When prepping for a newborn, one of the most important steps is to babyproof your home. Through each stage of a baby's development, from crawling to walking, certain safety precautions are necessary, and it's best to get started a few months before each new phase. This guide will offer babyproofing ideas, from safety blinds to cabinet locks, to help you be sure every room in your house is a safe place for baby to play and explore.
Use a Baby Gate
Whether you have a home with stairs or just need to close off certain rooms, add baby gates to keep your crawling baby safe.
- For stairs, it's best to put gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. Baby gates also come in handy if parents need a baby to stay in a baby-proofed room to play and explore.
- Certain baby gates are made for travel as well, making them ideal for trips to families' homes or when visiting friends with pets or who may not have a baby-proofed home.
Cover Your Outlets
Babies and toddlers love to touch things and explore. For this reason, it's important to add safety plugs to all outlets. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, safety plugs, sliding outlet covers and box outlet covers are fairly inexpensive and can also come in handy when traveling to hotels and visiting families. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- To avoid attracting children's eyes to the outlet, we recommend using plain white or clear outlet covers and safety plugs. Be sure the plugs are not too large for the outlet. If they are loose children may be able to remove them easily.
- For homeowners with babies and small children, sliding outlet covers are a great option. A more permanent solution, sliding covers close automatically when not in use and cannot be removed by children.
- For electronics that need to be plugged in all the time, consider box outlet covers. While they can be removed from the outlet, they are ideal for TVs, appliances and other items that need to remain plugged in.
Keep the Kitchen Safe
When babies start moving around the house on their own, the kitchen is one of the rooms that needs a lot of attention.
- Use safety latches and cabinet locks to keep kitchen cabinets and drawers closed so baby can't pinch fingers or reach any chemicals or breakable items.
- Be sure that any table runners, table cloths and hand towels are not hanging low enough for children to reach.
- Install stove knob covers and keep children away from the oven when in use.
- Check that all heavy kitchen items, such as mixers, are out of reach.
- Add non-slip rug pads under any runners or mats in the kitchen.
- Use a childproof garbage can or add a safety lock.
Secure Windows and Blinds
Take a look at your home's windows and blinds to ensure that your current options don't pose a hazard. Before bringing home a newborn, consider upgrading your window treatments. The safest option for homes with children under 10 and pets are cordless products such as shutters, cell shades or roller shades.
- Secure all window treatments.
- In the nursery, keep all cribs and toys away from blind cords.
- If possible, upgrade to motorized window treatments.
- Keep windows locked, especially on second stories and higher.
- Make sure sure all exisiting window cords are out of sight, beyond reach and inaccessible.
- Keep all window pull cords and inner lift cords out of the reach of children and pets.
- Check window coverings like draperies for exposed cords.
For more information, check out our Best Blinds for Child Safety guide.
Babyproof the Bathroom
Few things are cuter than baby's first bath, but you want to be sure you're providing a safe place for your child to bathe for years to come. Here are a few simple tips:
- Place a non-slip bathtub mat or grippers inside the tub, so that mobile toddlers and babies can't fall while splashing.
- Install a temperature guard on your water heater. Aim for the maximum temperature to be 120 degrees.
- Adding an anti-scald device to faucets and showers is also a good way to prevent any unwanted injuries.
- Protect your baby's head from the faucet with a fun and functional bath spout.
- If you share a bath with baby, be sure to keep any small electronics like curling irons and blow dryers locked up and out of reach.
- Keep cleaning products and toiletries out of reach in locked cabinets and drawers.
- Use a safety lock on the toilet to keep children from reaching or falling into the toilet.
Check Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
- If your home already has smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors installed, check to make sure the batteries are up-to-date and working well.
- For homes without updated detectors, install smoke detectors on every story of your home and your home's hallways.
- Install a new carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, including the basement and garage. They should be installed inside or right outside the door of all bedrooms in your home.
- Additionally, when it comes to fire safety, keep fire extinguishers out of reach of children.
Keep the Nursery Safe
By default, babies and toddlers will spend the majority of their time in their room. For this reason, it's important to ensure that their crib, furniture and surroundings are safe.
- Always use baby-safe paint with zero VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. Aim to have all painting down six to eight weeks before bringing baby home.
- Keep the crib clear of any bumpers, toys or pillows to allow easier breathing. Position the crib away from windows, decor, shelving or furnaces.
- Anchor furniture to the wall to reduce the risk of any dressers or bookcases falling.
- As mentioned above, secure window treatments and cords.
- Install a ceiling fan to keep baby comfortable and make breathing easier.
- Invest in a baby monitor to keep an eye on baby throughout the night.