Baby and Kids
How to Babyproof Your House with These Safety Essentials
I knew I’d want to make our home safe for our children. But I also though I’d teach my young children to avoid the stairs when they were little and waited a while to install baby gates. That did not last long and eventually, the stairs were gated, but I …
I knew I’d want to make our home safe for our children. But I also though I’d teach my young children to avoid the stairs when they were little and waited a while to install baby gates. That did not last long and eventually, the stairs were gated, but I fought a good fight. But seriously, ginger jars are within reach on our console. We’re trying to teach Kate not to touch them – it’s been fun. 🤪 I have the approach of keep things safe so you’re not always hovering over your baby or toddler, but not so extreme that you’re gating your fireplace or Peloton. So I made sure sharp objects were not accessible, but given the types of windows we have, opted against window guards. Yes, those were actual suggestions and no, I did not do either. So let’s talk about how to babyproof your home.
How to Babyproof Your House with These Safety Essentials
I’m the worrier who called the baby-proofer before my first started crawling but also the super-breezy mom who decided not to gate everything in my home. (jk I am not breezy) But I skipped the toilet locks so that has to count for something. I like to think I didn’t go too overboard but covered the really important stuff. See more of our home here. I would also like to remind you that I am not a certified babyproofer or expert, but like learning from other moms. You should always consult an expert when it comes to safety or anything pertaining to the health of your baby or child.
How to Babyproof 3 floors
Our first home consisted of the main floor (living, kitchen, half bath), second floor (3 bedrooms and 2 full baths), and basement (playroom and laundry). Making our home a safe place for our children was something that felt especially important to me. We did put some corner guards over sharp edges, and made sure small objects are kept on a high shelf. We also added stair gates, and a safety strap to large pieces of furniture. Babyproofing gave me peace of mind and helped us keep our small children safe. When you have a second or third baby, you’ll have to consider toys that belong to older siblings. I put any small toys that might be a choking hazard away, and only let my older daughter play with them during naps.
I hired an expert to Babyproof
Right around the time Margot showed interest in crawling, I hired Safety Matters in Chicago. They did not give me a discount and have no idea I’m writing this blog post, but I was happy with their work and would recommend them. Some suggestions felt a little extreme but it’s nice to know what to look out for.
We are not the handiest, and for us (ok, me) it felt like a good idea to have a professional handle this so it was done right. I didn’t know what to do or how to do it. The first step is walking through the house looking for anything that might be a potential threat, and then deciding what feels right for you. They have since come out to our new home, too. Now that our children are a little older, we considered their needs and added a baby gate at the top of the stairs and anchored their dressers to the walls. I am in no way affiliated with this company.
Basic safety tips
Make sure your home has working smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and that it’s free of lead paint, too. Keep your child’s crib away from windows, window treatments, and outlets. Small choking hazards like hair ties, rubber bands, and button batteries should be well out of baby’s reach. Make sure electrical cords are tied up / anchored to furniture and not accessible to your little explorer. It isn’t possible to have your eyes on your baby 24/7, and not to be an alarmist, but it only takes a moment for something bad to happen, so make sure your home is a safe space.
Since Margot showed very little interest in our first level stairway, we held off on gating that for a while. I can’t remember how old she was when I had our baby-proofer come back, but we had a good run without a baby gate on the first floor staircase. I would have 100% needed it for Kate who tries to scale the stairs every chance she gets, so there was no avoiding it.
We have gates at the bottom and top of our first floor staircase, one at the end of our first floor hallway, and another at the bottom of our basement stairs. Our babyproofer recommended not putting a retractable gate at the top of a staircase, so those were only added to the bottom, and anything with steps has a metal gate. The installation process for spindle railing looked pretty intense and like I said, we’re not very handy, so hiring someone was definitely worth it. I also recommend adding a stair runner to give your stairs some traction.
Babyproof Dressers and cabinets:
We had dressers, the living room console, and dining room cabinets mounted to the wall. This was obviously not something we needed to do when Margot was a baby. But I wanted to make sure it was done since the statistics on these injuries are pretty bad. I’m just in the camp of, let’s make things safe so we’re not always hovering and worrying, so we can enjoy life. My kids spent a lot of time with their nanny, and I wouldn’t have wanted her to have to worry, either.
Babyproof (and child-proof) the bedroom:
Young kids and even older children will climb things they are not supposed to, so make sure larger furniture is anchored to their walls. This is especially important for their bedroom dressers, and the best way to keep your child safe when they’re playing in their room. My older daughter is 4 and loves her alone time. This is new, but she will now play with her dollhouse or dolls for an hour or two now (it’s incredible). I feel safer knowing her dresser won’t fall on her if she were to try to climb it. Add child-proof locks to anything that isn’t child-safe, and make sure window coverings with any cords are kept out of reach, with the cords mounted to the wall.
Babyproof your Kitchen cabinet doors:
We added a childproof lock to most drawers and cabinets. Specifically, under the sink and to the knife drawer, kitchen utensil/tool drawer, and the drawer where we keep plastic bags. Cleaning supplies are kept under the kitchen sink and are all green and plant-based, but that’s locked, too. Safety locks are the best solution to keep curious little hands away from harm. I opted not to get knob covers for the stove since they looked a little intense, but our younger daughter definitely tried to mess with the knobs a few times. As your baby turns into a walking toddler, watch out for sharp corners on tables and cabinets.
How to Babyproof the Bath
I try not to look at everything as potential hazards and added a few things to the bathroom, but skipped the toilet lock. I’m not suggesting that you skip getting a toilet lock – do what feels right for you, and follow the advice of your babyproofer. I added a faucet cover, anti-skid bath mat, and padded bath buddy to the side of her tub. The hot water heater also doesn’t allow the water in her bathroom to get too hot, so burns in her bathtub are not possible.
We have the nest alarm system so there are sensors on all the doors that lead outside. Each one beeps if opened, so we’re alerted when anyone comes and goes. When the girls can easily open doors to get outside, I’ll probably add an additional lock to the top of each door.
Covers for Electrical Outlets
All outlet covers in our home were changed out for childproof ones. We also added a box over one in Margot’s room so she couldn’t pull any of the plugs out.
Rugs and stair runner
Small rugs have rug pads to keep them from sliding. The runner on the stairs felt essential since Buddy and I both slipped on the stairs before it was installed.
What we put away/switched out
We don’t have any floor lamps. If we did, I’d put them away until my toddler was a little older. Our small martini tables have been put away since Margot could easily knock them over. We also switched out our coffee table for a soft, round ottoman. Consider coffee tables that are round or an upholstered ottoman. And I added these bumpers to the media cabinet in the playroom.
We keep our medicine on a top shelf in a hall closet. All bottles are child-proofed, too, so I’m not worried about those. The way our bathroom cabinets are built made them tricky to try to childproof, so we’re just careful. Keep tweezers, nail clippers, and anything sharp high up, or in a drawer with a safety latch.
I do not have links to the exact items Safety Matters used. I looked for similar items that made our home safe for our baby and toddler
Pressure Mounted Baby Gate
This is not the exact gate that we have, but it’s similar, and we’re very happy with this type of gate. It is what was recommended for the top of a staircase.
Retractable Baby Gate
We use retractable baby gates at the bottom of our staircases. These also work well in doorways to keep baby from going from room-to-room. We haven’t used them that way, but you can.
Magnetic Cabinet Locks
I have a love-hate relationship with cabinet locks. They kept my kids safe – we never had any issues with them. But they are a little annoying. The magnetic ones fit best under our sink and I suppose are slightly less annoying than the pressure ones, but you have to perfectly glide the magnet over the lock to release it, and it’s just a tiny bit annoying. Worth it and safe. And for what it’s worth (and I can be pretty scattered) we never lost the magnetic “key.” Not once.
I do like these, but one of them did get a little loose and wasn’t working too well by the time we moved. The drawer versions are a pain – I pinched my fingers a few times. No issues for the girls though, so they did the job.
Outlet cover box
I added this to the girls nurseries where we had a few cords plugged in and didn’t want them to pull them out. The standard plastic slider covers are great for mostly empty outlets or ones that are covered by furniture. But if you have a full, accessible outlet, I recommend getting one of these.
These are one of the most important things you’ll buy, and any piece of furniture that can fall on your small child is a potential hazard. Even if you choose not to officially babyproof, these are a must for any piece of furniture that could fall on your child should they choose to climb it.
Please keep in mind that I am not an expert, and you should always do your research and consult with experts to decide what is right for you. I follow the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics, had my home evaluated by a babyproofer, and talk to our pediatrician about what is best and safest for my children. I urge you to do the same.
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