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When you have a baby, childproofing goes with the territory. You may be surprised at what trouble babies and toddlers can get into. They can be very curious and sneaky in the way they open drawers and get into things they shouldn’t!
While many people know that they have to childproof their home, many are unsure how to childproof their home. It involves much more than just putting up a baby gate and calling it a day. Each room in your home involves specific attention to potential dangers in that room.
If you want to know how to childproof your home, read on for our room-by-room guide of what you should do to make your home as safe as it can be for your child.
Table of Contents
- 1 Think Like a Baby
- 2 What you need to Childproof in Every Room of Your Home
- 3 How to Childproof the Kitchen
- 4 How to Childproof The Living Room
- 5 How to Childproof The Bathroom
- 6 How to Childproof The Bedroom
- 7 How to Childproof the Backyard or Front Yard
- 8 Other Ways to Keep Your House Safe for Your Child
- 9 The Bottom Line
Think Like a Baby
You want to see what a child sees as they move about your home. To do this, you’re going to need to get on their level…literally. As silly as it may sound, get on your hands and knees, crawl around your house and see what’s easily in reach of your child. Doing this will put things like knickknacks in reach as well as cords for blinds.
As you’re looking around the house, don’t forget the little things. Big things like putting up a baby gate are obvious, but what about those kitchen magnets? Don’t you think that kids will want to grab those and see what they’re all about?
Also, don’t forget the obvious. Cleaning supplies should be locked away and any houseplants should be kept out of reach. Not only are the cleaning supplies dangerous for obvious reasons, but don’t put it past your child to take a bite out of your favorite houseplant before he knocks it over.
What you need to Childproof in Every Room of Your Home
While every room in your home will have its specific safety needs, there are basics things you should be on the lookout for in every room.
How to Childproof Stairs
The stairs pose a huge danger because kids can easily tumble down them and injure themselves. Gates should be installed at the top and bottom of any staircases that your kids may have access to. One gate we especially like is the Regalo Easy Step Gate.
Be sure that all gates lock appropriately and don’t allow your kids to open them. You may be surprised at just how crafty those little hands can be to open baby gates.
How to Childproof Windows with Guards
It only takes a split-second to look away for a child to get near a window and potentially fall out. A window gate or guard can help prevent that type of tragedy. While you want there to be protection for babies, you also want the windows to still open in case of a fire.
If you’re looking for a window guard, Safety Innovations makes a product that many parents seem to like. You always want to look for one that is strong enough to prevent a fall but can still be opened in case of fire. Many people think that having a window screen is enough to protect their kids from falling out of windows. But, the screens are not sturdy enough. Kids can easily push through the screens and out the window.
How to Childproof Doors
It won’t take long for your child to open a door and make a run for it. That’s why doorknob covers are a staple of the childproofing process. Doorknob covers make it hard for little hands to turn the door handles. They should be placed on all entry doors as well as closet doors. Some people also put them on bathroom doors, but let’s be real. When you’re a parent, your bathroom privacy goes out the door. So, if you’re putting them on doors for that reason, that could be a lost cause. But, you can still put them on bathroom doors so that your child doesn’t toilet paper your bathroom or mistake the toilet for a water fountain. Yuck!
Doorknob covers are easy to install and inexpensive.
You can also buy pinch guards to prevent your child from getting their hands stuck in between doors. They are inexpensive and come in multi-packs.
How to Childproof Rugs
As your child learns to walk, they’ll be falling all over the place. When they do learn how their little legs work, they’ll be off and running. Any rugs that are not secured to the floor pose a fall hazard. Grippers and non-stick pads are easy solutions for securing rugs. These will even benefit you so that you don’t fall as you’re running after your toddler.
How to Childproof Outlet Covers
Outlet covers are a must. These need to be put in every room of your home. Children’s fingers are tiny and so are outlets. They can easily try to stick their fingers inside the outlet or try to see what else can fit in them. The great thing about outlet covers is that they come in a multi-pack so they are very inexpensive. Once your child outgrows this stage (this will take a while), you can take the covers out just as easily as you put them in.
Besides these items, there are several other basic childproofing measures you’ll want to take to make sure your home is safe. Here is a checklist to go through so that you can make sure you have the basics covered.
- Make sure there are smoke detectors on every level of your home as well as in all bedrooms
- Have carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas in your home
- Make sure all window blind cords are out of the reach of children to prevent a strangulation hazard
Those are the simple things that need to be done in each room to keep your child safe. Now, let’s go room by room to see how to childproof your home to keep your baby out of harm’s way.
How to Childproof the Kitchen
The kitchen can pose numerous risks for your child. When you want to know how to childproof your home, start here. You may even want to put a baby gate in the entrance of your kitchen if your space allows. This will keep the kitchen off-limits when you’re not around. Everyone just needs to be mindful to close the gate when they leave the room.
How to Childproof Cabinet Locks
With cabinets full of pots, pans, utensils, and other gadgets, your kitchen is full of potential dangers for your child. That’s one of the first things you need to do is get cabinet locks. You don’t want your baby getting into any mixers or dangerous items. You also don’t want all of your pots, pans, and containers all over the kitchen floor.
There are three basic types of locks for your kitchen cabinets, magnetic, internal, and external locks. The external locks look like ties that keep your handles together so that children can’t open them. The external locks are less expensive but you have to remember to always tie them together when you’re done.
The internal locks require you to screw into your cabinets and have a latch to open them. Some people don’t like to screw the locks to their cabinets because their children will eventually grow and they won’t need them anymore.
There are also magnetized locks that also require you to screw in or attach a magnetized piece on the inside of the cabinet while you have a magnetized piece to open it. These are very secure because you have to use your magnetized piece in just the right location to open up your cabinet. Sometimes parents even have trouble opening these types of locks!
How to Childproof Stove Guard
A stoves present a huge hazard for kids because they can get burned if it’s turned on accidentally. Besides using the back burners whenever possible, you may want to invest in a stove guard.
There are also knob covers so that kids can’t turn the stove on. Some people even take the knobs off when they’re not cooking if the knobs are located at the front of the stove.
You’ll also want to look at investing in an oven latch. As your child grows they’ll learn that the oven opens. They can not only get burned, but they can also bump their heads with the oven door.
How to Childproof Dishwasher
Besides the stove, the dishwasher could also pose a hazard if your child decides to open it and pull out a knife or another dangerous object. Many dishwashers lock when they’re on, so that shouldn’t be an issue. But, even when the dishwasher is loaded, but not on, lock the door. Many dishwashers have this option. Check to see if yours is included.
If your dishwasher is an older model and doesn’t have the option of locking the door, look for an appliance lock that can do the trick.
How to Childproof a Microwave
You may want to move the microwave in your home depending on where it is in the kitchen. If it’s mounted above your oven, no worries. But, if it’s on a counter or a cart, you’ll want to take a second look. Kids can not only start to push buttons wreaking all types of havoc, but they may also try to put something in there and hurt themselves. Move the microwave to a location that is out of reach.
How to Childproof Cutlery
As you’re looking for ways of how to childproof your home, look on your kitchen counter. It can be a playground of danger for kids. Those cutlery blocks that many of us have on our counters need to be completely removed or at least put out of the reach of children. It takes one split-second of you answering a phone call for a child to get access to the cutlery block and grab a knife.
How to Childproof Magnets
Sure, magnets are cute on the fridge. Your child may think so too and try to grab them. They can quickly end up in their mouths, especially the smaller magnetic pieces. It’s best to just keep these objects off the fridge so that your child is not tempted to grab them.
How to Childproof a Refrigerator
Your child may be able to open the refrigerator depending on the style you have. You may want to consider installing a latch to make it harder for your child to open. As you’re childproofing your fridge, be sure that grapes and other foods that pose a choking hazard are also out of reach.
How to Childproof Tablecloths
While a tablecloth on your kitchen may look nice, in one swoop everything on top of the table can end up on the floor. Babies can easily grab a tablecloth end and pull it. If you have a hot cup of coffee on the table or a vase of flowers they will come crashing down, potentially injuring your baby. As tempting as it may be, skip the tablecloths.
How to Childproof The Living Room
The living room has several hot spots where children can get into trouble and get hurt.
How to Childproof a Fireplace
If you have a fireplace in your living room, you’ll want to get a fireplace gate to protect your baby from the flames. Even when using a fireplace gate, never leave your child unattended when a fire is burning. On the subject of fire, sure we all love candles, but candles and kids don’t mix. You may have to skip lighting the candles if you can’t keep them out of the reach of babies. If you put them on a mantle or a high shelf, be sure that the shelf is secure and that there’s no chance the baby can try to knock it down.
How to Childproof Frames
Keeping frames out of a child’s reach is also key when you’re looking at how to childproof your home. If you leave pictures on end tables in the living room and you have a toddler who’s a climber (who doesn’t), those pictures are about two seconds away from crashing and shattering glass all over the floor. As with the candles, keep frames out of the reach of children. This is very important because children may be more prone to grab photos if they see themselves in one or someone they recognize.
How to Childproof a Television
Don’t underestimate your child’s strength. If your television is on a stand that is within reach of your child, there is a chance that it can fall down on top of them. To alleviate this problem, you can mount the television to the wall or by slip-resistant velcro straps. These go through air-vent holes and connect to eye hooks that are screwed into the wall. This gives the television support if your child tries to tip it over.
The Remote Control
You may be wondering how the remote control can pose a hazard in your home. If the part where the batteries are located is loose or easy to get off, your child can get into that, take the batteries, and put them in their mouth. Batteries can get stuck in the esophagus and cause serious damage. Keep the remote out of your children’s reach at all times.
How to Childproof a Glass Coffee Table
Sure that glass coffee table looked amazing when there were no kids around. Now, any sharp edges make you cringe. Kids can poke their eyes or forehead with the sharp table edges. If getting rid of the table is not an option, you may want to invest in table protectors. These can at least cushion the impact if your child runs into the table.
How to Childproof Electrical Cords
If you have electrical cords in plain sight, they need to be out of your baby’s sight. They can not only pose an electrocution hazard, but also a strangulation hazard if your child tries to put the cords around their neck.
How to Childproof Chairs and Other Furniture
Although your child is not going to have Herculean strength, they can still be pretty strong. If you have rocking chairs or lightweight tables in the living room you’ll want to secure them down. You don’t need a chair or table toppling over and injuring your child. Any furniture anchors similar to the ones used for televisions will work. There are many different types on the market depending on the size and weight of your furniture as well as how you want to attach them.
How to Childproof The Bathroom
How can the bathroom pose a danger to your child? There are several things you’ll want to look at.
How to Childproof Tub
The tub can be public enemy number one when it comes to bathroom dangers. To prevent your child from banging their head on the faucet, you can get rubber spout covers. These will prevent your child from banging their head on the faucet.
Also, check your water temperature. If your child is smart and strong enough to turn the water on, they may crank up the temperature and get burned. Make sure your water heater is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have access to the water heater because you live in an apartment, check out anti-scald devices like that you can put on the faucet. These types of devices can also protect your child from dangerously hot water.
Also, never leave your child unattended in the bath. It only takes a second of you looking away for them to slip below the water and potentially drown. Children can drown in bathtubs just as they can drown in pools or the ocean.
If you have a toddler that is walking, you’ll also want to get a mat for outside the tub for when they get out. Bathroom floors can get slippery as well. You don’t want them to slip while getting out of the tub and accidentally bump their head.
How to Childproof the Wastebasket or Trash Can
While you may think the trash can’t pose a hazard to your child, think again. While you may put a plastic bag in the basket to make it easier to take out the trash, your child may see that bag as a toy. They may try to put this over their head, posing a suffocation risk. Even though you may not think your child would go into the trash and take the bag, you just never know. You may want to consider going sans bag for the bathroom wastebasket.
How to Childproof Toilet
Even if your child is not using the toilet it doesn’t mean that they don’t find it interesting. They may try to open the lid and stick their hands in there. Yuck! They may even try to stick their head in there, which could pose a drowning risk. To reduce the risk of all of these things from happening, install a toilet latch. Toilet latches prevent kids from opening the lid and getting into trouble.
If you have guests over, be sure to tell them about the latch and to put it back on after they’re done using the bathroom. People who don’t have kids may not even think the toilet could pose a danger.
How to Childproof a Hairdryer
You may keep your hair dryer plugged in for the convenience factor, but if your child gets their hands on the hairdryer, it could spell trouble. They can easily turn it on high and burn themselves. There’s also a chance they can drop it in the toilet (another reason to buy that toilet latch) or try to strangle themselves with the cord. To prevent all of these things from happening, put your hair dryer away and out of their little hands.
How to Childproof Medications
You may leave your medicine bottles on the bathroom counter so you don’t forget to take them. Doing so puts them in reach of children. Even if your bottle has a childproof cap, keep all medications on the top shelf of the medicine cabinet. You just never know what and when your child can get into your medications.
The same goes for bathroom toiletries. Kids are curious and will get into anything they can get their hands on. When in doubt, keep everything out of the reach of children on high shelves where they will not be able to reach them unless they have an incredible growth spurt overnight.
Consider using a locked, or childproof box to store your medicine in. That way you can keep it somewhere that’s convenient but safe from curious hands.
How to Childproof The Bedroom
When you look around your child’s bedroom, you may not notice anything that could pose a hazard. But, when you take a closer look, you’ll see the reasons why you need to childproof your home.
How to Childproof Dressers
Dressers pose the same danger as televisions in the living room. They can tip over more easily than you think. A study done a few years ago found that a child is killed by a falling piece of furniture once every two weeks. Look around the bedroom and take a look at all dressers or any other pieces of furniture. They should be anchored to the floor or to the wall for safety. This can give you some peace of mind that your baby is safe in the bedroom.
How to Childproof Piggy Banks
If your child wants something they’re going to do everything in their power to reach it, which includes their piggy bank. While you may think the piggy bank is out of reach, your child may think that the height is just an obstacle to overcome and overcome he will.
Keep piggy banks in a place where your child won’t be tempted to grab it. If he does, it can smash to the ground not only increasing the chance your child will get cut, but also exposing coins. Your child may decide he wants to know what a penny tastes like. As you can imagine, that’s not going to end well. Keeping the piggy banks out of the way is just a better idea.
How to Childproof a Toy Box
The toy box is great to keep all of your child’s belongings in one place until the lid falls on their little fingers. Check to see if the lid has an automatic hinge. If it does, little fingers can get stuck easily. Look for hinge guards to protect those little hands.
How to Childproof a Crib
You may think that your child’s crib couldn’t harm then, but it can if you’re not careful. You’ll notice that the crib has different settings for the mattress. When your child is a newborn you can have it in the highest setting because your baby won’t have the strength to climb out.
As they get older and stronger, you’ll want to keep an eye on the mattress height. You’ll want to lower it so they won’t be able to climb out of the crib. Once they can stand up in the crib, whether it’s supported or not, you need to closely monitor the mattress height. As soon as you notice they can climb, it’s time to transition to a big kid bed.
Another thing to be on the lookout for in the crib are blankets, stuffed animals, and toys. While you may want to give your child his favorite blanket or stuffed animal at bedtime, don’t. Either of these can cause a suffocation risk.
How to Childproof a Bed
Once they reach big kid bed status, there is still a potential danger. Since they were always used to having rails on the crib, they may have trouble staying in their beds at first. That’s why it’s important to invest in safety rails. These provide protection for your child in case they rollover. While they’ll hit the safety rail, they won’t fall on the floor. This is important to have especially if their new bed is high off the ground.
How to Childproof Baby Mobiles
Baby mobiles are nice to have in the crib to keep your baby occupied. But, if the strings are too low, they can cause a strangulation hazard. Be sure they are high enough and out of reach for your baby.
How to Childproof a Changing Table
Most changing tables come with straps to keep your baby in place when you’re trying to get through a diaper change. But, when your baby is on the changing table, keep wipes, diaper cream, and anything else out of their reach. It just takes a quick second of you grabbing a diaper for them to get their hands on something they shouldn’t.
How to Childproof the Backyard or Front Yard
When the weather is nice, everyone wants to be outside. But, that doesn’t mean that children can’t get hurt outside as well. Besides your basic cuts and bruises, your yard could also pose a huge risk if you have a pool.
If you have a pool, you need to have a fence around it as well as a lock. The ladder locks that many above ground pools have are often not effective enough. If toddlers are mobile and climbing, they’ll find a way to climb that ladder even when it’s locked.
Securing the area around your pool with a fence and lock is the best way to prevent accidents. You always have to be sure that the gate is locked and closed, especially when no one is outside. Many people also install pool alarms so that they can hear when people may be getting near their pool when they’re not supposed to.
Any doors leading to the pool should also be locked at all times. There have been many tragic stories in the news when the child slips out the back door and into the yard where there is a pool. This further enforces the importance of having doorknob covers on doors so that kids can not open them.
If there are any sheds on your property, you’ll want to have those locked as well. If your child is walking, they can easily wander into them and get their hands on things they shouldn’t. Many people keep tools in their sheds. You wouldn’t want a child to get their hands on anything accidentally. Keeping a shed locked with a key is probably your best bet to keep your child safe outside.
Also, if there are decks and patios that are not ground level, be sure that all entranceways are blocked with a gate. Keep children away from the edges of the deck or patio and be sure that they can’t put their hands or head in between any railings. Just because your head can’t fit between the rails doesn’t mean that applies to your child. They have smaller body parts that can become wedged in some of the worst places possible.
There are safety nets that you can purchase to prevent your child from getting any body parts stuck in between outdoor railings.
Other Ways to Keep Your House Safe for Your Child
Besides going room by room, there are other ways to keep your child safe while you’re childproofing your home. Keeping a fire extinguisher handy, but out of the reach of children, is always a good idea. Grease fires can happen when you’re cooking. Other small fires can also happen at home. Having a fire extinguisher handy can prevent these tragedies from becoming larger ones.
Another way to keep your child safe in your home is to become CPR certified. Despite all of your childproofing efforts, accidents do happen. Being CPR certified can help save your child’s life in case of an accident or the life of anyone visiting your home.
Here are some general tips and hacks for baby proofing your home:
The Bottom Line
When it comes to childproofing your home, it’s important to go room by room to make sure you’re not missing anything. If you think to yourself that your baby would never grab an object or never be able to reach something, think again. These are usually the spaces that get missed and end up causing an accident.
Most childproofing items are inexpensive and easy to install. Making yourself a checklist can assure that you don’t forget anything. If you haven’t had your baby yet, you can even register for their items. Many people would love to make a basket of safety items as a gift.
If you’re buying these items yourself, read the reviews and see what people are saying about them. Check out the ones we’ve highlighted here for great ideas to childproof your home. Also, take your time when installing all safety features in the home. Taking your time and following all directions can mean the difference between keeping your child safe and putting them in danger.