Welcoming a new baby into your home is one of the most exciting things that can happen to you. As your home fills with baby giggles and babbling, you'll find keeping your new addition safe and happy is now your highest priority. Some simple babyproofing tips can help you do just that so you can keep your focus on getting to know the newest, most important person in your life.
One of the first things you should do when babyproofing a house is to walk around your home and take inventory of any hazards you see. Keep in mind that babyproofing isn't just for infants— before you know it your little one will be crawling, standing and walking, so keep that in mind as you look around. Head to the water heater and ensure the temperature doesn't get too hot for bath time. Count all the outlets at baby or toddler level so that you know exactly how many covers you'll need to buy. Find sharp corners on furniture that could be dangerous if an unsteady toddler fell into them.
You may also want to count lower cabinet doors in your kitchen and interior doors so you can buy babyproof locks to keep your little one out of trouble. However, if you find that the locks are cumbersome for the adults in the house, you can consider getting a gate, bouncy seat and playpen. These will keep your baby safe and away from dangers.
You will also want to check to see if there's furniture that needs to be anchored to the wall and remove heavy objects that could be pulled down by a curious kid's grasp.
On the other hand, keep an eye out for small objects that could be choking hazards. A good rule of thumb is if an object can fit inside a toilet paper tube, it's a choking hazard.
You'll also want to make a note of all the stairs in your home, as they could quickly become dangerous if they're not gated off.
Once you've taken inventory and noted the hazards in your home, it's time to explore babyproofing ideas for each room.
Babyproofing tips by room
An easy way to make sure you don't miss anything when babyproofing is by making a babyproofing checklist. You may find it helpful to babyproof one room at a time rather than all at once. However, for every room in the house it is important to anchor freestanding or tall furniture, like dressers or bookshelves, and cover all outlets.
Depending on where your little one will be sleeping at first, these tips may go for your bedroom, their nursery or both.
- Make sure the baby monitor cord is not within grabbing distance.
- Ensure your crib is up to the latest standards from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Make sure the slats on the crib are too narrow for any appendages to fit through.
- Move cords on blinds and lamp plugs out of reach and cut any looped cords.
- Keep the crib away from the window where a baby learning to stand might pull on the blinds for support.
- Use cord holders to keep as many cords up and away from baby-level as possible.
- Move knick-knacks and breakable objects up and out of reach.
- Ensure no house plants are poisonous if eaten and consider moving plants to a baby-free zone in the house where they can't get into the dirt.
- Cushion sharp edges for babyproofing coffee tables, fireplaces and other furniture.
- Secure your television so it can't be pulled over.
- Put a lid lock on your toilet to keep curious little ones out.
- Store medications in babyproof containers and far out of reach.
- Keep chemicals in a locked cabinet.
- Add non-slip mats to the bathtub.
- Use a spout protector to keep your baby from hitting their heads on the sharp metal faucet during bath time. Keep any cords in the bathroom up and out of reach.
- Ensure all kitchen cabinets and drawers are secured with safety locks.
- Consider foregoing tablecloths to prevent your baby from pulling it down off the table.
- If possible, store chemicals out of reach, even if they're in a locked cabinet.
- Make sure your fire extinguisher is either out of reach or securely bracketed to the wall.
- Keep kitchen magnets on the upper half of your fridge to eliminate choking hazards.
- Pools, hot tubs, ponds, fountains and any other water elements should be gated off, covered if possible and have a splash alarm installed.
- Check your yard for toxic plants and remove them.
- Be careful about the use of herbicides and pesticides, as they can be dangerous if ingested.
- Put guards on your grill to keep your child from accidentally turning a knob.
- Consider a fence to keep your child safe in your yard.
While babyproofing generally focuses on the safety of your child, there are some babyproofing ideas that can make a parent's life easier too. For instance, you may want to consider removing rugs from the dining room (or wherever your child will be eating). That way when your toddler inevitably throws sauce-covered spaghetti on the ground, it'll be a much easier clean-up.
Before the baby comes home, you also may want to spend some time tackling projects around the house. For instance, now is the time to get that window fixed and replace any out-of-date smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Not only will it improve the safety of your home, but you won't have to worry about a low-battery smoke detector beeping and waking your little one up from a much-needed nap.
If you live in an older home, you may want to consider having your paint checked for lead, as cracking and peeling paint could become a thrilling toy for a newly crawling baby.
You may also want to look into buying slipcovers for your furniture. Messes are part of life when you have a baby, so slipcovers are a good way to help keep your couch clean since you can toss it right in the wash.
Of course, one of the most effective babyproofing tips is just to keep a close eye on your child. Try not to do too many things at once, if you can help it, and never leave your baby unattended in a room.
Starting babyproofing well before your baby's arrival may help reduce stress. With a simple checklist, you can ensure your home is as safe as possible for your new bundle of joy.