Nothing will have you reevaluating your home quite like a baby on the verge of crawling. Suddenly every room layout, plug, cord, and innocuous decorating choice will look like a potential danger to your precious little mover (whose crazy idea was it to have books on the bottom shelf of your bookshelves, anyway?).
While it is inevitable that small children are going to get into things they shouldn’t, there are certain steps you can take to make your home and property safer. Here are 11 ways to childproof your home, to help you stop worrying about safety and start worrying about how to keep up with your tiny speed racer!
- Plugs B – All outlets should be covered. Consider sliding plug covers that are harder for little fingers to pull out.
- Furniture – Bookcases, dressers, TVs, and all other heavy furniture should be anchored to walls to prevent tipping. Move furniture so that your child cannot use it to climb onto windowsills. You will be surprised how quickly your baby goes from slowly inching across the floor to climbing anything they can reach. Attach corner guards to any particularly sharp edges.
- Secure electrical cords – Items like device chargers and appliance cords are baby magnets. Keep them out of your child’s hands and mouth by hiding cords behind furniture, under rugs, or covering cords with a cable extender.
- Keep dangerous items out of reach – Move sharp, breakable, small, and heavy items out of reach. Anything you child can grab and put in their mouth, they will. Protect your baby and your stuff, by putting anything you don’t want to end up covered in drool, swallowed, or broken, up and out of reach.
- Cover radiators and fireplaces – If your home has fireplaces or radiators, they need to be covered.
- Safety gates – Install safety gates at the top and bottom of any stairs. If you have a room that is proving impossible to babyproof, use gates to block the entrance to the space.
Kitchen and bathrooms
- Cabinet latches – Install safety latches to keep your little one from getting into lower cabinets that house chemicals, medicines, and breakables. Assume that your baby will get into any drawer or cabinet that is not locked.
- Secure faucets – Your water heater should be set to 120 degrees and any faucets that might be within reach of your child should be secured with an anti-scalding device.
- Lock appliances – Take safety measures to make sure your child cannot open or turn on any kitchen appliances. This means making your refrigerator, dishwasher, and oven hard to open with locks or latches, putting your microwave and other small appliances out of reach, and either removing oven knobs or installing a knob guard.
- Fence – Fence installation around the perimeter of your property will allow your child a little freedom to roam while assuring that she won’t wander away. This is the one recommendation that will require professional help and is the costliest fix(materials cost between $13-$40/foot depending and labor $30-$50/hour), so be sure to get several estimates before choosing a contractor.
- Check plants – Make sure your property is rid of poisonous plants or bushes before you let your little mover loose in the yard. If you are unsure, err on the safe side and have an expert help identify the flora.