When babies start crawling, they can get into all sorts of trouble. Aside from creating messes, they can hurt themselves. That’s why it’s important to babyproof a home before a child begins to explore.
The process of babyproofing can take time, effort, as well as a financial investment. But the payoff is huge — you’ll be able to relax, knowing that your little one will be able to crawl — and eventually walk — around your home without getting hurt.
If tackling your entire home all at once seems daunting, don’t stress. What follows is a simple, step-by-step babyproofing checklist that will help you turn your home into a safe haven for your little one.
Put Up Gates
If you don’t have doors throughout your home, you’ll want to install baby gates.
Baby gates that can be screwed into a banister, wall, or door frame are the most secure. But pressure-mounted gates can be a good alternative if you live in a rental and don’t want to put holes in any walls.
Some gates allow parents to step through, while others swing open. When looking for baby gates, it’s a good idea to seek out the ones that are the top-rated for safety and the most convenient for your home. For instance, you might get frustrated if you have to constantly step over a gate, so a swinging gate could be a better fit.
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Buy a Hexagon Play Yard
When you can’t constantly watch your baby, you can put your little one in a hexagon “play yard” with toys and comfort items.
The panels can also be used to block off certain rooms or areas of a room.
However, keep in mind that as your child grows and develops, they may be able to move the play yard or climb over the panels.
Cover the Outlets
Another part of a babyproofing checklist is covering all the outlets in your home.
The easiest option is to push heavy furniture in front of outlets so your baby can’t get to them. But if that’s not possible, you can buy plug-in plastic covers, outlet shields, or sliding plate covers.
Remember to also get power strip covers and electrical cord covers so your baby can’t play with those either.
Babyproof the Doors
Babyproofing doors is important so that babies can’t get into certain rooms or get their fingers jammed in doors.
To babyproof doors, you can install door knob covers, which are rounded, plastic covers that are too hard for babies to squeeze in order to turn the knobs.
You can also use a door strap, which will keep babies out of a room but allow small pets in.
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Put Away Heavy Objects
If young children pick up a heavy object, they could drop it and break it or, worse, hurt themselves.
A major part of a babyproof checklist is putting away heavy objects that could injure your child. These objects could go in a closet or another room. It doesn’t matter where they go, as long as they are out of baby’s reach.
Install Latches on Drawers
One key part of babyproofing a home is to make sure that children can’t get into drawers and cabinets where dangerous objects like knives are stored.
Parents have a few options for babyproofing cabinets and drawers. You can use slide locks for double door cabinets, which tie adjacent knobs together. Or, you might opt for magnetic locks, which go in drawers and cabinets and require a key to unlock them.
Other options include: adhesive strap locks (which use heavy-duty, removable adhesive) and spring-action locks (which unlock when parents open a drawer and hold down on the lock at the same time).
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Remove Choking Hazards
If you have more than one child, there could be little toys around the house or other objects that are choking hazards for your baby.
You can store these objects in a safe spot and instruct your older kids to do the same. For instance, an older child could have a special trunk where they put all their toys when the baby is around.
Keep Chemicals Locked Up
Before having a baby, you may have kept household cleaners and bug spray underneath the sink.
Now, when babyproofing, you’ll need to put a lock on the cabinet where these chemicals are stored and/or install a gate to keep your baby far away from them.
A number of household substances must, by law, have child-resistant packaging. Still, one look around the average home shows potential dangers, including perhaps colorful single-load laundry detergent pods and dishwashing liquid.
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Use Corner Guards
Installing corner guards is an essential babyproofing step. Corner guards, which may prevent a bad bruise or eye injury, can be used on sharp corners of wooden desks, glass tables, and metal fireplace hearths.
Some corner guards are made of high-density foam; others from silicone rubber. They come in different colors and may include double-stick tape for easy installation.
Babyproof Window Blinds
Cords attached to window coverings are a strangling hazard for babies. Ideally, you’ll want to switch any corded window treatments for cordless options. If that’s not possible, your next best option is to shorten the cords, attach plastic covers to the ends, and secure them to the wall with a tie-down device, or cleat. Cord cleats should be installed at least 5 feet above a floor, where a baby can’t reach.
Secure Furniture to the Wall
Babies start to become very curious when they roam around the house. They may push furniture and try to move it. Every year children are injured in tip-overs of TVs, tables, dressers, and bookcases, some fatally. This is why all furniture they have access to should be secured to walls.
It’s important to secure furniture not only in the living and dining room but also in the nursery. Pay special attention to the baby’s bookshelf and dresser.
Once babies start to crawl and even walk, they could slip and fall on rugs. A good way to avoid mishaps is to make rugs immovable by placing nonskid rug pads underneath them.
Double-sided carpet tape can also be used to keep down any slight upturns on the edges and corners of the rugs.
Block or Babyproof Stairs
Babies tend to love stairs, but of course stairs can be dangerous. You can block stairs off with a baby gate and/or add carpeting, nonskid step pads, or a carpet runner to make stairs less slippery.
Paying for Babyproofing
Any way you slice it, raising kids is expensive, and that includes babyproofing your home.
The total cost of baby-proofing a home will depend on its size and specific baby-proofing needs. On average, babyproofing a home can cost between $500 and $2500, with most parents paying around $1,500 to make their homes safe and secure for their child.
Costs typically include essential items for each room like baby gates, outlet plugs, furniture anchors, electrical protection covers and materials, and locks for drawers and doors. Your outlay can run much higher than the average babyproofing cost if you install all new child-safe window treatments or make some structural changes to your home to make it safer for your little one.
If you aren’t able to pay for babyproofing out of pocket, you might consider using a low- or no-interest credit card or taking out a personal loan for home improvement.
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A babyproof checklist is a must before babies start crawling, cruising, or otherwise getting around. Some key babyproofing steps include: using gates on stairs, locking or latching cupboards and drawers, containing dangerous items, placing outlet covers on all electrical outlets, and securing and mounting large unstable furniture to the walls.
Unfortunately, babyproofing typically isn’t a one-and-done home project. It’s a good idea to frequently reassess safety as your child ages and develops new skills (such as pulling up and walking) or you make any changes to your home.
Some babyproofing steps are free, while others can be costly. If you don’t have the cash on hand to cover safety-related home improvements, you might consider using a credit card with a 0% introductory interest rate or getting a low-interest personal loan.
Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.
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