An informative guide on how to baby proof your home before your bundle of joy becomes mobile and inquisitive, the ultimate baby-proofing house checklist.
When it comes to the safety of your baby, it is important to ensure your home has all the right measures in place.
You should add all the safety measures to your household before your little one starts to crawl because you can never be sure when your little one may encounter a hazardous situation.
Before bringing your infant home from the hospital you’ll want to ensure the house is already set up with safety measures in place. Experts recommend getting the house ready for the baby’s arrival three months before she comes home.
After the baby starts to crawl, you’ll want to keep adjusting the safety gear for your baby as they start to pull themselves up on the furniture, reach higher places (think countertops and loose knives) and even start to climb on furniture.
Keeping up with the baby proofing can be a challenge, but if you put the right measures in place before the arrival of your new bundle of joy, you can ensure that the most hazardous items in your home are taken care of.
While it won’t be until 6 months or so until your baby starts getting curious, there are tasks that need to be completed to keep your newborn safe.
You aren’t just checking for things that could be a direct risk but things that could be hazardous to you while you are holding the baby in your arms.
Using this handy baby proofing house checklist, you’ll be able to ensure there are no wobbly pieces of furniture, unsecured dangerous goods or slippery floors in your home before the baby arrives.
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Why It Is Important To Baby Proof
Simply put: babies are curious.
This is the reason it is so important to baby proof your home. Babies will put everything and anything in their mouth, will tug and pull on anything they can get their hands on and will try to pull themselves up on anything they can find.
The really important things to remember when we are baby proofing our homes for infants is that small objects are a huge choking hazard, anything that has a long string or rope can get tied around the babies neck easily and it is very important to ensure nothing will fall on our precious babies heads when they start to crawl and walk around the home by themselves (like furniture, sharp knives or TV’s).
A baby gate to keep curious babies out of dangerous rooms is definitely a good start to keeping your baby safe but there are a few more things you can do to ensure your baby does not hurt themselves at home.
Our curious little babies need all the help they can get to stay safe, even in our home which is why it is imperative that we take serious action and baby proof all areas of our home, and we start the process before the baby arrives.
When To Start Baby-Proofing The House
You should start baby proofing your home 3 months before the arrival of your newborn. This way if the baby is arriving earlier than expected, everything in your home is ready for her.
By the time your little bundle of joy arrives in your home, you’ll be exhausted and baby proofing will be the farthest thing from your mind, which is why it is so important to get the safety stuff out of the way nice and early.
You’ll also want some time to get used to being around the baby safety items in your home and get familiar with using them.
The last thing you want to do is get stuck with a newborn in your arms and not being able to open the baby gate because it was recently installed. This puts you in a dangerous situation and could be avoided if the baby proofing was finished ahead of time.
Before you get super overwhelmed with all the information and to-do’s of baby safety preparation, keep in mind that you have time to get these things finished.
Even if you are in your last trimester and are starting to lose it with overwhelm and panic, don’t worry, you still have time.
And even if your baby just arrived and you totally forgot to prepare your home for baby, fear not, you can still get your home safe. Don’t forget to ask for some of these important items for your baby shower, so you can save some money there.
Whether you’re ahead of time prepper or a last-minute sally, the important thing is to get the baby proofing finished as soon as possible which is really helpful when you have a baby proofing house checklist to refer to.
By the way, the newborn safety prep is pretty simple and takes hardly any time at all, so we hope this puts your mind at ease somewhat.
What You Need To Baby Proof Your Home (Baby Proofing House Checklist)
You’ll need to baby-proof every room in your home and each of these areas and this is the complete list of items gadgets and gear which you will need to get your home safe and sound.
- Baby Gates
- Safety Latches For Cabinets
- Door Knob covers
- Outlet Covers
- Blind Cord Wraps
- Safety Brackets For Tall Furniture
- Corner Protectors
- Fire Extinguisher
- Car Seat
- Sun Shades
While the safety gear that you’ll need to purchase to ensure a safe home for your newborn is helpful, there are a few more things you’ll need to do in addition to placing these items around your home. You DIY some baby proofing as well, however, your efforts may not be up to safety standards, so we do advise against it.
Store Away Any Dangerous Goods
Keep cleaning supplies, knives and blades, heavy objects and other dangerous goods stored away and out of baby’s reach.
Opt in for storing your cleaning supplies in a higher cupboard and your knife block in the far corner of the kitchen, tucked away and out of sight.
Secure Plastic Bags
All plastic bags like the ones from the grocery store as well as ziplock bags are a chocking hazzard for your baby and they should be placed out of reach.
A great plastic bag storage solution is this sleek and stylish wall mounted dispenser which you can tuck away neatly in your pantry. Make your life more organized and keep your baby safe at the same time.
Be sure to put away all aluminum foil and plastic wrap nice and high also which can be achieved with a dispenser like this.
Hot Food And Drink Safety
Keep any and all hot drinks away form your baby by not holding a hot drink or food item in your hand while you are holding your newborn.
When putting your hot drinks down, be sure to keep them away from the edge to prevent the drink from falling off the counter and potentially burning you or the baby and causing a serious accident.
Electrical Cord Management
You’ll want to secure any and all electrical cords that can be seen and easily accessed by a crawling baby.
Ensure your smoke detectors are working well and change the batteries. It’s important to change the batteries in your smoke detector once every six months, but once the baby arrives, you won’t be thinking about these things which is why you need to ensure you have that taken care of before your bundle of joy comes home.
Ensure you have a working fire extinguisher (or a couple) around your home and that you and all other members of the family know how to use it.
Fire Escape Plan
Make a fire escape plan for your family so everyone is aware what the procedure is if a fire ever breaks out.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
A lifesaving device you should have in your home whether you have a newborn or not is a carbon monoxide detector.
Be sure to replace the batteries twice a year.
Now is the time to store away your candles or at least place them on higher shelves that the baby will not be able to reach when she starts to crawl around.
A baby may try to eat the candle wax which is not healthy (for anyone) and you’ll want to be sure that this hazard is avoided by putting those candles away. You’ll be bale to use your candles again one day, don’t worry!
It is quite easy for a child to accidentally light a match up so be sure to put away all lighters and matches too!
If you have firearms at home, ensure they are safely locked up and not accessible to children in any way.
If you can, store your firearms in a different location outside the home, as children are curious little creatures who will find everything they aren’t supposed to find.
Secure Heavy Furniture
Any and all furniture in your home should be secured to the wall when you have a new baby on the way.
Dressers and TV’s have been known to be fatal for babies, and you can use brackets to secure these to the wall.
If you have stairs, you must have baby gates at the top and at the bottom of the stairs.
You’re going to want a baby gate that is easy to open. There will be many sleepless nights where you may be holding the baby and trying to get down the stairs and the last thing you need is a gate that is tough to open.
If you have plants at home, research if they are poison if ingested (like a cactus) and if they are, keep them away from the baby.
Believe it or not, having the water heater turned up too high is very dangerous and could burn your baby by accident when you’re preparing them a bath. Prevent that from happening by making sure your water heater is turned down to a reasonable temperature.
Keep all small items out of reach of your baby such as lego, crayons, pen caps, buttons etc to prevent chocking.
Everyone loves a party and balloons are super fun! However, if a balloon pops and you forget to clean it up right away, your baby could choke on the latex material.
If you are worried about the chemicals in cleaning supplies, you can switch to natural, non chemical and environmentally friendly cleaners. This is a great way to keep everyone in your home safe from toxic chemicals and not have to worry about the baby getting into your bleach collection.
Still be careful about cleaning supplies, even if they are natural and organic, keep those away from baby.
Glass furniture is very dangerous for babies and many injuries can be avoided if glass furniture is not a part of your home.
Even the most expensive and sturdy glass tables can break and if your crawling baby decides to sit on the glass part of a table it could shatter, leaving the baby with scars for life.
Avoid this emergency trip to the doctor and avoid having glass furniture.
Be sure to secure lamps to the wall, especially the tall free standing lamps as they could fall and the bulb could shatter and hurt the baby.
Cabinet drawers and doors should be secured with special latches which can help prevent little fingers from getting pinched.
Every household is different and therefore you’ll have to find the latches that work best for your home.
Keep the pet food out of reach and avoid choking injuries! It’s a good idea to get your pet on a feeding schedule before baby arrives and avoid the free feeding technique where the food is out at all times.
Also your little one may mix the food and water together as a fun and messy science experiment, and well we don’t need to tell you that this is just a mess you’ll want to avoid as long as you can.
Art And Photos
Ensure that any and all art and photos are secured to the walls and that a slammed door will not be able to bring down anything off the wall.
If a photo falls off the wall it can shatter if the frame has glass in it, and harm your baby.
Babies put everything in their mouths, and that includes paint if they find some peeling off the wall.
Secure your home by ensuring all the paint in your home is in good condition and repaint if needed.
TV Remote (And Other Battery Operated Devices)
Often TV remotes do not have a battery compartment that requires a screw to open and this makes a TV remote dangerous for your baby.
If the baby can slide open the remote control battery compartment and gets a hold of the batteries this can be fatal. Most remotes also use smaller batteries such as AAA which are much easier for the baby to put into their mouths and swallow.
If a baby swallows a battery, go to the emergency immediately.
If you are not mounting your TV to the wall, be sure to secure your TV to the wall with safety straps.
This life skill is very important and infant CPR is different than regular CPR. Be sure to take a class before baby arrives so you are well prepared for saving your baby in all sorts of emergency situations.
How To Baby Proof The Kitchen
When it comes to baby proofing your home, the kitchen does require extra special attention. Thankfully for us, there are many items available for purchase than can help you ensure those hazards are no longer a threat to your baby.
It’s a good rule of thumb to never leave your baby alone to play in the kitchen. Even though you may have baby proofed to the teeth, there are always hazards that you may have overlooked and a baby by themseves in the kitchen is a terrible thing.
If you need to cook a meal and you need the baby to be out of the way, use a play yard, a high chair, a bumbo or some other form of entertainment for your baby to be in while you prepare the meal.
You could also opt in for a baby carrier, so you can cook with your hands and still have the baby on your chest, but be sure to keep hot foods away from baby.
All stoves these days have safety latches created for them, so no matter what kind of stove you have, you should be able to find stove knob covers.
Kids sure do love to play with buttons, especially ones that push and turn, so it is very important that you find covers for these.
If you need to, remove the knobs and store them in a nearby drawer when not in use.
Store all knives out of baby’s reach. A far dark corner of your kitchen counter is a great place for your knife block or as an additional measure you could store your knives in an upper cabinet in the kitchen.
When you are cooking a meal, be sure to start using the back burners more often than te front burners. It could be a horrible thing o have your baby stand up and reach for the handle of the pan that is on the front burner and spill hot food all over themselves, scarring them for life.
You’ll also want to avoid holding the baby while cooking, this is not the same as baby wearing while cooking because baby wearing ensures the baby’s arms are tucked away.
Take a look at your dinner table and make sure that it is sturdy and strong. If you’re going to have a highchair that clips onto the table, you’ll want to be sure you have a strong table that can handle that kind of pressure.
You’ll also need to not have table cloths that hang off the sides of the table to ensure the baby doesn’t pull on the cloth and take down all the items from the table and onto the floor.
Keep your garbage can locked up or latched up so your kids are tempted to go through the garbage. Small pieces and general garbage is certainly a hazard for any baby, child or human being.
Keep your refrigerator latched up too so you can stop your little one from playing with food in the fridge or eating something they aren’t supposed to eat.
You can also lock the dishwasher when it is not in use. While on the subject of dishwashers, keep the detergent far out of reach of your child. Too many children go to the emergency room year after year due to the consumption of detergent because that is an item that parents often forget to lock away.
You’ll also want to have the microwave safely tucked away out of babies reach. Children can push buttons and accidentally activate the microwave which could cause a dangerous fire, or burn your child.
If you have magnets holding up family photos on your refrigerator, be sure to take off any of the really small magnets that could be a chocking hazard for your baby.
Even if you do place them high, magnets can fall off and fridge and hide in a spot where only your baby can see and this is very dangerous.
You could purchase baby safe magnets for your fridge, but it’s best you don’t use them until baby is a touch older to ensure none of the magnets fall out of the plastic shelling and become a chocking hazard for your little one.
These are some simple things you can do to keep your baby safe in the kitchen.
How To Baby Proof The Bathroom
The bathroom is full of dangers and is known to be one of the most hazardous rooms in your home and it is imperative that you make sure it is safe for your baby.
You can keep the baby out of the bathroom by installing a lock on the outside of the door or by placing a plastic cover over the door knob.
NEVER LEAVE YOUR BABY UNATTENDED IN THE BATH
That is one of the most important things to remember about bathroom safety and all water safety in general. Babies cannot be left alone in the bath, even they can sit up on their own.
If you are giving your baby a bath in the big tub in the bathroom, you’ll need a tub spout cover and a floating thermometer to check the temperature of the water. You don’t want the baby to bump their head on the tub spout and also you do not want the baby to get burnt by the bathwater. Both of these items are safety essentials for the bathroom.
You’ll probably really enjoy not having to deal with a slippery tub too.
Curious babies may also want to try to play in the toilet water in your toilet which is unhygienic and also dangerous due to the fact the baby can drown in the toilet water, so be sure to add these toilet seat locks to all the toilets in your home and remember to keep the toilet seat down when not in use.
Ensure that the screw covers on the toilet are not loose as they are a choking hazard (and also a biohazard) for your little one.
Keep your medicine and cosmetics locked up and up high as well as any scissors, razor blades, tweezers, nail clippers and other sharp objects!
This includes any and all vitamins and supplements as they can be very dangerous for babies.
Don’t forget to hide the mouthwash, it has more alcohol than some wine’s and is very very dangerous.
Keep your hair dryer, curling iron, flat iron and any other accessory unplugged and put away to prevent burns.
Lat but not least, you’ll want to lock up the bathroom cabinet with a baby latch that fits your needs best, or keep that cabinet empty of any and all dangerous items. Perhaps it is best suited for towels instead of hair dryers and makeup if you cannot find a latch.
How To Baby Proof The Nursery
Your baby will spend a lot of time in the nursery and you’ll want to be one step ahead of your mischievous baby at all times.
You’ll want to have a video camera monitor set up in the nursery so you can keep an eye on all the shenanigans that go in there while you’re away, but there are a few other safety measures you should take when setting up a safe nursery.
One of the essentials on our baby proofing house checklist is a video baby monitor that you’ll use when your little one newborn and just comes home from the hospital. You can purchase a baby monitor that monitors breathing, room temperature and more.
These baby gadgets can put your mind at ease and help you not worry about your baby as they sleep alone in their new room.
You’ll want to place the crib in a safe place which means away from windows and heaters. Keep the decorations around the crib to a minimum as you do not want your baby playing with loose wall decorations when you are not looking and you’ll also want to ensure nothing can fall on the baby while he sleeps.
Make sure that blind cords are far away from reach from the baby while in the crib and out of the crib, and just tucked away in general.
Keep other furniture away from the crib as well so your baby cannot use it to climb in and out of bed! Your little one may become quite adventurous and as much as you want to promote independence you have to ensure the safety of the baby first.
Leave the crib on the lowest setting when the baby is starting to get mobile to prevent the baby from climbing out the crib for as long as possible. Some adventure seeking babes start to climb out around 18 months!
When your baby is a newborn be sure to keep the crib free of all crib bumpers, pillows, and plush toys.
All the baby needs is a mattress, a mattress cover or sheet, and a nice sleeper. If you want the baby to have a blanket you can purchase a sleep sack that is safe for the baby and will not ride up on the baby’s face while he sleeps.
Sleep experts also advise that baby goes to sleep on their back and not on the side or front to prevent SIDS.
When choosing the perfect crib for your nursery you’ll want to avoid drop-side cribs as they have been proven to pose safety issues in the past and you’ll want to be sure that the crib you choose follows current safety standards.
Ensure all furniture in the nursery is secured to the wall. Since the baby is spending a lot of time in their room they may want to explore and play in there and that includes climbing furniture.
Easily prevent the falling of the furniture by securing it to the wall.
Make sure all toys are safe for your baby and they do not have any small plastic parts or ribbons that the baby can remove and potentially choke on. Remove any unsafe toys and toys that may have long strings as baby can get wrapped up and accidentally choke themselves.
Be sure to keep the baby wipes and other supplies out of reach of the baby when you are not changing diapers.
A less spoken about nursery must-have is a soft rug. Place a rug under the changing table and if the baby ever rolls over the safety rail of the table, the rug can be a life saver.
While you are changing the baby, strap the baby to the change mat to prevent the baby from falling off of the change table and never leave the baby unattended.
How To Baby Proof The Backyard
The backyard is definitely part of your home and you should be sure it is safe for your baby if you plan on spending any time outside.
If you have a family pool there are a few very important things to keep in mind such as adding a fence around the pool and putting the cover on to prevent accidental falling in. Even a watchful parent can have a toddler fall into the pool and have a serious accident as it takes mere seconds for an accident like this to happen.
If you have a pool that is filled and emptied on a regular basis, empty it when it is not in use to prevent accidental drowning.
Never ever leave your baby unattended around a pool, and if you are around make sure you’re not glued to a screen and give the baby your full attention because it takes a split second for a horrible accident to happen.
It is a good idea to have a special place for all your gardening tools that you can lock up, such as a shed or a lockable garage so that you can be sure your little one doesn’t play with gardening tools. This baby proofing goes beyond the baby stage, you’ll want to be sure small children are safe playing in your yard at all ages and stages.
On sunny days, be sure to practice proper sun safety for your baby and keep your baby in the shade as much as possible. Use sunscreen if you are in the shade or not, those UV rays are harmful.
Be sure your deck is not full of splintering wood and dangerous nails before placing your baby to play freely on it.
Create a kid safe area with baby friendly toys that don’t contain small parts such as water tables and sprinklers.
How To Baby Proof The Car
The car isn’t in your home, but you’ll need to baby proof it too!
The first thing you’ll need to do before your baby even arrives home from the hospital is to install the car seat correctly. Having the car seat installed incorrectly can be deadly if there is any sort of altercation with your vehicle and a fragile newborn cannot withstand any sort of turbulence.
Once your baby does come home from the hospital it is important to NEVER leave the baby alone in the car. It doesn’t matter if you need five minutes in the bank or running in to grab some formula, take the baby with you.
It’s hard sometimes, but you must bring the baby with you all the time. Do not leave the baby in the car.
Each car should have rear child locks built it, be sure to engage them so that when your child is big enough to reach the handle they cannot open the car door while you are driving.
You should also have some window locks in the backseat and it’s a good idea to keep those engaged as well. You don’t want the baby to throw anything out of the window or lose a hat due to wind.
When you are taking a grocery trip, be sure to store all plastic bags and loose items away from your baby as they can easily grab these items while you are driving and you won’t notice. Prevent infant death by being extra careful with what the baby can grab in it’s surroundings.
If you have loose seat belts, ensure they are secured. Any loose seat belts could be a strangulation hazard.
You’ll also want to ensure that you never leave the keys in the car, just as you would never leave your baby alone in the car. Toddlers are extra curious and if they are left alone in the car with a set of keys, they can accidentally start driving it, causing damage to themselves, your vehicle and others around them.
Remember that baby proofing is something that you’ll want to keep adjusting as time goes on and it’s not a one and done thing.
You also don’t need to baby proof everything at once, different stages of your babies life will require different kinds of baby proofing.
This is a great list to ensure you have at least 90% of the baby proofing done. Each home is different so you’ll need to go over your own space and ensure you got all the rooms taken care of.
If you need a quick refresher for all the things you need to purchase for your home, I’ve made a handy graphic for you to easily refer to. Print it out or save it to your phone for easy access.