As parents, we are hard-wired to care about the safety of our children, and baby proofing is a critical element toward that end.
Wouldn’t you love to have, at your fingertips, a variety of simple solutions to help make that task easier?
Considering that preventable accidents are the greatest cause of injury and death in children, we must be diligent to make sure to do everything in our power to provide the safest environment possible around the house.
As you secure each room, it is important to see things from the perspective of your child in order to protect them from hazards that you might otherwise miss.
Use this guide to check and double-check the areas listed, so that you can have peace of mind as your little ones explore.
Now let’s get started...and don’t forget to get down low, when necessary, so that you can find trouble spots from a different angle.
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On the Stairs and in the Hall/Entryway
Tip 1 - 3: Install a Baby Gate
1. Install a baby gate at the top of each set of stairs
This is important so that baby doesn’t tumble down the steps. Always use a permanently-mounted gate, as a pressure-mounted gate is susceptible to slippage and does not provide adequate protection for the vulnerable area at the top of stairs.
2. Install a baby gate at the bottom of stairs
This precaution is important for babies learning to crawl and toddlers learning to walk. If a child has not mastered stairs, if they manage to climb up, then they are at risk for falling down. A pressure-mounted gate is adequate in this scenario.
3. Install a baby gate at the top of outdoor steps
Do you have a porch or deck with steps? There are specially-designed gates that are made to withstand the elements for outdoor use. Make sure to install these gates so that they swing inward, and double-check that the latches cannot be opened by little fingers to prevent escapes.
For more ideas, check out our guide...
4. Supervise stair-training and climbing
Once your child is developmentally ready to learn how to master stairs, it is important to spend some one-on-one time teaching them how safely go up and down (on their belly). This way, if they ever find themselves in a “stair” predicament, they will know how to safely navigate it.
Did you know?
Every six minutes, an American child under the age of 5 falls down the stairs and is rushed to the hospital.Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/stair-injuries-report-every-six-minutes-us-child-falls/
5. Install handrails
If any of your stairways do not have handrails that your child can reach, make this a priority. Handrails give your child an advantage, as they can use these to safely climb up and down with less risk of falling.
6. Double-check balusters and banisters
All stairway handrails should be a minimum of 36” in height to prevent falls. Any vertical spindles should be firmly attached and have no more than a 4” gap between them, to prevent a child’s head from passing through.
7. Carpet and cushion stairways
If your child is at the stage that you can let them use the stairs alone, make sure that the stairs are properly carpeted to soften any slips. Also, temporarily place pillows or a small mattress at the bottom of the stairs until you are confident that your stair-climber has mastered this hazard and is in no danger of losing their balance.
8. Install slip-proof treads
This is especially important on outdoor steps that get icy or wet in adverse weather conditions. If you have indoor stairs that you can’t carpet, this is the next best option to consider.
9. Remove clutter
This is important for both stairs and hallways. Trip hazards are a common cause of slips and falls, so don’t set things on the stairs to “take up later” and don’t let clutter accumulate in narrow passageways where toddlers need adequate space to maneuver.
10. Double-check wall hangings
As it is common to hang pictures and artwork along hallways and stairways, keep in mind that narrow areas are more prone to bumping of frames. Make sure they are high enough that little hands can’t reach them, but also secure enough that they can’t come crashing down on unsuspecting heads.
11. Make sure there is adequate lighting
Both hallways and stairwells tend to be shadowy and dark. Keep lightbulbs changed when needed and, if necessary, install nightlights in these areas. Another idea is to install light switch extenders if your child is not tall enough to reach the switch.
Baby Proofing Tip #11 - Make sure there is adequate lighting in the hallways and on the stairwells
12. Remove hallway furniture and any knickknacks on them
If you usually use a narrow table in your hall, it is best to remove it (or other such items) while your little one is in the crawling/toddling stage. These types of furniture tend to be unstable and prone to tipping, not to mention the importance of having clear walls for a child to steady themselves against when navigating the hallway.
13. Keep doors closed
Many families leave interior doors along hallways open, when coming and going, but this is one of the easiest ways to baby proof whole sections of your house. Merely close each door behind you consistently and you will have effectively blocked off many rooms that you don’t want your little one to get into.
14. Remove stepstools
Stepstools certainly have their place in the home, but these areas are not it. They dangerous around stairs, narrow areas, and doors alike. Do not leave them unattended, nor allow children to use them as toys.
15. Take precautions with rugs
Hallways and entryways are notorious for being lined with throw rugs. These can be trip and slip hazards for young children. Either remove them, or make sure that they have non-slip backing and are secured to the floor.
16. Double-check shoe and coat racks
If you commonly use a coat-tree or a vertical shoe rack in your entryway, either secure them to the wall with straps or remove them completely and install hooks for coats or horizontal shoe racks. If dirty, muddy shoes are too low, consider moving them to a higher shelf.
17. Install child-proof locks
Any entryway door that leads to the outdoors is a particular hazard. Don’t depend on regular door locks to keep your child inside. If necessary, put a lock up high or install one that your child is unable to turn.
18. Install a door alarm
If your child is particularly crafty and adventuresome, consider installing a door alarm that will alert you if they try to sneak outdoors. This extra precaution will go a long ways to helping you keep your peace of mind.
19. Keep floor dry
Puddles near entryways are inevitable, especially in winter. They can also prove to be hazardous. Keep a mop or towels handy so that you can quickly keep the the area dry, thus preventing unnecessary slips and falls.
Baby Proofing Tip #19 - Keep floor dry
20. Install hallway or entryway baby gates
If your baby is too young to navigate these tricky areas or you find that they are too high-traffic, then it might be easiest to install walk-thru baby gates with one-handed operation. This way the adults can easily utilize these areas while keeping baby contained and away from them.
In the Bathroom and Laundry Area
21. Supervise baths to prevent drowning
Bathtime can be one of the most dangerous times of your baby’s day. Don’t let your little one become a statistic. Remember that a child can drown in as little as one or two inches of water. So, make sure to only put a small amount of water in the tub, appropriate to the age and ability of your child, and never, ever leave their side, even if the phone or doorbell rings. For an older child who is ready to bathe alone, do not let them overfill the tub or fall asleep while bathing.
Baby Proofing Tip #21 - Supervise baths to prevent drowning
22. Double check water temperatures
Set your hot water heater at 120 degrees F (49 degrees C). Don’t risk burns from scalding water at the sink, shower, or tub. This is an important precaution and should also be coupled with an anti-scald device. Adjust the bath water to a comfortable temperature between 90-100 degrees F (32-37 degrees C). There are special water thermometers to use in the bathtub to help guide you in keeping the water at a safe level. If you don’t have one of these, always test the water with your hand and err on the side of caution.
Did you know?
Around 500 children, mainly under fives, are admitted to hospital and a further 2000 attend A&E departments every year as a result of bath water scalds.Source: http://www.rospa.com/home-safety/advice/child-safety/accidents-to-children/
23. Use non-skid floor mats
Bathroom floors are a slip and fall hazard because kids love to splash water all over! Mats are great for absorbing the excess water and helping to keep the floor dry. A few big towels will also do the job if the kids make really big puddles.
24. Avoid bathtub bumps and bruises
Install a faucet spout cover to keep painful bumps from happening and a rubber non-slip mat in the bottom of the tub to keep your little one from slipping and sliding. Add grab bars that a young child can reach, to help them stabilize themselves when getting in and out of the tub. Also, use a specially-made infant bath seat for securing your slippery, wet baby.
25. Install toilet seat locks
This nifty little invention is perfect for when you have a kiddo that just doesn’t understand that babies and toilets do not mix! Keep little hands out of a potential mess and eliminate a drowning risk by making these a priority.
Also, supervise your child when they are using a child’s potty seat, making sure that they can sit safely on it and that it is properly cleaned between uses.
Note: If you have indoor cats, do not leave a litter box in the bathroom, but relocate it another area where baby is not allowed, such as a spare bedroom or laundry room.
26. Keep electrical appliances out of reach
Items with cords, such as hair dryers and curling irons, are dangerous to have sitting around. They are easy to accidentally pull down and they create a real risk for electrocution and burns. Keep them unplugged and put away when not in use, and don’t leave them unattended while they are heating up or cooling down, either. As a an extra precaution, make sure that you have ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets installed in any area where water and electricity are in close proximity.
27. Keep medications out of reach
Even if your medications are in “child-proof” bottles, do not take the risk of leaving them where kids can find them. It is not worth the risk. Even over-the-counter medicines and herbal supplements are potentially dangerous. Treat them all as poisons and secure them in locked cabinets up high. Remember that kids are especially drawn to “pills” that resemble candy, so safeguard with diligence!
28. Secure toiletries and cosmetics
Though these items may be as enticing as medications, and can be hazardous in the hands of children. Products not intended for consumption, such as mouthwash, hairspray, and other such items, should be put away into cabinets and drawers that have child-proof locks on them to deter curious hands. It’s a bonus that by keeping such things put safely away that you may also save yourself from cleaning up some serious messes.
29. Hide sharp bathroom accessories
Use a locked drawer or other secure place to store things such as tweezers, clippers, nail files, dental picks, hair clippers, razors, and other dangerous objects. Small children tend to gravitate to little items that are shiny...and sharp. Don’t let them find yours!
Baby Proofing Tip #29 - Hide sharp bathroom accessories
30. Keep the area clean of mold, mildew, and germs
Bathrooms are notorious for harboring yucky stuff that you don’t want your baby to get into. This is especially important when babies are at that stage when they touch everything and put everything in their mouths. Use a non-toxic cleaner and keep floors, toilets, sinks, and bathtubs free of grime. It might also be a good idea to keep the bathroom trashcan behind a cabinet door, too, so that it does not become a temptation.
31. Use door knob safety devices
Even if you keep the bathroom door closed every time, eventually your little ones are going to figure out how to open it. Use these neat little inventions to keep them from being able to turn the doorknob when you’re not looking. As an alternative, you could also include a small hook-n-eye latch up high for when the bathroom is not in use.
32. Store all chemicals and cleaning solutions securely
Dangerous products such as these should be locked in a storage cabinet...far away from prying eyes. Oftentimes children are interested in squirt bottles, so these are especially enticing. Label all solutions properly, attach “Poison” stickers, and teach your children to never touch these items. Also, keep the number for Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) prominently displayed in your home in the event of an accident.
33. Use stepstools wisely
A bathroom is a great place to let your little kids use a stepstool, especially for reaching the sink to brush their teeth. Show them how to put it away when they are finished. Keep in mind that stepstools make your children taller in relation to cabinets and shelves, so plan accordingly when putting away hazardous items. Also, never allow children to use stepstools in or near a laundry area.
34. Keep kids away from the washing machine
A washing machine is a lurking danger to curious kids. Do not let small children “help” with loading or unloading the laundry, as they may try to do so even when you are not around. Also, remove any “footholds” that can be used by a child to climb on top of the washer. A little-known risk of drowning does exist, as young children are “top-heavy” and if they fall head-first into the machine, they may be unable to lift themselves out.
Baby Proofing Tip #34 - Keep kids away from the washing machine
35. Keep kids away from the dryer
Seen as a warm and cozy spot to climb into, a dryer is another hazard that could tempt a young child. Warn children of the dangers and never leave a dryer door open.
36. Store detergents, bleach, and other laundry products properly
Colorful detergent pods can be deadly to kids who are drawn to the packaging and mistake them for candy. The contents can be inhaled or swallowed if bitten into and the chemicals in them are caustic and dangerous. Never leave them in a child’s reach. The same goes for any other detergents...liquid or powder, as well as bleach or stain removers that are poisonous and corrosive. Store up high and if necessary, in a locked cabinet.
Did you know?
Between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2014, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reported 35,188 cases of laundry detergent exposures. Of these, almost two-thirds were from laundry packets, and three-fourths of the children affected by laundry packet exposures were less than 3 years old.Source: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Laundry-Room-and-Detergent-Safety.aspx
Baby Proofing Tip #36 - Store detergents, bleach, and other laundry products properly
37. Keep laundry sinks and buckets empty
Some laundry areas are equipped with large, deep sinks or 5-gallon buckets used for detergent or soaking dirty clothes. These are especially dangerous to a little kid who can fall into them headfirst and drown, even if they only have a little bit of liquid. Make sure that you don’t leave these unattended and always drain them between uses.
38. Practice iron safety
Irons are heavy and ironing boards are unstable. To avoid accidents, never leave an iron unattended, even if it is off, as an ironing board can easily be knocked over, or the cord of the iron could be yanked on, pulling the iron downward. Irons also bring serious risks because of their extremely hot surface and steam. Never let your child play in an area with an iron, and also properly fold and put away your ironing board and store your iron in a closed cabinet when not in use.
39. Pay attention to laundry basket risks
A basket is commonly used as a toy, and if properly supervised in a non-laundry area, can even be a fun object to play in or on. However, with that being said, they can also be a potential hazard. This is because they can easily tip over, especially by a baby who is learning to stand. Never let babies use baskets that are in the upright position to “steady” themselves in an attempt to stand, whether they are inside the basket or outside of it. Chances are good that your baby will end up falling, possibly head first.
40. Choose the right baby gate for your laundry area
If your laundry room does not have a door that can be closed and locked to keep your baby out, consider investing in a secure baby gate that can keep them from entering. If you have an unusually wide or narrow opening, there are special gates on the market to fill that gap. For convenience sake, you will probably want a gate that you can open easily with one hand and “walk-thru” with laundry baskets, so keep that in mind when looking.
In the Nursery and Bedroom
41. Choose a safe crib
It is recommended to only use a new, modern crib that complies with current safety standards: slats no more than 2 ⅜” apart, no loose hardware, no drop-down sides, no corner posts or cutouts, and no more than two fingerwidths between edge of mattress and crib side. Also, check to make sure that your crib has no recalls and is sturdy. If you use a cradle or bassinet, be sure to stop using it before baby learns to sit up or pull up, as he or she could easily tumble out.
42. Use your crib safely
Make sure the mattress is at its lowest setting. Do not add crib bumpers, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, or other objects inside the crib. These are all considered to be suffocation hazards, as well as giving an active baby footholds for potentially climbing or falling out. Only use a tight-fitted crib sheet on the mattress. Also, don’t use a crib for a child who is taller than 35” or who can climb out...once your child has reached that stage, transition to a toddler bed (using side rails, if necessary).
43. Position bedroom furniture carefully
Do not place beds and changing tables near hazards such as windows (whether open or not), blind pulls, cords, wires, lamps, fans, or other such items. Also, don’t position baby’s bed near a heat source, such as an hot air vent, radiator, or heater. Don’t forget that beds that are placed too near a wall or other piece of furniture can create an entrapment risk, so rearrange any furniture that could lend to this danger.
44. Supervise young children on big beds
Adult beds bring unique risks to young children, so if you co-sleep, or share your sleeping surface with your baby or toddler during naptime, be extra-careful. Make sure that babies who can roll or crawl are never left unattended on the bed...they can move or fall faster than you can imagine, even if you think they are asleep. As soon as possible, teach your baby how to descend feet first and belly down, and provide a stepstool for your toddler to safely navigate on and off the bed.
Baby proofing Tip #44 - Supervise young children on big beds
45. Use caution with bunk beds
If you think your child is ready to transition to a bunk bed, or if you have a bunk bed that is used by an older sibling, guard carefully against falls. Make sure the bunk bed is equipped with an angled, sturdy set of stairs, preferably with handrails. Also, never let a children sleep on a top bunk unless it has a proper full-length railing that prevents them from falling while asleep. Do not let babies or toddlers climb up or play on a bunk bed.
46. Protect a sleeping baby’s airways
Whether you co-sleep, use a bedside bassinet, or have a crib, you don’t want soft bedding to hinder your baby’s breathing. So, don’t pile pillows or blankets around, on, or near a sleeping infant, nor place a baby face down on a pillow or soft mattress. A baby who cannot roll may not be able to move into a safe position, and a baby who can roll may inadvertently move into an unsafe position. Under no circumstances should you ever let a baby sleep on a waterbed...even if placed tummy up. The risk for suffocation is just too great.
47. Use a baby monitor if baby is sleeping in a different room
Whether you choose an audio or video monitor, make sure it is in good working condition and that the wires are kept safely away from baby. Though these devices are a wonderful invention, don’t let them lull you into complacency...periodically check in on baby whether you hear anything or not.
Baby proofing Tip #47 - Use a baby monitor if baby is sleeping in a different room
48. Secure dressers and other tall furniture
Heavy and top-heavy pieces of furniture are terrible accidents-waiting-to-happen, and can kill or trap a child if they tip, fall, or are pulled down. Anything with drawers or shelves that could be climbed on are also potential hazards. Physically screw these items to the wall, either directly or with the use of brackets or straps. Also, never place heavy items on top of tall furniture as they can topple and cause injury or death.
49. Choose a safe toy storage solution
The important thing is to not use a toy chest that has a heavy lid that can fall down and smack or entrap a child’s head. If you want a toy box with a lid, choose one with a hydraulic hinge that has to be physically pushed down in order to close. As an alternative, use a box or baskets with no lids at all!
Baby proofing Tip #49 - Choose a safe toy storage solution
50. Eliminate choke hazards
Bedrooms sometimes double as “toy” rooms, and as such, tend to have their fair share of “chokables” (as they are called in our house). This is especially true of bigger siblings’ play areas. It is important to remove this risk by keeping clutter to a minimum, putting small toys away, diligently cleaning any play area where a young child might hang out, and possibly eliminating certain items altogether, such as marbles, batteries, and coins. A handy tip to test if an item is a choke hazard is to see if it fits through a toilet paper roll.
51. Double-check toy choices
Not all toys are designed equally. Some are potentially dangerous for younger children, either because they have batteries or sharp corners, or because they are manufactured with substandard materials. Make sure that none of your baby’s toys have been recalled, and throw away any toys that are broken. Any push/pull toy, toy with wheels, or rocking toy can also be dangerous if used by a baby or toddler who does not have the coordination to use it properly. Supervise and decide carefully when you think your child is ready for them.
52. Be careful with changing tables
This common nursery feature is handy, but comes with an important precaution. Always use the provided strap so that baby doesn’t wriggle down during diaper changes, and never, ever walk away and leave baby on the table...even for a second. Keeping your supplies handy is both a feature and a blessing of the table, but make sure that you can safely store certain items, such as diaper pins, cotton swabs, and ointment, away from baby’s reach.
53. Secure window areas
If a bedroom is on a 2nd story, it is especially important that you keep windows closed and locked to prevent falls. If a window is opened, make sure a secure screen is in place, a window stopper is installed, and that there is nothing available for children to climb on that will allow them to reach the window. Another common window hazard is blind pulls, strings, or cords. It is recommended to remove these type of systems completely, or at the very least, cut them short or tie and knot them very high to reduce any strangulation risks.
Did you know?
Numbers of children treated in US hospital EDs for injuries attributable to falls from windows in 1990–2008, according to year of age. (5,000 kids a year hurt in falls from windows)
Baby proofing Tip #53 - Secure window areas
54. Install soft carpet
Since children spend a fair amount of time in their bedroom, and to help soften the many falls and tumbles that are common in young childhood, it is a worthy investment to make sure that their floor surface is cushioned. This will reduce the amount of bumps and bruises that your child will experience while learning to walk and play independently.
55. Consider all lighting solutions
Make sure all light covers are properly in place, leaving no bare bulbs that can be touched while hot or risk breakage if something gets thrown. Install light switch extenders for toddlers who can’t reach the light switch. Don’t use lamps in the bedroom of a toddler or older baby, as they are a fire hazard. If you choose to use a nightlight, make sure that the bulb is designed to be cool to the touch.
56. Reduce electrocution hazards
Don’t leave cords lying around a child’s bedroom. Tie them securely and place behind dressers or other pieces of furniture. Make sure that electrical outlets have covers, preferably sliding ones or similar types that cannot be easily removed. Don’t allow your child to experiment with outlets or let them have access to wire hangers or other pieces of metal that could fit inside of an outlet.
57. Be careful with heat
Do not use space heaters in a child’s bedroom, as they are fire hazards and burn risks. Also do not use heating blankets or heating pads on young children, as their tender skin can easily overheat and burn, and cannot regulate temperatures when exposed to these sources of heat.
58. Dress your little one safe at night
All baby and toddler night clothing should be made of flame-retardant material. Do not allow your child to sleep in clothing that has strings or pulls, such as hats, bibs, or pacifier straps. Don’t overdress or underdress your child. Your baby should be warm in a cool room, or cool in a warm room, but never hot or cold.
59. Install alarms
All bedrooms should have smoke and fire alarms, as well as a carbon monoxide detector. These could potentially save your child’s life in the event of a fire.
60. Have a fire escape plan
As soon as your child is able to comprehend this, make it a priority. Show them how and where to escape, how to stay low during a fire, how to “stop, drop, and roll” if their clothing catches fire, and how to dial 911 in an emergency.
In the Kitchen and Dining Room
61. Use caution around the stove and oven, and keep a fire extinguisher handy
The risk of serious burns makes this appliance the most dangerous one in the kitchen. Turn all pan handles to the back of the stove while cooking to prevent someone from knocking over or pulling down a pot full of hot food or water, and consider installing a stove guard as well. If your stove’s knobs are at the front, install knob covers to keep curious hands from turning them, and add a lock for the oven door.
Don’t let young children play near a hot oven, and don’t cook while holding your baby.
Baby proofing Tip #61 - Use caution around the stove and oven, and keep a fire extinguisher handy
62. Install refrigerator and freezer locks
Not all children are inclined to get into these appliances, but if yours is, it is a good idea to keep them inaccessible. Not only does it keep children safe from getting shut in, but it also keeps them from accessing food or drink items that could hurt them (or that they could make a mess with!).
63. Install cabinet door and drawer locks
There are plenty of hazards lurking around your kitchen. Any enclosed area that holds something dangerous needs to be secured against baby! Make sure that you choose locks and latches that your child can’t breech.
64. Store sharp and pointy items out of reach
Knives, graters, slicers, skewers, corkscrews, and other sharp kitchen utensils should never be left where a young child can reach up and grab them. Push them to the back of the counter, and either store them up high or in a locked drawer.
65. Keep cleaning supplies out of reach
Most people keep these items under the kitchen sink, and if you have a secure enough lock, than it is possible that you could leave them there. However, the safest option is actually move them completely out of reach, either to a cabinet above the stove or fridge, or even to a different room entirely (such as the laundry room). You also might consider switching to non-toxic cleaning products. At any rate, one of the biggest temptations in this category is dishwasher pods, which are colorful and attractive to kids. The chemicals in them are also very dangerous if ingested or inhaled, so store them safely out of reach!
66. Look for odd kitchen hazards and secure them
Pay special attention to how you store random items found in a kitchen, such as steel wool, small fridge magnets, matches and lighters, or even vitamins or other pills, which should never be left where children could find them. Lock these items up or put them up high. Do you have a “junk drawer” in your kitchen? It could be full of potential hazards, so look carefully and deal with them properly.
67. Keep your pantry closed
Not only do babies and toddlers tend to make a mess of pantry food items, they also risk ingesting foodstuffs that aren’t safe for them...think salt, baking soda, extracts, etc. Also, some food items are clearly choke hazards, such as dry beans, rice, and macaroni noodles. Reduce this risk by installing a baby gate (if necessary) or keeping the door shut and locked.
Baby proofing Tip #67 - Keep your pantry closed
68. Be careful with glass
Most kitchens have lots of glass bottles, jars, cups, and other breakable dishes. Monitor the area when you have these items out and put them safely away in the closed-off pantry or in high cabinets when not in use. Plus, don’t store your wine bottles in a rack down low.
69. Keep alcoholic beverages out of reach of children
Besides the fact that it is often stored in glass bottles, alcohol is dangerous if ingested by children. Store it safely away, and don’t let them get ahold of your drink.
70. Don’t leave pet food out
Dry dog and cat food pellets are potential choke hazards. If you must feed these in the kitchen area, make sure to remove any leftover pieces, otherwise consider putting pet bowls in another area, such as a closed-off entryway, porch, or laundry room. It’s also unsanitary to let your child play in your pet’s water dish, so for that reason alone, it is a good idea to move this station.
71. Remove tablecloths
These are unique hazards because though they are not dangerous themselves, their hanging, drooping corners essentially give your toddler or baby access to anything...heavy dishes, hot food, sharp objects, etc. that has been set on the table. Avoid this disaster completely and store your tablecloths until your little one is past the age where this is a problem. You definitely don’t want your place settings to be yanked down onto baby’s head!
72. Don’t leave cords from small appliances in baby’s reach
Make sure to either unplug them or at least tuck all cords back behind. This includes such things as the microwave, toaster, blender, coffeepot, electric teapot, mixer, and more. Dangling cords are dangerous and can cause a young child to inadvertently pull an appliance down on their head.
Baby proofing Tip #72 - Don’t leave cords from small appliances in baby’s reach
73. Keep houseplants out of reach
Many houseplants are poisonous if ingested. If you own any that are, it is recommended to either remove them from your home, or keep them up high, perhaps on top of the cabinets or in a windowsill over the sink.
74. Don’t let dishwashing bring danger
Never leave a sink with water in it unattended. All it takes is a chair or a stepstool for a young child to climb up on and this risk becomes obvious. Dishwashers can also be dangerous, especially if opened during a steaming hot cycle. Keep children away from them. Also, when loading silverware or knives into holders, always place the pointed ends downward.
75. Store your kitchen stepstool
Young climbers will use anything they can to find themselves up high...on counters, the table, even the top of the fridge! Deter them by folding up your stepstool and putting it away. Also, remember that kids will also use chairs for the same purpose, so push them up to the table when not in use. Especially don’t let new climbers try to scale something that is likely to tip over, such as a bar stool. Though climbing at some point is developmentally appropriate, a kitchen is not a safe place to do so...and exposes your child to unsafe objects as well as falls.
76. Store plastic bags properly
Kitchens are the most common place to find these suffocation hazards. Keep your stash of plastic grocery bags, trash bags, ziplock bags, and even plastic wrap in an out-of-the-way spot where little kids can’t reach.
77. Keep kids out of the yuck!
Kitchens are busy places and it is inevitable that crumbs, dirt, and germs will abound. Sweep and mop often to avoid having your little one eating off the floor or finding a wayward choke hazard. Also, don’t let your baby get ahold of the trash can, which can be full of nasties and dangerous items. Store it in a cabinet with a lock, or behind a pantry door.
78. Don’t let small kids roam in the kitchen, either unattended or while cooking
Install a baby gate at the kitchen doorway as a first line of defense. Or as an alternative, put a play pen nearby so that you can watch them as you cook. Another idea is to strap them properly into their highchairs and offer them snacks and toys to occupy them while you are busy in the kitchen.
Baby proofing Tip #78 - Don’t let small kids roam in the kitchen, either unattended or while cooking
79. Make a “safe zone” cupboard
Pick a low cabinet that you can stock with baby-friendly kitchen items, such as metal or plastic bowls, wooden spoons, and plastic measuring cups. Let baby have full access to this one cabinet and you will find that it will help distract him or her from wanting to open the “no-no” cabinets.
80. Feed baby safely
If you use bottles, never microwave them. This can create “hot spots” that are hard to detect and that could scald your baby. Instead, place the bottle in a pan or bowl of hot water, which will warm the liquid evenly. When feeding your baby solid food, only keep leftover portions up to 48 hours in the fridge, especially if you used the baby’s spoon to dip into the food while eating.
In the Living Room and Office
81. Use baby gates to keep baby away from dangerous areas
Do you have a fireplace, exercise equipment, or an entertainment center? Look for special baby-gate systems that can be configured to block those type of dangerous areas from your little explorer.
82. Install bumper pads and remove TV trays
Designed to protect your toddler from falling on sharp edges and corners on furniture, these bumpers and pads are perfect for installing on your coffee table, end tables, or hearth. Equally important is making sure that small, wobbly tables or TV trays are folded up and stored when your little one is walking or crawling about. A few bumps and bruises may be inevitable to some degree, but reducing the risk is the goal.
83. Implement couch safety
Never fall asleep on a couch with a baby. Don’t leave a babies unattended on the sofa, especially if they are starting to wriggle or roll. When your baby is ready to start pulling up, put pillows on the floor to cushion falls, and let him or her use the couch to pull up to. When ready, teach your little one how to slide down safely off the couch...belly down and feet first. Don’t let your small child climb or jump on the back of the couch. Falls can be serious.
Baby proofing Tip #83 - Implement couch safety
84. Be careful with rocking and reclining chairs
These are known for smashing toes and fingers, and even entrapping legs and heads. Either remove them from the area when baby begins moving about, or be extra-diligent when using them in the presence of children.
85. Secure your TV
If possible, use a sturdy mounting system to hang your flatscreen on the wall. If you don’t have a TV that can be hung, install a TV anchor, which uses a strap screwed to a stud in the wall. Never let children have access to a large TV that has the potential to tip, fall down, and crush them.
86. Eliminate the tipping risk of heavy furniture
Avoid a tragedy and use straps or brackets to firmly attach large, tall, top-heavy furniture to the wall. This could include a hutch, an entertainment cabinet, a bookshelf, curio cabinet, or any other similar item. If the piece has a foothold, such as a ledge, a drawer or a low shelf, than the risk is even greater because children might attempt to climb on these. Accidents involving heavy furniture can result in death, so make this a priority.
Did you know?
Every 24 minutes tipped furniture or a fallen TV sends an injured child to the emergency room. The Anchor It! campaign is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) call to action to educate parents and caregivers about these dangers in the home and to urge simple, low-cost action to prevent these tragedies.Source: http://www.anchorit.gov/why-anchor-it/
Baby proofing Tip #86 - Eliminate the tipping risk of heavy furniture
87. Keep bookshelves safe
Aside from securing a bookshelf to a wall, another safety feature is to provide a stepstool to your children so that they can safely climb up to reach a book from a higher shelf. This will prevent them from trying to climb on the actual shelf. Even better is a set of bookshelves that is fairly low that children can reach without any climbing
88. Lose the knickknacks and such
Do you have decorative or breakable items, vases, candles, houseplants, or similar items in your living area? You can put them up high, but eventually your little one will learn to climb...so, it is best to simply remove them until your child is older. These are all potential hazards that just don’t mix well with babies or toddlers.
89. Vacuum and pick up often to eliminate choke hazards
Living areas are notorious for collecting clutter of all kinds and babies go through a stage where they put EVERYTHING in their mouths. In order to reduce the chance that baby will find a choke hazard, clean the area regularly...including under the couch and even in the cushions. Look for coins, marbles, batteries, gum, nuts, candy, plastic wrappers, bits of trash, and other such things that are commonly used and lost in a busy family room. By making sure that clutter is contained, you also reduce the risk of a toddler (or an adult!) tripping and falling.
Baby proofing Tip #89 - Vacuum and pick up often to eliminate choke hazards
90. Soften the room
One of the easiest ways to make the living room baby-friendly is to install soft carpet or rugs and use upholstered furniture, including a cushioned ottoman instead of a traditional coffee table. By providing an array of pillows and cushions that can be easily grabbed and placed near your baby, you can soften their fall when they are learning to sit up, pull up, and walk. Just be careful to not let them become trip hazards.
91. Keep windows and sliding glass doors locked
To limit kids’ access to them, don’t place furniture up against windows. Whenever possible, keep windows closed and locked. Use window stops and secure screens if you do need to open a window. Sliding glass doors are not always user-friendly with kids and can result in smashed fingers. Keep them locked when not being used, and teach young children to not bang on them.
Baby proofing Tip #91 - Keep windows and sliding glass doors locked
92. Baby proof window treatments
Check to make sure that no blind cords, pulls, or strings are hanging down, as they are strangulation hazards. Preferably, you should simply remove them altogether, but at least tie them up high or cut off the excess so that a child can not reach them. Long curtains should be tied up or back so that they cannot wrap around a child’s neck.
93. Keep cords and electronics out of reach
Today’s modern homes have wires and cords everywhere, and babies seem to love them! Don’t let your baby grab them or chew on them. Keep them tucked behind and hidden when possible, or bundle and tie them securely with cord straps or zipties so that baby can’t get entangled in them. Cords from electronics that dangle or sit close to an edge may tempt baby to pull on the cord, causing sensitive items to break...hurting both the item and baby. Store these items up high on and towards the back of a desk or counter or shelf that baby can’t reach.
94. Don’t let baby touch outlets and power strips
Install the best outlet covers that you can afford and keep power strips tucked away where baby can’t reach them. Also, don’t let baby get ahold of small metal pieces that could be put into an outlet, such a paper clip or safety pin. Electrocution is a true risk, so be diligent to keep your little one safe in your office!
Baby proofing Tip #94 - Don’t let baby touch outlets and power strips
95. Keep office supplies out of reach
Lots of items in this area are dangerous for little kids. Store your scissors, stapler, glue, white-out, paper clips, safety pins, tacks, tape dispenser, batteries, pens & pencils, markers, keys, and such items in a secure area where baby cannot find them.
96. Don’t let baby near office equipment
Items that are heavy or dangerous, such as printers, paper shredders, battery chargers, pencil sharpeners, computers, or even filing cabinets, need to kept in an off-limits area that your little one cannot get to.
97. Store board games and puzzles up high
Little kids are drawn to these items, but because of the potential choke hazards of the many small pieces (not to mention the disaster!), don’t let your toddler get their hands on them.
98. Secure odds and ends
Does your office area have a utility drawer or shelf? Make sure to store any hand tools, such as a screwdriver, hammer, staple gun, or cordless drill, and items such as screws & nails, rope & twine, lightbulbs, or flashlights in a place that your child can not find or reach.
99. Pick the right baby gate
Sometimes living rooms and offices don’t have distinct doorways to install a baby gate in. You may need to look for an extra-wide gate, a free-standing gate, or even a multi-purpose play-yard-style gate that has extra attachments designed to partition off hard-to-configure areas.
100. Supervise constantly
No matter how much baby proofing you do or even if you use a playpen, little children are a handful. Under the watchful eye of a parent or other adult however, your child is far less likely to encounter serious risks in your home. YOU are baby’s best defense against serious accidents.
101. Remove guns or store them safely
One of the greatest dangers to a young child is a home with an improperly stored gun. Do not let that be the situation at your house! Best is no gun at all. If you do have guns, store them securely in a locked gun safe at all times. Always keep the safety switch on, never keep a gun loaded with ammunition, and store your ammunition in a different area than where the gun is stored. Teach your children that guns are dangerous tools, not toys, and to never touch them or let another child touch them. Teach them to go tell an adult immediately if they see a gun being handled by another child.
Did You Know?
According to SmartGunLaws.org, 1.69 million children under age 18 live in homes with loaded and unlocked firearms
I hope this list has proved to be comprehensive and helpful to you in your quest for ideas and products that will help you keep your child safe.
Baby proofing an entire house might seem daunting at first, but as you can see, much of which you see here is common sense coupled with reminders.
Hopefully you have also found some useful tips and strategies that are new to you and that you can use to increase the safety level of your home.
How do you make your home a haven of protection? If you have certain things that work for you and your family, or have any ideas you would like to share and add to this list, please let us know in the comments! We welcome your suggestions!
Happy Baby proofing!