Babies are like little bundles of curiosity. They explore their world with their eyes, their tiny hands and even their mouths. And while it’s totally natural that they want to learn about everything around them, it can sometimes lead to big trouble.
Unfortunately, household accidents top the list of infant injuries and fatalities in the U.S., and they can happen in the blink of an eye to even the most responsible of parents.
And while childproofing your home may seem a little overwhelming at first, prevention (along with close supervision) is the best method to keep your baby safe.
To help you put together your baby proofing, a checklist of 43 easy ways to get started. We’ve broken it down room by room. Here are some key points to cover off to be sure that the world your baby is exploring is as safe as possible.
Baby Proofing Your Living Room
Here are some common hazards to be aware of in your living room (and anywhere else in the house that they apply).
1. Cover Unused Electrical Outlets with Outlet Protectors
Babies love to stick things into other things. But if they happen to put a finger or metal object into an outlet, they could be electrocuted.
Using outlet covers is something you’ll want to do throughout the entire house. And don’t forget those power strips!
Tonya Mickelson, mom of two and founder of the Writer Mom also adds, “Most parents are aware that they need to put covers in unused outlets, but what many don't realize is that some babies and toddlers are prone to pulling out the plugs of appliances that are in use, such as the television or lamps.”
“Thankfully, you can also buy outlet boxes for covering up plugged in cords, protecting curious kiddos from a potentially dangerous situation,” Mickelson continues. Here are a few outlet boxes to invest in to protect your appliances!
2. Tape Loose Cords to the Wall
Loose cords can get wrapped around a baby’s neck. And the living room is usually full of them!
Secure them to the wall with electrical tape, so your baby doesn’t end up in a tangle. If there is an option to upgrade to cordless, do it, you'll thank yourself.
3. Put Picture Frames and Other Breakable Objects Where They Can’t be Reached
While it’s nice to display your favorite pictures in the living room, glass frames and other breakable objects are hazardous for your baby as they could easily cut themselves.
Be sure to put these kinds of items up high where your infant can’t reach them even if they are standing on a piece of furniture.
4. Secure Heavy Furniture to the Wall
Before you know it, your little one will be pulling himself up on your furniture and using it to guide his first steps. To prevent it from toppling over on your baby, be sure to secure things like bookcases, shelves, armoires and other furniture to the wall with brackets and anchors.
This especially applies to TVs. While those flat screens may seem light to an adult, they can easily crush a small child. The best method is to mount them on the wall. But if your TV rests on top of a piece of furniture, be sure to secure it with brackets and anchors to the wall.
Another tip: When it comes to shelves, store heavier objects on bottom shelves and lighter objects up top.
5. Add Corner and Edge Bumpers to your Furniture
No one learns to walk without taking a few spills.
But for some reason, corners and sharp edges are like magnets for babies. Putting edge and corner protectors on your furniture may not look that stylish, but they’re a lot better than a trip to the emergency room.
6. Be Careful with Window Blind Cords
Your Venetian blind cords are a lot more dangerous than you think. If they get wrapped around your child’s neck, they’re a possible strangulation hazard. Try to find window coverings without any cords.
If that’s not possible, be sure to keep those chords wrapped up and well out of reach.
7. Use Window Guards
To prevent your baby from falling or crawling out of a window, use window guards. These will keep your windows from opening more than 4 inches. Your screens aren’t enough protection to prevent your baby from falling.
Another window tip: be sure to keep high furniture away from them. The less access your infant has to windows, the better!
8. Keep the Fireplace Covered
As cozy as it is to light a fire, they’re a major hazard for babies. Be sure to install a heat resistant gate and keep stoking tools well out of reach.
If you have an artificial fireplace with small rocks, be sure to remove them as they could be a choking hazard.
9. Keep Candles and Matches out of Reach
The living room is a common place to light candles. Just be sure that matches and the candles themselves are out of reach. If your child decides to teethe on a candle, it could be a choking hazard.
And while it may seem unlikely for a toddler to light a match, it does happen. Best to hide them!
Childproofing Your Bathroom
Bathing your baby is a beautiful bonding experience. But be sure to baby proof this often hazardous room of the house.
10. Keep a Lock on the Toilet
Babies love to play in the toilet and can drown in just a single inch of water even if your child doesn’t seem to be interested, best to put a safety latch on it.
11. Install Safety Latches on all Cabinets and Drawers
The bathroom is full of things that can pose a danger to your baby. Medicine and even seemingly harmless sundries can be poisonous if ingested.
12. Store and Keep Medicines in their Original Containers in a Locked Cabinet or Drawer
Putting medicine away on a high shelf is not enough of a barrier to a curious toddler. Even something like iron can be poisonous to a baby if ingested in high amounts. Keep all medicine and vitamins locked up!
13. Turn your Water Heater Down to 120 Degrees
It takes just three seconds for your child to get scalded with water at 140 degrees. If you live in an apartment and don't control the thermostat, you can install an anti-scald device that will shut off the hot water when it reaches dangerous temperatures.
14. Put a Rubber Cover on the Spout in the Tub
A rubber cover could prevent potential bumps and bruises when the baby is in the tub.
15. Store Hair Dryers and Curling Irons in a Locked Drawer at All Times
Besides the danger of being electrocuted if one of these devices is dropped into the water, the chords also pose a strangulation hazard.
16. Consider Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
It’s a good idea to equip any outlets near water sources (kitchens and bathrooms) with ground fault circuit interrupters or GFCI’s. If an electric appliance does end up in the water, these devices shut off the electricity.
Childproofing Your Kitchen
17. Make Sure your Kitchen is Gated
From cutlery to cleaning products and electrical appliances, the kitchen is rife with danger for a little one. A safety gate will help prevent your baby from exploring on their own.
18. Install Safety Latches on Cabinets and Drawers
Even if you are with your baby in the kitchen, they can get into things before you know it. Install latches to keep them away from knives, detergents, cleaning products and other hazards.
19. Store Toxic Products up High
If your baby accidentally gets a lower shelf latch open, you want to be sure there’s nothing dangerous in there. Store anything toxic on a locked shelf up high where it will be out of reach.
20. Make Sure Electric Appliances are out of Reach
Store away small appliances that could tumble off the counter. If cabinet space is an issue, be sure that they are pushed to the back of the counter and that the cords aren’t visible.
21. Don’t Leave your Knife Block Out
As with all other cutlery, knife blocks should be stored in a locked cabinet.
22. Lock your Dishwasher
Also, store knives with the blade down, avoid leaving dishes in the washer for too long and only put in the detergent immediately before running the washer (detergent is poisonous if children ingest it).
23. Mount your Microwave up High
This is another appliance that’s best to keep out of reach. And be sure your little one isn’t underfoot when you’re removing anything hot from it.
24. Consider a Stove Guard
You can pull off stove knobs when you’re not cooking, but a stove guard that attaches to the front can also keep little hands out of trouble. This is another appliance where you can use a latch to keep your baby from opening it when you’re not looking.
When you are cooking, try to use the back burners and keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove.
25. Put a Safety Latch on your Refrigerator
And keep dangerous items like glass, medication or choking hazards like grapes on higher shelves toward the back. Add a safety latch on your fridge for peace of mind.
26. Lock up Plastic Bags
As with any room of your house, be sure your plastic bags are locked away to prevent your child from suffocating.
27. Don’t Leave a Stool Around
Baby’s can be surprisingly agile sometimes. A stool can put dangerous items within their reach and is also something they could fall from.
28. Lose the Tablecloth
Yes, they’re pretty. But if your baby tries to pull herself up with your tablecloth, it will send everything on the table flying.
29. Keep a Tight Lid on the Garbage
Or better yet, put it in a cabinet with a safety latch.
Childproofing Your Baby’s Room
30. Be Sure There are no Objects in the Crib with your Baby
Blankets, toys, pillows and even crib bumpers can pose a hazard to infants and could potentially cause suffocation. Also, don’t string any toys or mobiles above the crib as a standing infant could pull them down and possibly strangle.
31. Be Careful Where you Place the Crib
Keep it away from windows, heaters, lamps and any wall decoration or chords.
32. Secure Heavy Furniture to the Wall
As with other areas of your house, you want to make sure that any heavy furniture doesn’t topple over.
33. Place Baby Supplies out of Reach
Wipes, powder, ointment and other supplies should be placed where your baby can’t get to them.
34. Be Aware of Choking Hazards
Small toys, games pieces, crayons and other art supplies should all be stored out of reach; latex balloons are especially dangerous and are responsible for about half of children’s choking deaths.
Not something you want to leave in the baby's room!
35. Paint the Room well Ahead of your Baby’s Arrival
Be sure to use non-toxic paint for your baby’s room and paint at least eight weeks ahead of his or her arrival to avoid any lingering fumes.
36. Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector and Smoke Detector
Most rooms should already have a smoke detector in them; make sure it has fresh batteries. It is never a bad idea to install a second carbon monoxide detector somewhere in the baby’s room that is out of reach. While carbon monoxide is dangerous to everyone, it is especially dangerous to newborns and young children.
They make dual monitors so you can just grab one of those and replace your smoke detector.
Childproofing Throughout the House
Obviously, some of the safety measures we mentioned can be applied to more than one room in your house. Here are some additional things to consider throughout your home.
37. Door Knob Covers
Sooner or later, your baby will learn how to use a doorknob. To keep him from getting into any places that might be unsafe for him, a door knob cover is a great preventive measure.
Consider putting them on doors that lead to the laundry room, the garage, stairwells, bathrooms and any place that’s not childproofed.
38. Baby Gates for Stairs and Other Rooms
Baby gates are another way to keep little ones from wandering into places they shouldn’t be. And, of course, you should always have a baby gate at the top and bottom of any stairs.
For the tops of stairs, be sure to use a baby gate that mounts to the door frame instead of one that uses expanding pressure bars to stay in place.
Christina Cay, mother of 2 and creator of C'MON MAMA, adds some insight from her own experience. Cay says, “One of my top tips for childproofing is to simply gate off the rooms you
don't want them in. It's the cheapest & simplest way to keep your child away from hazards that you have yet to address.”
“For example, I have had baby gates blocking off our spare bedrooms for years. Yes, years. We still need to secure a couple more pieces of large furniture to the walls in those rooms, and until we do that—those rooms are off-limits,” Cay continues.
39. Door Stops
Slamming doors are highly dangerous to a baby's little fingers. For any doors you intend to leave open, use a door stop to prevent any accidental slams.
40. Remove Poisonous Plants
It’s great if you have a green thumb. But remember, some plants are poisonous if ingested. Make sure that none of your houseplants are on the list!
41. Keep the Number for Poison Control on Hand
Even when you take safety measures, sometimes accidents do happen. Be sure to keep the number for Poison Control posted in a visible place in case your baby ingests something toxic.
42. Keep Your Purse and Visitors’ Purses out of Reach
Baby’s just love to rifle through other people’s stuff - especially purses! But things like coins, hairpins, medication and other objects could be dangerous for your infant.
Best store all purses where your baby can’t reach them.
43. Be Aware of Choking Hazards
Again, any small object that a child could put in his mouth presents a hazard. Always be on the lookout for any items that could endanger your baby and remove them from reach.
The World From Baby’s Point of View
After you cover everything off your baby proofing checklist, you’ll want to do one last sweep of the house.
This time from the baby's point of view! That’s right, you’ll want to get down on all fours and take a look around.
See if you notice anything that might be tempting or dangerous to your baby that you missed the first time around. You may be surprised at what you find!
Remember that no matter how thorough a job you’ve done, childproofing isn’t always 100% effective and can’t replace close supervision.
And while the list of measures might seem overwhelming at first, it’s all very doable. Especially if you get started early enough, three months before your baby’s arrival is ideal so that you don’t have to rush into child safety, you can sit back and relax and enjoy the first few months with them.
Just start with a few baby steps, and before you know it, your house will be child proofed and ready for your little one to move in!
You might also be interested in: The 13 Best Pop-Up Books For Kids & Adults
43 Easy Ways to Childproof Your Home:
- Cover Unused Electrical Outlets with Outlet Protectors
- Tape Loose Cords to the Wall
- Put Picture Frames and Other Breakable Objects Where they Can’t be Reached
- Secure Heavy Furniture to the Wall
- Put Corner and Edge Bumpers on Your Furniture
- Be Careful with Window Blind Cords
- Use Window Guards
- Keep the Fireplace Covered
- Keep Candles and Matches out of Reach
- Keep a Lock on the Toilet
- Install Safety Latches on all Cabinets and Drawers
- Store and Keep Medicines in their Original Containers in a Locked Cabinet or Drawer
- Turn Your Water Heater Down to 120 Degrees
- Put a Rubber Cover on the Spout in the Tub
- Store Hair Dryers and Curling Irons in a Locked Drawer at all Times
- Consider Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
- Make Sure your Kitchen is Gated
- Install Safety Latches on Cabinets and Drawers
- Store Toxic Products Up High
- Make Sure Electric Appliances are out of Reach
- Don’t Leave your Knife Block Out
- Lock your Dishwasher
- Mount your Microwave Up High
- Consider a Stove Guard
- Put a Safety Latch on your Refrigerator
- Lock up Plastic Bags
- Don’t Leave a Stool Around
- Lose the Tablecloth
- Keep a Tight Lid on the Garbage
- Be Sure There are No Objects in the Crib with your Baby
- Be Careful Where you Place the Crib
- Secure Heavy Furniture to the Wall
- Place Baby Supplies out of Reach
- Be Aware of Choking Hazards
- Paint the Room Well Ahead of your Baby’s Arrival
- Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector and Smoke Detector
- Door Knob Covers
- Baby Gates for Stairs and Other Rooms
- Door Stops
- Remove Poisonous Plants
- Keep the Number for Poison Control on Hand
- Keep Your Purse and Visitors’ Purses out of Reach
- Be Aware of Choking Hazards