These babyproofing steps and tips from experts will ensure your home is safe when your baby arrives.
Bringing baby home from the hospital is scary for first-time parents for many reasons, so baby proofing your home in the month before your due date will give you a little extra peace of mind. And you don’t even have to go crazy baby proofing the whole house; focus on the rooms where your child will be.
Courtney Ilarraza, co-founder of Baby Bodyguards, a full-service baby and child safety company in New York City, shares how to make your home safe for baby. Make sure baby-proofing items are Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association-certified, she advises. Also, you’ll want to register all items with the manufacturers to receive recalls, so avoid using any hand-me-downs.
Secure furniture to the walls.
This is the most important thing, Ilarraza says. Once drawers are pulled out, the weight is redistributed. When a toddler or child climbs into the drawers, the piece can topple.
Put padding on sharp corners.
“A lot of times parents have this misconception that [padding] should be around every edge,” Ilarraza says. “But it is really just the sharp corners that could cause a laceration if a toddler were to fall into it.”
Install sliding outlet plates.
When an appliance is unplugged, the outlet cover automatically slides into place. It’s aesthetically pleasing, you don’t have to remember to put an outlet cap back on, and the child can’t remove it.
Anchor the TV, either to the wall or the media stand.
The No. 1 thing is to anchor anything that could fall over onto your child, Ilarraza says, referring to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Anchor It campaign.
Put coat hooks on the wall near the entryway, if you don’t have a coat closet.
This keeps coats and bags out of baby’s reach, preventing him from finding choking hazards or medications.
Screw latches into drawers and cupboards containing dangerous items –
such as cleaning products and sharp objects. Though Ilarraza suggests leaving a latch off of one drawer or cubboard that contains child-friendly items such as tupperware.
Run cables and cords through a cable management box.
“All the bundles of wires that are a mess go into this box that then closes off, so it is not an eye sore and it also takes it away from the child’s attention,” Ilarraza says.
Wrap shade blind cords around a blind cleat.
Install hardware-mounted gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs.
“Never use a pressure-mounted gate on the top of the stairs,” Ilarraza advises—they aren’t as secure.
Stop using tablecloths –
when your toddler starts pulling herself up on things.
Rearrange bookshelves –
putting heaver items on bottom shelves and lighter items on higher shelves.
Install window guards –
if your windows can open more than 4 inches.
Make sure bannister and balcony slats are no more than 4 inches apart.
If they are, add slats in the spaces or install a guard on the inside, especially if the slats are horizontal, creating a ladder.
Put a child-proof knob cover on the bathroom door handle and other off-limits rooms –
to prevent the toddler from entering unattended. “We don’t believe in toilet locks, because it normally ends up being disabled by a grown-up at two in the morning, and there are much more dangerous things in the bathroom than the toilet,” Ilarraza cautions. “Make it so that a child couldn’t gain access to a bathroom without a grown-up.”
Set the hot water heater to 120 degrees or lower –
if you have access, preventing your toddler from being badly burned if he can reach the hot-water faucet.
Take an infant-child CPR and safety class with your partner.
You never know when you’ll need these skills that could save your child’s life.
Katelin Walling is the Editorial Director for NYMetroParents. She can often be found reading, knitting, or whipping up a vegan treat—all with a cup of coffee nearby.