There are many resources for babyproofing your home, and this list is by no means exhaustive. But these babyproofing basics can help you get started, or provide a great punch list for a Tasker who can do it all for you.
When is the right time to get started with babyproofing your home?
Anytime between finding out that you’re pregnant and when the baby starts sitting up on their own and can pull themselves up on furniture–but definitely by the time they are crawling. Once they’re mobile, you will feel more comfortable knowing you’ve taken precautions to keep them safe.
Babyproofing basics: Living spaces
Mount/secure to the wall all furniture that your baby may attempt to pull up on or climb, including but not limited to:
- Entertainment centers
- Tall lamps
- Bar stools
- Freestanding coat rack
- Bar cart
- Any exposed musical instruments
- Any sculptures or reachable heavy artwork
Also consider securing extension cords, long cables, and any other wiring (often TV or WIFI-related) that is floor level or low down so that the baby doesn’t get tangled up once they’re on the move.
Window safety guards and/or safety bars are important particularly if you have older windows that open widely. It may not be possible for you to get cordless window shades/blinds, so the next best thing is to mount hooks around which you can wrap the cords. You may want to consider proactively removing the cord’s pulls, which can become a choking hazard if loosened.
It is the personal preference of some parents to create a safe, contained area where the baby can hang out by setting up gates within or between rooms. But it is essential to install gates across stairways, at the top and at the bottom. The safest gates are secured with screws to the adjacent walls.
Babyproofing basics: Kitchen
Babies will become interested in kitchen apprenticeship before you know it! To prepare:
- You can move pots, pans, Tupperware, plastic spoons, measuring cups, and other objects ripe for acoustic drumming to lower drawers and cabinets where babies can safely explore.
- You should move up and away plastic bags, plastic wrap, rubber bands, sharp knives, scissors, glassware–and other objects you don’t want the baby getting their hands on.
If you have a pantry closet or cupboard, the items stored there may be tempting to curious babies since they often represent many different shapes and colors.
- Move anything breakable or heavy up high, such as glass containers.
- Ensure that containers storing pasta, nuts, or other choking hazards are out of reach.
Your baby may take an interest in the contents of your fridge and freezer.
- Make sure alcohol and other substances, such as medicine, are out of reach.
- If your condiments in glass containers are currently stored on lower shelves, swap their places with plastic bottles or containers that are harmless if your baby gets into them.
Other kitchen tips include:
- Keep the dishwasher locked–once a baby can reach the buttons, they may enjoy starting and stopping it, or pulling down the door and sitting on it
- Keep utensils pointed down in the dishwasher to prevent the baby from grabbing the sharp part of a knife or even a fork
- Lock the oven door and knobs of your stove if possible
- Put latches on cabinets where you don’t want the baby going through contents
- Consider your options for keeping your baby away from your pet’s bowls–such as bowls that are baby-safe, or moving the bowls into a gated area. Same goes for pet toys–do an audit for any that you wouldn’t want your baby getting its mouth on!
Babyproofing basics: Bathroom
Securing diaper pail
Even if they look like they’re having a good time, it’s really not so cute when you see your baby toting around a dirty diaper that they’ve excavated from the diaper bin. A latch for the diaper pail can prevent this! Many diaper pails have locks already, but an extra layer of babyproofing will offer a deterrent. Same goes for other garbage bins.
Toilets are similarly tempting to small hands; while you can train your baby to not go fishing in the bowl, you can more easily secure it with a latch.
Non-slip bath mats are a safety precaution for the whole family, but especially for your baby. Some parents choose to put a covering on the tub faucet to protect the baby from hitting their head on it as they become more active during bath time.
While these are most commonly found in the bathroom, your storage situation may require you to distribute where you keep toxic or dangerous items (bathroom, kitchen, garage, linen closet). Move items to an out of reach location, if possible secured with a latch. For example:
- Cleaning supplies
- Nail polish remover
- Rubbing alcohol
Babyproofing basics: Outdoor space
It’s a good precaution to put gates in any exterior door frame if you go come and go frequently or like to leave the door open for fresh air (such as a porch or terrace). If you have a backyard, make sure your gates are secured. If you have a pool, the best practice is to surround it with a fence with a latch that the baby can’t reach.
It’s wonderful if you have flora and fauna in your outdoor space but if you don’t want your baby to, say, pluck all the growing veggies in your garden beds, you can use gardening wire to create a barrier to keep the baby away from more delicate greenery.
While, not an exhaustive list, hopefully, this will give you a great running start to trying to keep up with your baby! IKEA has affordable starter kits to put the suggestions here into action. Ready to get started? Get babyproofing help.