Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Have you ever heard the saying that mom's and dad's have eyes in the back of their head? Well, I hate to break it to you...it's not true! While parents do have certain instincts at certain times, you would never want to have something happen to your little one that you could have prevented by babyproofing. Babies can begin to crawl in just a few months. In fact, on average, they are crawling by 8 months old! With your baby on the move, you'll want to start child proofing your home, even if she hasn't arrived yet. We have compiled a list of 26 tips and tricks and safety products that are our favorites.
Around the house
The easiest way to baby proof your home is to keep certain areas off limits around the house. For crawlers, you can simply keep doors shut, but when they start pulling themselves up, you're going to have to get more high tech than that. Plus, there will always be that one time you forgot to shut the door to the laundry room that you're going to regret. We love these knob locks, which go over door knobs and make it impossible for tiny hands to open. Now if you have the lever kind of door handles, you'll need to get these lever locks instead.
Bathrooms are especially important to make sure that little hands can't get a hold of dangerous stuff. Especially if you have cabinets full of over-the-counter and prescription meds that could wind up costing you a trip to the emergency room. Keep those bottles in a cupboard up high and out of reach of kids of all ages. Another bathroom danger to consider is the Toilet. A lid lock is a good idea to prevent finger smashing. It will also keep kids from flushing random things down the toilet. Imagine the plumbing bill that would result from that!
This one is a very important one. Your baby spends a lot of time in his crib, so take the time to consider things that might be harmful to him. Our #1 tip here is to get a mesh crib bumper. It's breathable if your baby's face end up against it and it will prevent pacifiers from flinging out onto the floor, making it hard to find in the middle of the night.
You'll want to install both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. The detectors should be installed in the hallway outside each room and you'll need at least one on each floor. Now, they come as a combo unit and our favorite basic one is from First Alert. But if you can splurge for the high tech version, we love the Nest detectors.
Electrical outlets and cords
Again, the easiest way to keep your baby away from outlets is to cut off access to them. One way you can accomplish this feat is by putting furniture in front of them. Another way is to replace your outlets with childproof self-closing outlets. This is our recommendation over the traditional individual outlet plugs because you don't have to waste time taking them out each time you need to plug in the vacuum and you don't have to worry about remembering to put them back in. You'll also want to make sure electrical cords are out of reach. You'd be surprised where small hands can reach in and pull things out of.
The toilet isn't the only place where tiny fingers can get smashed. Doors are more commonly the finger pinching culprits. Make sure to put some type of finger pinching prevention in place on your doors. Our favorite solution is DIY. Just cut up a pool noodle and put it on the door. If you don't have a spare pool noodle laying around, you can also purchase pinch guards for relatively cheap.
In addition to door knob locks, safety gates can also keep babies out of areas around the house they shouldn't be in. Make sure to install safety gates at both the top and bottom of the staircase.
Check to make sure houseplants are non-toxic. You'd be surprised at some plants that are considered toxic. Poison Control is a good reference to use.
Install Furniture Straps
You'll want to install furniture straps on every tall and heavy piece of furniture in your home. These are not just for earthquakes. As soon as your little one is mobile and trying to pull himself up, he could pull the furniture over and end up getting hurt.
There are too many potential safety risks with doorway jumpers. In our opinion, doorway jumping should be considered an extreme baby sport. But the jumpers that have free-standing frames that sit on the ground can be a fun and safer way for non-walkers to expend some energy.
The most important things in the kitchen to babyproof are cabinets and drawers that have knives or other sharp things and cleaning supplies. You can get child proof magnetic cabinet locks that install with adhesive on the inside of your cabinets and drawers so they're completely invisible and don't damage anything.
The laundry room and bathroom could also use a set of those magnetic cabinet locks to keep cleaning supplies and mouthwash locked up and out of reach of curious hands. Remember that the shaking washer can cause things to fall, so make sure you don't store things on top of your washer and dryer. If your laundry room has too much stuff like ours, you might consider investing in a pedestal to store items below your washer and dryer. Don't forget to keep the iron out of reach and the ironing board secured.
There are so many different types of baby monitors out there, we could have a post on this topic alone. A basic audio baby monitor is really all you need, but if you want to also see, touch and smell (just kidding...don't think we've seen one of those, yet) your baby there are lots of different options.
By now you have the basics of safety in the nursery. You can use the same self-closing outlets, door pinch guards and magnetic cabinet locks that we mentioned previously. The low dresser drawers can be locked so they don't open them and use them as a step stool to climb. You'll also want to make sure heavy dressers and bookshelves are anchored to the wall with braces.
Oven & Stove
Never hang anything over baby's crib and remember to use heavy duty picture hooks on paintings and mirrors.
Install non-slip pads under rugs to prevent slipping accidents. If you have hardwood or slippery floors, you might want to invest in some non-slip grip socks when your baby starts to pull himself up.
Install safety gates at the top and bottom of the staircase. If you have wood stairs you might consider anti-slip pads (or those non-slip grip socks we just mentioned) when the gates are ready to come off. Stairs are one of the biggest dangers in a home.
TV's should be anchored to the wall securely or secured to furniture with anti-tip straps and cords and cables tucked out of reach.
You probably vacuum your floors frequently, but how about under couch and other furniture? We sure don't. Small things that can be a choking hazard tend to collect under the couch. Make sure to vacuum underneath your furniture.
Ideally, you can get rid of cords altogether by installing cordless blinds. But if you can't replace them, make sure cords are tied up and out of reach. Safety wind ups work great for that task.
Turn your water heater down to below 120˚F. At bath time, you'll want to check the water before putting your baby in to make sure it's around 100˚F.
EXit Door Safety
This one hits home and is often forgotten. When my oldest daughter was 2 and a half, she wandered out the front door of our condo while dad was in the shower and mom had left for work. That night we installed a hotel chain type lock high up on the front door.
Speaking of bath safety, you'll want to get a yellow ducky thermometer to help you take the water temp at bath time. Because every bath is more fun with a little yellow fowl floating around.
Zats all folks!
We've come to the end and can't come up with anything that's unsafe in your home that starts with Z. Unless you have a pet Zebra. You'll need to do something about that.
Now that you know your A,B,C's of childproofing, you're ready to tackle the task one letter at a time. Once you think you've childproofed your home, crawl around on your knees and see what you missed. We're serious! Babies have a whole different perspective from down low and you wouldn't want to miss anything.