The Ultimate Guide and Checklist for Babyproofing Your House

Before you know it, your baby will become a lot more mobile—rolling, scooting, crawling, or even pulling themselves up to stand. And they’ll also get much better at grabbing, holding, and moving things around. That means it’s time to do some child- and babyproofing in your home to keep your little one safe. Here are some tips on how to babyproof your house, including ideas for different rooms and a simple babyproofing checklist to help keep you on track.

What Is Babyproofing?

Having small children or a baby at home can be bundles of fun. However, once your little one is on the move, you may discover more safety issues than you knew existed. Though many risks and hazards in your home may be easy for adults to navigate, your little adventurer won’t be able to recognize these things as dangers, whether it's a hot stove, sharp objects, or unstable furniture. So, identifying possible safety hazards and creating a safe environment for your child is the key to successfully babyproofing and childproofing your home.

When to Babyproof Your Home

From day one it’s important to always have a set of eyes on your baby to ensure they are safe and happy. Each step of your little one’s infancy, toddlerhood, and childhood brings its own challenges—or adventures! So, it’s good to be aware of any baby- or childproofing measures to take during each stage.

Are you wondering at what age (of your baby) you should begin to childproof your home? Some parents get started during pregnancy, while others wait until their baby is born. It's wise to begin the process on the early side rather than putting it off. Once your little one starts to crawl and move about by themselves, you need to take extra steps to deal with dangerous objects and hazardous locations—because to them the whole house looks like a playground!

Prepare yourself by babyproofing your house before your baby is on the move. A good plan is to get down to your baby’s level (that’s right—crawl around on the floor!) to see what your baby sees and what could pose a hazard. And as your little one gets older and more active, try to anticipate where their curiosity and reach may take them.

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How to Babyproof Your House

Having a curious, on-the-go baby means you'll need to childproof your home room by room, so they can explore their surroundings while staying safe. Here are some babyproofing ideas and tips that can apply to any or all rooms in the house:

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Having these detectors throughout your home helps to alert and protect you and your whole family from fire and carbon monoxide. Remember to check these devices monthly and change the batteries when needed.

  • Cover electrical outlets. Children love to stick their tiny fingers and toys into any small spaces they can find. Babyproof your electrical outlets by using covers to help prevent this. Also, keep electrical cords out of sight.

  • Install baby safety gates. Once your baby starts to crawl, safety gates are a savior, especially for babyproofing stairs. You'll want to install a safety gate at the top and bottom. And baby gates are helpful not just for stairs—they can also be used to close off rooms or areas that you don’t want your little one getting into, such as the kitchen, laundry room, and garage.

  • Secure furniture. Check that all furniture and large household items (including bookshelves, televisions, cabinets, and lamps) are stable and can’t be pulled over. You can mount and secure heavy furniture to the wall.

  • Prevent slipping. If you have slippery floors or stairs, consider carpeting them. You'll also want to make sure your child doesn't walk or run on them while wearing socks.

  • Remove choking hazards. Constantly check around your house—especially on the floor—for small items that a young child might try to put in their mouth.

  • Store batteries away. Many common devices and objects—from toys and TV remotes to car key fobs and calculators—contain tiny coin or button batteries, and children may try to put these in their mouths, as they do with other small items. But batteries are different: Not only are they a choking hazard, but when they come into contact with saliva, they generate an electrical current that can burn body tissues. So, swallowing a battery can cause extensive damage to the lining of the organs it encounters. Store all batteries and small battery-powered items out of reach, safely dispose of old batteries, and secure battery compartments on all battery-containing devices.

Babyproofing the Nursery

Here are some areas in your little one’s nursery or bedroom that need special attention. Follow these babyproofing tips to help keep your baby safe:

  • Crib. Your baby spends a lot of time in their crib and is usually unattended, so making it a completely safe sleep environment is important. Keep the crib free of soft materials like bumpers, pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals, as these increase the risk of suffocation, as well as any eliminating cords or decorations that your little one might get caught in. Ensure the crib meets all current safety standards, such as crib slats being no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, and use a firm, flat, tight-fitting mattress. Here are some of the best baby cribs as selected by Pampers parents.

  • Bed. If your child can climb out of their crib, it's time move them from the crib to a low bed or a mattress on the floor. If you have bunk beds for your older children, don’t allow a child under 6 years to sleep on the top bunk. Check out some of the best toddler beds, chosen by Pampers parents.

  • Changing table. You must be extra vigilant to prevent falls when selecting and using a changing table. Look for a table that’s sturdy and has a two-inch guardrail on all sides, and find a changing pad with a concave middle. You can use the safety strap during changes, but even if you do, keep one hand on your wriggly baby at all times. Don’t ever leave your baby unattended on the table, even for a second. Store diapers and diapering supplies close by but out of your little one's reach.

  • Toy box. Use a toy box or basket without a lid or cover, to prevent your child from getting stuck inside or trapping their little fingers.

Babyproofing the Kitchen

The kitchen contains an array of potential hazards, from sharp objects and toxic cleaning products to piping hot stovetops, pots, and pans. Check out some smart ways to childproof your kitchen:

  • Store sharp objects. Store sharp utensils and appliances, such as knives, scissors, and food processors, out of reach or in a drawer or cupboard with a safety latch.

  • Use door latches. Babyproof cabinets or drawers containing dangerous or breakable items such as medications, cleaning products, glasses, etc., by using door latches or child-proof cabinet locks to keep your little one out. You could even consider putting a baby lock on your fridge and oven door to babyproof them.

  • Safeguard the stove. To ensure your little one can’t turn the gas stove knobs, consider using knob covers. Also, turn pot handles toward the back of the stove or use the back burners to keep hot things out of your child’s reach.

  • Unplug appliances. When not in use, unplug all appliances and stash all cords out of your little one's reach.

Babyproofing the Bathroom

The bathroom can be a busy place for your little one, who may be splashing in the bathtub, brushing their teeth, or using the toilet like a big kid. These activities come with some risk, which is why you must always supervise young children in the bathroom. Here are some additional precautions and babyproofing ideas:

  • Install cabinet locks. Just like in your kitchen, you can use child- and babyproof cabinet door locks to keep all cosmetics, cleaning products, and medicines out of your child’s reach.

  • Practice bathtub and water safety. Never leave your little one unattended in the bath. Drowning is a risk, even in a few inches of water. Other safety strategies include applying nonslip pads on the bottom of the tub and placing a cushioned cover over the faucet to help provide a safe and fun bath time for your toddler. To make sure your child isn't scalded by water that's too hot, you can adjust the temperature of your water heater, as well as always testing the bath water before your child gets in the tub.

  • Close and/or lock the toilet. Remember to close the toilet lid after use and even babyproof it with a lock to prevent your curious toddler from trying to explore.

Babyproofing the Living Room

This cozy space for the entire family may have some unexpected dangers. Try these babyproofing hacks for your living room:

  • Cover sharp corners. Put corner guards on table edges and any other sharp edges to prevent painful knocks and scrapes.

  • Use cordless window coverings. Having curtains and blinds without cords can prevent your child from getting tangled in them. If you do have cords, wrap them around wall brackets or attach them to floor mounts.

  • Screen the fireplace. If you have a fireplace or a woodburning stove in your home and you’re wondering how to babyproof it, first of all, you could consider using a screen in front of it. Never leave your child unattended in a room with a fire and make sure older children understand the dangers of putting things in a lit fire or playing close to a fire. Putting screens on radiators may also prevent burns.

Babyproofing Checklist

Check out our downloadable babyproofing checklist to help you along when making your home a safe environment for your little one.

The Bottom Line

At all stages of development, from baby to young teen, children bring with them different levels of activity, knowledge, and adventure. And keeping your little one safe is a top priority. That’s why babyproofing or childproofing your house is crucial to help prevent accidents in the home.

We have provided some key babyproofing tips that may help you along the way, such as 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, to name a few.

Considering your child’s safety outside of the home is also important. You may also be interested in learning about toddler bike safety to keep your little one safe even when on the go. With our helpful babyproofing and parenting tips, your journey through parenthood can be made a little easier.

How We Wrote This Article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.