How to Baby Proof Your House
As a parent, it’s super exciting when your baby begins to crawl or walk…except when you realize that means you suddenly need a baby proof home. You’d be amazed how easily babies can get into trouble, which is why it's important to make sure your home is as safe as possible.
If you’re wondering how to baby proof your home, you’re not alone. For expectant or first time parents, it can seem a little overwhelming knowing where to begin or what you need to do. So, exactly how do you baby proof a house? We’ll break down our best tips and tricks, room by room.
Baby Proofing The Kitchen
Many updated and modern homes feature open concept kitchens. While this layout makes it ideal for entertaining, it also makes it very easy for your baby to find their way to the pantry, cabinets, fridge, and stove.
To prevent your child from accessing cabinets, baby proofing doors, cabinets, and cupboards is a good idea. Don’t fret, you won’t need to buy entirely new cabinets. Instead, you can purchase a modern childproof cabinet lock. Nowadays, companies make magnetic locks instead of stick-on ones, meaning you won’t damage your cabinets or cupboards in the process of baby proofing your kitchen.
In your kitchen, chances are you use one of the drawers under the sink to store all of your cleaning supplies. Because this drawer is low to the ground, it’s easily accessible to a mobile baby. To combat this, either make sure this drawer is baby proofed, or move your kitchen supplies to a draw that is higher off the ground. Because many cleaning supplies come in fun colors and nice-smelling scents, your baby might not understand that they’re poisonous. Remove the distraction entirely by making sure your baby doesn’t have access to these products.
Finally, when it comes to the table, opt for a wood or metal table instead of a glass table. Wood and metal are much sturdier and stable than glass tables. Along the same lines, ditch the tablecloths. Although they may add some style to your table, kids love to pull them down. Not only can this hurt your child, but it can also result in the content of your table crashing down. Instead, opt for placemats over tablecloths.
To round out kitchen tips, here are some final tips and tricks for baby proofing your kitchen:
- If your baby is able to turn knobs, see if there’s a way to remove the knobs from your stove. Or invest in stove knob covers that prevent little hands from turning on the gas but still allow you use the appliance
- When you’re cooking, keep the handles of your pots and pans turned towards the back of the stove so that your baby can’t reach for them
- Use a safety latch to secure the refrigerator and/or freezer
Baby Proofing the Bathroom
The bathroom is unfortunately a room with high potential for injury. Not only can kids drown in very small amounts of water—either from the tub or the toilet—the bathroom cabinets are often filled with medications and cleaning products that look fun to children but are actually poisonous or dangerous to ingest.
Because of this, keep toilets covered using child-proof locks. And use door knob covers to make sure your child can’t access the bathroom. The National Safety Council suggests using these door knob covers way before your child even knows how to open a door.
Another important safety measure for the bathroom? Make sure your water heater is set to less than 120 degrees. Any warmer than that and your child can easily burn themselves if they touch the heater.
Lastly, if you’re using a hair dryer, straightener, or curling iron, be sure to leave them away from the edge of the counter and make sure any cords aren’t accessible to your baby. Children love pulling down dangling objects, especially cords.
Baby Proofing your Living Room
With the living room, the biggest risks come with collisions with large pieces of furniture or furniture with sharp edges. Just because you have a child doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all of your furniture with sharp edges, though. Instead, buy some stick-on corner cards. This will turn any pointy edge into a rounded one. And, if you do have to buy new furniture, look for options such as rounded coffee tables or cushioned ottomans that you can use as a table.
For your existing furniture, you have to come to terms with the fact that spills and messes are unfortunately inevitable. Many companies produce furniture that are specifically high-performance, meaning it’s meant for everyday use and cleans better than other fabrics. If this isn’t an option, you can always buy slipcovers for your furniture. If a spill or mess occurs, you’ll simply need to remove the slipcover, wash it, and put it back on.
It’s also important to do a spot-check and think about what furniture—if any—could potentially fall on your child. By the time a baby is 9 months old, they’ll begin pulling up on furniture. It’s important to anchor any potential furniture to the wall to provide stability. Likewise, a television that tips over on a child can be the cause of injury or even death. Make sure larger objects, like televisions, are anchored to the wall or up high so that your baby can’t reach it.
Lastly, utilize child proof coverings for any and all electrical outlets that are near the ground. And if you have window blinds, now would be a great time to opt for cordless blinds. Young children love putting items around their neck, so traditional window blinds can be a dangerous strangling hazard.
Baby Proofing the Nursery
New parents often look forward to decorating the nursery with fun prints, a cool theme, and other stylish pieces of furniture. Although there’s nothing wrong with creating a nice looking nursery, the most important thing to remember with this room is that it should be functional over stylish.
Practically, this means avoiding hanging anything directly over your baby’s crib that the baby could reach and potentially pull onto them. Also, hanging up pictures and other objects onto the wall directly over Baby’s crib can be problematic in the event that it falls off the wall onto the crib. Instead of hanging pictures, opt for wallpaper. Or perhaps paint an accent wall. This way, you can still have the aesthetic you’re going for without sacrificing safety.
Next, you’ll want to make sure the crib is a safe space for your baby. First things first, make sure the height is right. When you have a newborn, the height doesn’t matter as much since your baby isn’t mobile yet. But when they start developing their muscles that allow them to pull themselves up, you’ll want to lower the height of the crib mattress so that they don’t pull themselves up and accidentally fall out.
And while Baby is resting in the crib, make sure there aren’t any objects that are left in the crib. Blankets, pillows, or other toys become more of a safety hazard than anything.
Other Fixes Around the House
Although we’ve covered most of the main spaces in the house, here are a few final tips for baby proofing the house:
- Check the paint. Houses built before 1978 often included paint made with lead. If you have an older house with its original paint, now would be a great time to double check on the type of paint that’s used on the walls.
- If your house has a second story, you’ll want to use extreme caution around stairways. To ensure Baby’s safety, place a safety gate at the top of the stairs (and sometimes another one at the bottom of the stairs).
- When you make dinner, have a determined “safe space” for your baby to play. Although you may be able to multitask and cook while watching Baby, you don’t want your baby to be anywhere near boiling water, knives, or hot water. Opting for a baby swing or baby bouncer could be a great option for dinnertime.