Re: What should I keep in mind in terms of safety and practicality as I set up the nursery?
Good question -- there's definitely a lot to think about as you put the nursery together. Some important things to consider:
[ ] Finish all painting and wallpapering at least eight weeks before baby is expected, and leave windows open for aeration until the actual arrival. These activities release potentially harmful fumes, but finishing them early should eliminate any risk to baby.
[ ] Notice where light enters the room. Don't put the crib somewhere that receives direct sunlight in the morning or is under a streetlight all night.
[ ] Check that none of the crib slats are more than two and 3/8 inches apart, and that all the bolts and screws are tight. Make sure there are no gaps between the mattress and crib, and look out for any small parts or plastic coverings.
[ ] Keep comforters and pillows out of the crib -- they could suffocate baby. If a pretty blanket came with the crib set, try hanging it on the wall or using it on the rocking chair.
[ ] Make sure there's room to replace the crib with a bed once baby is ready.
[ ] Use wood or cork floor or area rugs rather than wall-to-wall carpet if you can. They're all easier to clean, and don't harbor as much allergy-inducing dust.
[ ] Secure rugs to the floor with double-side tape. Wouldn't want one to slip while baby's in your arms!
[ ] Figure out how much storage space you'll need... then put in more. Almost without fail, parents underestimate the amount of stuff they'll acquire.
[ ] Don't forget somewhere for you to sit, and make it comfy. You'll spend lots of time reading and rocking in that chair.
[ ] Keep all diaper supplies close to the changing table, so you don't have to move far from baby to reach anything.
[ ] Place furniture away from the windows, and use window guards. Also, cut off any blind or curtain cords, or put them up out of reach.
[ ] Anchor all heavy furniture to the wall so it won't fall over if accidentally bumped.