes in appetite, you’ll definitely want to reschedule the playdate for another time. Don’t feel bad cancelling plans because of a sickness, it is much better to refrain from getting the other family sick.
Check Ahead of Time to See if the Home is Babyproof
It is important to be aware of whether or not the other home is babyproof, so you should talk with your host ahead of time to check. If the home isn’t babyproof, you’ll want to plan on creating a babyproof area for your baby to play so that you don’t have to worry about any accidental injuries. Plan on setting up a playpen or laying down a soft mat for your baby if there isn’t already a baby friendly play area. If the home is babyproof, you won’t have to worry as much about your baby roaming around but you should still pay attention since babies and toddlers are really curious and love to get into things.
Tips for Baby Proofing a Home
If the home where you plan to bring your baby for their playdate isn’t babyproof, you may want to bring some supplies with you to make sure things are safe. Here are some safety hazards to be aware of if you are taking your baby to a home that isn’t babyproof.
- Make sure that outlets are covered to prevent electrocution injury. Babies and toddler are very interested in power outlets and may even try to stick items into outlets that aren’t covered.
- Check for any loose or hanging wires that could present a safety hazard. Keep your baby away from any wires that seem to pose a risk.
- Be aware of low cabinets and check to see if they are locked. If they aren’t, you may want to secure them with a rubber band or tape, or just prevent your baby from going into rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom.
- Check with your host to make sure that they don’t have any strong cleaning chemicals within reach to children. If they do, ask that they move them to a higher area for safety.
- Check the floor area for any hazardous items such as paper clips, pens, or anything that is small enough to be a choking hazard.
Baby playdates can be so much fun since they give you and your baby a chance to socialize a bit and help switch up your day-to-day routine. By taking a few precautions into consideration, your baby can safely play with other kids on a regular basis.
The Pop N’ Go Playpen is a super safe and comfortable playpen for babies of all ages.