Baby proofing checklist

The ultimate baby proofing checklist

Newborns are so small and helpless that it’s difficult to see how they will ever become mobile. But in as little as a couple of months from bringing that tiny newborn home from the hospital, you may find your baby has morphed into a crawling machine who is into everything. Don’t worry we’ve got you covered with our baby proofing checklist.

If you are unsure where to start, think like a curious little one, eager to explore the world. Get down on all fours and see what is in reach.

Some rooms may be hard to baby proof like a cluttered study with lots of knick knacks and electronics. For these rooms it might be easier to gate the room off or simply shut the door.  Once your child gets a bit older, you can put a doorknob handle cover on the door handle so they can’t get into the room.

We also love the idea of creating “yes” spaces – safe spaces where your child can be left to freely explore. The following video explains how to create “yes” spaces.

 

 

Baby proofing the nursery

Infographic baby proofing the nursery

How to baby proof the nursery:

  • Cover all electrical outlets with babyproofing outlet covers. You might want to avoid plug covers on frequently used outlets as they are a pain to pull on and off.
  • If you have electricals in the nursery  and you are concerned about your little one pulling on the cords, consider installing some wire concealers to hide the cords.
  • Anchor furniture (such as drawers) and heavy change tables to the wall.
  • Remove all crib mobiles.
  • Make sure the baby monitor and the cord are placed well out of reach.
  • Install child safety locks on drawers to prevent little fingers from getting crushed. The locks will also prevent them using the drawers to climb.
  • Ensure any blind cords are tied up out of baby’s reach as they can become a strangulation hazard.
  • Buy your crib from a reputable source to be sure it does not contain lead paint. Some babies and toddlers when teething will chew on the wood potentially exposing them to this harmful paint.
  • If you are using a second hand crib, be sure it meets the CPSC’s crib safety guidelines. For example, there should be no more than 2 3/8 inches (about the width of a soda can) between crib slats so a baby’s body cannot fit through the slats. You can also use the CPSC’s website to see if your crib has been recalled.
  • Move the crib away from the window and put window guards on the window if there is a possibility that your child could fall out.
  • Make sure any heavy items such as wall paintings are not hanging over the crib.
  • Keep any baby lotions (such as diaper rash ointment) out of reach.
  • Remove any small items in the room that could be a choking hazard.

Pro safety tip for the nursery:

If your baby or toddler is a squirmer when getting their diaper changed, it might be easier to take the change pad off the top of the change table and put it on the floor. Yes you’ll need to get down on the floor for every diaper change but there will be no risk of your child falling off a high change table.  

Baby proofing the bathroom

Baby proofing the bathroom checklist

How to baby proof the bathroom:

  • Cover all electrical outlets with babyproofing outlet covers. 
  • Ensure any medications (including vitamins) are kept out of reach or better still, put them in a lock box.
  • Remove cleaning products like bleach from any cupboards your baby could possibly reach.
  • Put child safety strap locks on low cupboards and drawers or keep sharp items, such as razors and nail cutting scissors out of reach.
  • Install a child safety lock on the toilet seat to prevent curious little ones from opening the toilet lid. Believe it or not, the small amount of water in toilet bowls can pose a drowning risk to small children. It is also no fun fishing your phone out of the toilet bowl.
  • Remove the toilet bowl cleaner from the toilet rim.
  • Keep the toilet brush out of reach. Nothing is more appealing to a crawling baby than something that makes you cringe just thinking about them touching.
  • Put child safety strap locks on the bathroom bin.
  • Never leave a hair straightener or curling iron switched on while your baby is in the bathroom or you are distracted. A baby could easily pull the cord and get a nasty burn.
  • Remove clutter from the top of cabinets such as makeup and toothpaste.
  • Get a non slip mat for both the bathroom floor and the bathtub.
  • Get a soft faucet cover for the bath to protect your baby bumping their head or back against the faucet.
  • Reduce the thermostat  on your hot water heater to below 120 F. Also, the bath water temperature for your baby should be around 100 F.

Pro safety tips for the bathroom:

Always empty the tub as soon as you are done with the bath.

Never leave your baby unattended in the bath.  Young children can drown in only a few inches of water.  You might also want to consider learning CPR.

Baby proofing the kitchen

Infographic baby proofing the kitchen

How to baby proof the kitchen:

The easiest way to keep young kids safe in the kitchen is to keep them out!  From hot ovens and stoves to appliances they can pull over onto themselves, the kitchen can be a  minefield for little ones. In reality there are going to be plenty of times when you are going to need to be in the kitchen and a curious little one is likely to want to follow you. Consider keeping them contained in a playpen or baby walker to keep them out of mischief. Alternatively you could just use a baby gate to restrict access to the kitchen. If that is not possible, it’s time to:

  • Cover all electrical outlets with babyproofing outlet covers. 
  • Keep cords for appliances such as the toaster out of reach so that your baby can’t pull it on themselves.
  • Put covers on stove knobs.
  • Put a stove guard on the front of the stove to stop your child pulling hot pans and pots on themselves.
  • Install cabinet locks on any kitchen cabinets that your little one could possibly reach.
  • Put locks on the trash can.
  • Put table guards on any items of furniture with sharp edges such as countertops and table corners.
  • Install a heat resistant oven door lock on the oven.
  • Ensure any household cleaners, dishwashing liquid and dishwasher tablets are stored out of reach.
  • Remember to keep hot drinks and food away from the corners of the table etc. where a toddler can easily pull it down on themselves
  • Anchor the fridge.
  • Keep fridge magnets up high on the fridge.
  • Keep a list of important medical contacts on the fridge that you can refer to in an emergency, such as the  Poison Help hotline  at 1-800-222-1222.
  • Make sure plastic bags are kept out of reach as they pose a suffocation risk.

Pro safety tips for the kitchen:

When cooking, only use the backburners of your stove, if you are not using a stove guard. If you must use the front burners, be sure to turn the pot handles so that they face towards the back of stove.

If you are using a table cloth, make sure there are no overhanding edges that your baby can pull on.

Don’t take away all their fun! Keep some baby appropriate objects in a low drawer that they can get into – objects like pots and pans and a wooden spoon will keep them entertained and hopefully out of mischief.

Baby proofing the living room

Infographic baby proofing the living room

How to baby proof the living room:

  • Cover all electrical outlets with babyproofing outlet covers. 
  • Put corner table guards on any items of furniture with sharp edges such as coffee tables.
  • Anchor furniture to the wall.
  • Anchor TV to the wall.
  • Keep TV remotes out of reach. Small children tend to be fascinated by remotes because they see adults using them so often. However the batteries in the remotes can be easily removed by little fingers and then become a choking hazard. And of course few things are more annoying than reaching for the remote  only to find that the baby has lost it somewhere.
  • Gate off the fireplace.
  • Hide any cords behind furniture so that your baby can’t pull on them. Alternatively invest in some hide-a-cord devices.
  • Keep any unstable items (such as lamps) that your baby could pull over, out of reach.

Baby proofing the playroom / older siblings’ play spaces

If you have older kids, they will likely have a lot of toys that pose a risk to their smaller siblings. A small child can easily choke on Lego pieces for example. The batteries in toys can also be swallowed.

Even stuffed toys can be a problem if they have pieces like eyes or ribbons that your baby can pull off and potentially choke on. If you have a dedicated playroom or play space for older siblings, it might be easier to just gate it off  rather than rely on older kids to pick up after themselves.

General baby proofing tips for keeping your little one safe

  • Keep firearms unloaded and locked away.
  • If you have stairs in your house, put baby gates at both the bottom and top of the stairs. The baby gates should remain until your child can either confidentially climb stairs by themselves, or learns to climb over the gates.
  • If you have a backyard, pay attention to anything that could pose a risk to young children. It goes without saying that pools should be fenced. Toddler wading pools should be emptied when not in use. Hot tubs should be covered when not in use.  Also remember to remove any poisonous plants from the backyard.

Baby proofing FAQs

Why is baby proofing important?

It’s normal for a young child to be curious about their environment. It is also vital for their development to be able to explore their surroundings. It is how they learn after all. The problem is, they have no sense of danger and don’t understand consequences. While supervising your child is of course very important, it is impossible to keep eyes on them all the time. That’s why it is necessary to create  safe surroundings for them. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to baby proof the whole house. Removing hazards in the rooms they will use most will suffice if you can block off other rooms with baby gates etc. or simply shut the door. In other words, do what works for you and your family.

Is baby proofing really necessary?

There are 2 schools of thought on this. Some parents decide to get the whole house baby proofed and would cover all items on our baby proofing checklist. This gives them piece of mind that their child is as safe as possible in their home. However it can be pretty annoying to live in a fully baby proofed house.

Some parents take the minimalist approach and only do a little baby proofing.  At a bare minimum though, you should:

  • block of any stairs;
  • put medications and poisons out of reach;
  • cover electrical outlets;
  • secure furniture to the wall; and
  • ensure the rooms they will use the most are as safe as possible.

It is also worth keeping in mind that some children are just naturally more curious than others – these are the kids that will be into everything. If your baby is very chill, you might not have to go as far with baby proofing as a parent with an adventurous child.

What age should I start baby proofing?

It’s never too early to at least start to think about baby proofing, even before you bring the baby home. But by the time your baby starts to show signs of  crawling (usually around the 8 months mark – but sometimes earlier) you should have a decent plan in place.

When can you remove baby proofing?

It really depends on the child. Ideally your baby proofing efforts should not be removed until your child can listen and understand danger. If you have stairs, the baby gates should not be removed until the child can safely climb and descend the stairs without assistance. Many kids learn to open the gates or simply climb over them, in which case they are probably more dangerous than not having them at all.

How do I baby proof a Christmas tree?

It is not hard to figure out why the Christmas tree is so enticing to curious little people. Check out our How to baby proof a Christmas Tree article for some ideas on how to keep your tree intact.

Final thoughts

Baby proofing definitely takes some work and can honestly be a pain to live with. While nothing can replace parental supervision in keeping a child safe, making your home as safe as possible will  give you peace of mind during those times when your attention is diverted.

It also helps to remember that this period of time is just a phase and before you know it, your child will have a much better understanding of danger.

Free printable baby proofing checklist

Don’t forget to download our free Room by room baby proofing checklist.

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