Baby-Proofing Your Abode, The Ultimate Guide

Admin on 15 June 2022
For expectant parents, it can be overwhelming to look around the home to see what changes should be made to keep the baby safe. Add in an online search for the best baby-proofing products, and parents can quickly get lost in the endless lists of must-have items

We asked the experts and all agree that baby-proofing is more about following your intuition and less about the latest newfangled safety product. We often think of babies and toddlers when we hear the words 'babyproofing' or 'childproofing.' And young kids indeed have the highest risk of being injured at home because that's where they spend most of their time. A carefully baby-proofed home can go a long way towards keeping your child safe. Start by addressing overall items, such as all the electrical outlets, windows, and detectors. Then give special attention to the high-risk areas: the kitchen, the bathroom, and your child's nursery or bedroom.

What do I need to do to baby-proof our home?

Our checklist will tell you everything you need to do to you make your home safe for your baby or toddler. If you're not comfortable making some of these adjustments yourself, consider working with a childproofing consultant.

Before you start, take a child's-eye view of your home. Get down on your hands and knees and see how things look from down there. Keep in mind that you'll have to reevaluate precautionary measures as your child grows. Childproofing is an ongoing process: The gate you put at the top of the stairs for your 1-year-old may become a favorite climbing structure when your child is 2.

Babyproofing around the house

1. Electrical outlets and cords

Put outlet covers over unused outlets to keep your child from sticking metal objects into the holes and getting a nasty shock. Instead of removable plug-in caps that can end up in a child's mouth, use outlet covers that feature a sliding safety latch. Keep electrical cords behind furniture or use a hide-a-cord device.

2. Furniture

Attach corner and edge guards on all hard edges and sharp corners. Secure furniture that can topple (bookcases, bureaus, filing cabinets) to the walls. Anchor a flat-screen TV with safety straps or mount it on a wall so it can't fall on your child. Place floor lamps behind other furniture so your child can't pull them over. Make sure any storage chests have air holes in case your child gets trapped inside and a spring-loaded hinge to prevent the lid from slamming shut on your child's hand.

3. Windows, doors, and decks

Keep your child's crib or bed, and all other furniture away from windows. Make sure your child can't reach or open any window more than 4 inches.

Install window stops to prevent windows from opening more than 4 inches. Or, install window guards that have bars no more than 4 inches apart

Keep windows locked when they're closed.

Use cordless window coverings. Cords pose a strangulation hazard.

Mark sliding doors and other expanses of glass with colorful stickers so your child doesn't run into them.

Use doorstops or door holders on doors and door hinges to prevent injuries to hands and fingers.

Install safe railings on decks. Block openings wider than 4 inches on railings with plastic garden fencing, Plexiglas, or other material.

4. Fireplaces

Install a fireplace grill and keep it in place when a fire is burning. Keep gas fireplace keys out of reach. Stow logs, matches, and fireplace tools out of reach.

5. Smoke and CO2 detectors

Install a smoke detector in every room in your house. Check the detectors monthly to be sure they're working, and change the batteries at least once a year or choose smoke alarms that use long-life (ten-year) batteries.

Babyproofing the kitchen

If you're busy cooking, put your child in a play yard nearby, or put up a safety gate to keep your child out of the kitchen and create an activity area nearby.

Keep detergents, cleaning products, pesticides, and any other toxic household chemicals locked up, preferably in a high cabinet. Be especially cautious with detergent pods since children are likely to be attracted to them.

Consider switching from hazardous cleaning products, such as chlorine bleach and ammonia glass cleaner, to safer products, such as non-chlorine bleach, vinegar, and baking soda.

Keep all medications and toxins in their original container. Never transfer a hazardous product into a generic container or a food container because that could lead to a dangerous mix-up.

Store plastic bags and boxes of plastic wrap and aluminum foil out of reach. Plastic bags and wrap can suffocate a child, and the sharp cutting edges on boxes of aluminum foil are a danger to curious hands

Store knives and other sharp tools, such as peelers, graters, and food-processor blades, in latched drawers or high cabinets.

Store glassware and china up high, out of your child's reach.

Move the toaster, coffeemaker, and all other electrical appliances out of your child's reach. Unplug them and hide the cords when they're not in use.

Never leave glassware, knives, foods that are choking hazards, or hot food and beverages unattended on counters or tables, not even for a few moments. Don't use placemats or tablecloths because a child can pull them – and what's on top of them – down on themself.

Put latches on all cabinets and drawers except one or two that are safe for your child to explore. Make sure they're not too close to the oven and fill them with safe objects, such as plastic storage containers, wooden spoons, and lightweight saucepans. Change the contents occasionally to give your child a surprise.

Put appliance latches on the doors to the oven, microwave, dishwasher, and refrigerator. Use the back burners on the stove whenever possible. If you must use the front ones, turn the pot handles toward the back. Consider installing a stove guard that blocks access to burners.

Remove the dials from your stove when you're not cooking or cover them with knob covers. If your sink has a disposal, keep a lid on it when your child is nearby. Keep trash and recycling in inaccessible cupboards, or put a child-resistant lid on your trash can. Equip your kitchen faucet with an anti-scalding device or set your water heater to 120 degrees or lower.Use a sturdy, stable, wide-based highchair with a safety strap. Or clamp a hook-on chair securely to a table that can't tip over. Always buckle the safety straps so your child doesn't stand up and fall out.

Babyproofing the bathroom

Make sure your child doesn't find their way into the bathroom unsupervised by installing a hook-and-eye lock high on the outside of the door or by placing a childproof cover over the doorknob. Remember to keep the toilet lid down, and install a toilet lock to prevent your baby or toddler from lifting the lid. If your little one leans over to peer into the toilet bowl, they could easily lose their balance, fall headfirst, and drown in as little as an inch of water.

Put razors, scissors, nail clippers, tweezers, and other sharp utensils in a locked cabinet or out of your child's reach.

Unplug your blow-dryer, curling iron, and any other appliances that create heat, and put them away after each use to prevent burns.

Keep all cosmetics, supplements, and medications - including mouthwash (which contains more alcohol than beer or wine) - in a cabinet secured with a child-safety lock. This includes products with safety caps, which are only child-resistant and not childproof.

Place a nonslip rubber mat in the bathtub and a nonslip bathmat on the floor next to the tub to prevent falls.

Put a soft plastic or rubber guard over the tub spout and covers over the bathtub knobs to protect your child from accidentally bumping their head.

Other potential hazards around the house

Heaters: Cover or block access to radiators and floor heaters.

Matches, lit candles, and lighters: Keep them out of reach.

Medicines, chemicals, and cleaning supplies:

Alcohol: Keep all alcohol locked in cabinets or out of reach. Don't leave an alcoholic drink on a table where a child can reach it.

Purses: Your purse or a visitor's purse can hold medicines, toiletries, and other dangers - keep them out of reach.

Balloons: Uninflated balloons or pieces of burst balloons can cause suffocation. Don't let children younger than 8 years play with balloons, and store uninflated balloons out of reach.

Small objects: Coins, pins, and buttons can be choking hazards and should be kept out of your child's reach. Small magnets and button batteries are especially dangerous if swallowed.

Water: Infants and toddlers can drown in as little as a few inches of water. Young children are top-heavy. If they lose their balance (as they often do) while peering into a bucket, they can fall headfirst and get stuck. Never leave a bucket of liquid unattended within reach of your child.

Houseplants: Get rid of toxic houseplants such as philodendron or move them out of reach.

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