As a parent, your child’s safety is probably at the top of your list of priorities. When it comes to baby proofing though, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost in a sea of products. Do you actually need those clips for the toilet seat? Are the corners of the coffee table an accident waiting to happen? Have you checked your smoke detectors lately?
Whether you are patiently awaiting the arrival of your little one or your baby is starting to crawl, walk, or climb — the best time to start baby-proofing is now! To make your life easier, we took the guesswork out of baby proofing.
Use this plan to prep your home for baby and keep your peace of mind.
Why Is It Important To Baby Proof Your Home?
Babies and toddlers are naturally curious — learning the world through their eyes, mouth, nose, ears, and hands. If something looks interesting, they may put it in their mouths. If that something is poisonous or dangerous, it can lead to an unintentional injury.
Babies are also learning how to roll, sit up, crawl, and eventually walk. During this learning phase, and well after, they can be clumsy. It is essential to make sure there are no sharp corners or places they can go that are considered unsafe.
Unintentional injuries in the home can lead to minor injuries, permanent disabilities, or in worse cases, death.
Start Small When Baby Proofing
Let’s be honest, running through the entire house looking for things to baby proof all at once can be a bit much. Instead, spend some time slowly looking over each room individually. There are a few red flags that will be especially important to cover, but overall we are looking for anything that could be dangerous for a baby or small child.
Hopefully, this list will help curb stress and tension and guide you to make your home as safe as possible for your little one.
Cover Electrical Outlets
In every room of your house, you will find electrical outlets. Outlets are at the perfect height for curious children. If they were to stick something in the outlet, they could get a shock. The first thing you should do is purchase outlet covers and cover any outlet not being used.
Hide Electrical Cords
Electrical cords can be dangerous for children for a few reasons: they are a strangulation risk, they can pull down bigger electronics, or cause a shock if chewed while plugged in. If you have charges or other cords in areas where baby will play, keep them out of sight for your curious little explorer.
Check Your Blinds
You may not think about your window blinds being a cause for concern, but the cords that hang on the sides can pose a serious choking hazard for young children. Make sure your blinds don’t have any cords that are connected —if they do, make sure they are high enough to be out of reach of your little one.
If you purchase new blinds for your home, look into cordless options or even motorized ones. These will pose little to no risk for your little one.
Use Baby Gates
Baby gates can be a lifesaver. Obviously, the best way to keep your baby as safe as possible is by constant supervision, but sometimes our backs will be turned. If there are unsafe areas for your little one, or you want to keep them in one area of the house, invest in some baby gates.
Baby gates are also important in blocking any stairs in the home. Put a baby gate at the top and bottom of any staircase to prevent baby from trying to crawl up any steps.
Cover Sharp Corners
While you’re looking through your rooms, take an account of any sharp corners or edges. These can include walls, counters, or tables. If any areas seem like they can be hazardous, there are corner covers you can use to help make those edges a little more dull. Usually, these are removable and won’t damage your furniture.
Your little one won’t be drawing their own bath anytime soon, but lowering your water heater temperature is important. Turning your water heater down to 120℉ helps put another layer of safety in the home. This temperature will protect against baths that may be too hot.
When you are going through your home, make sure to look up. Check all of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. There should be a button on them to test them. If you can’t remember the last time you changed their batteries, it’s probably time to do a routine check.
If you have free-standing bookshelves or dressers in your home, it is important to anchor them to the wall. If your little one tries to climb it, it can fall over.
Televisions are bright and colorful and are likely to make your child curious. They are also heavy, especially older box televisions. If you have a TV that you can mount to the wall, that is the safest option — if not, make sure it is in an area that is not easily accessible to children. If you have a box TV, make sure it is on a low, sturdy surface.
As you look through your house for what needs to be baby proofed, assume everything you see is a toy to your baby. This includes all of your breakable decorations like vases, bowls, and sculptures. Now may be the time to connect with your minimalist side and remove anything that can break if your baby grabs it. You can put them in a higher place or put them away until your little one gets a little bigger.
Have Important Numbers Visible
While you are making your home as safe as possible for your child, make an emergency phone number list. On this list, you may want to include their pediatrician’s number, poison control, and any emergency contacts—your number, your partner’s number, a grandparents’ number.
This list can be helpful to you if there is ever an emergency, and it can also be handy for anyone watching your baby. Put your list on the fridge or a central location where it is easy to find if needed.
Baby Proofing in Common Areas
Things like outlets and sharp corners apply to every room in the house, but when it comes to specific rooms, there are areas you’ll want to pay close attention to. Because unintentional injuries in the home are most common from birth to five years old, you’ll likely want to make long-term changes in these rooms. Keep in mind, you can always adapt any room that you baby proofed as your child grows.
When baby proofing your kitchen, the first thing to focus on is under the sink. This is the place where many people put cleaning supplies — which are extremely dangerous for kids and adults alike. Keep a child safety lock on this cabinet.
As for the other cabinets in your kitchen, it is up to you. If you don’t mind your pots and pans being pulled out and played with, and there is nothing dangerous, like sharp objects or breakables, you can leave them unlocked.
Moving up to the counter space, make sure any knives are out of reach. This also includes in drawers, as kids get older. Spices should also be kept out of reach of kids.
Both big and small appliances should be kept out of the reach of children.
The living room is likely where your family will spend most of the day, so it’s important to make sure it is safe for your little one. Some of the biggest risks in the living room include: sharp corners from tables, large furniture that can fall or collapse, cords hanging on windows, and electrical outlets or other wires. Take ample time to do a thorough sweep of your living room. A few tips:
- Swap bulky tables with sharp edges for rounded coffee tables, or soft ottomans that can be used as a table, especially if they have storage.
- Get on the floor so that you’re around the same eye-level of your baby and look around for things to grab.
- Check on any outlets that are within reach and be sure to swap cords on windows or hang them out of reach.
After looking for the basic safety precautions, take extra care to make sure the rest of the room is safe.
Their crib should be free of stuffed animals, big blankets, pillows, and thick bumpers. These things should be removed until at least 12 months. Pillows can be introduced at two years old. You should also keep the crib away from any heaters, lamps, or other items that baby can reach out to grab.
You should also keep in mind the area above the crib; take into account any items hanging on the wall or mobiles. Your baby can reach and pull things down, or they can accidentally fall. It’s best to keep this area clear.
Keep small items—toys, decorations, topper from the doorstop—out of this room. Or, you might want to invest in storage where you can keep the items tucked away safely in the nursery.
Bath & Laundry Room
When it comes to the bathroom, it is best to just shut the door. Bathrooms have potential poisonous cleaners and soaps, make-up, and hot hair tools. In addition, water always poses a risk to kids—even toilet water.
If you have a laundry room, similarly to the bathroom, keep the door shut.
Make sure to keep cleaning products, including detergents, out of reach of children. Detergents in little pods can be hazardous, as they can look like candy. Make sure your children never play with or get into the washer or dryer.
Big Kids’ Rooms or Playroom
Have older children? Make sure their rooms and playroom are also baby proofed. Look for toys that are small enough to fit in a baby’s mouth, toys with sharp edges like building blocks, and items that could be toxic like slimes, colors, or paints.
These items may need to be placed in a special area and taken out only while the baby is away from the room. If this is a space you want to keep a big kid zone, then make sure to put up a baby gate or keep the door shut.
Baby Proofing Happens Daily
Make baby proofing a part of your daily routine — it doesn’t just end once everything is locked, blocked, or hidden.
Cleaning products get taken out, small items pile up, doors get opened throughout the day. The list goes on and on! It’s important to always keep an eye out for red flags that may be dangerous to your baby and stay alert of new hazards.
It might be helpful if you and your partner switch off on baby proofing watch — if you can.
Unintentional injuries in the home can lead to minor injuries, permanent disabilities, or in worse cases, death. As a parent, your child’s safety is probably at the top of your list of priorities.
When it comes to baby proofing you should take certain safety measures throughout the whole home, like covering electrical outlets, hiding cords, locking up chemicals, and stabilizing heavy furniture.
Remember, baby proofing your home is an ongoing process, and it’s important to keep an eye out for anything new that can be a danger for your little one.
Expectful knows how overwhelming it can feel to keep your baby as safe as possible. That is why we are here. We are your support through the ins and outs of those early years of parenthood.