A quick note about terminologies before we get started — while the terms baby proofing and child proofing are sometimes used interchangeably, in this article, we will make a differentiation between them. You do babyproofing for newborns and babies who aren’t mobile and move room to room without you. Childproofing refers to steps you take as your baby grows to make your home a safe place for them in each stage of development.
Babyproofing Room by Room
Trying to take on your home as a whole can make the babyproofing process seem a touch overwhelming. It can be less daunting, not to mention help you stay organized and sane to tackle this task room by room. Below, we will go through the main rooms in your home and what you’ll want to do to babyproof them individually, starting with the all-important nursery.
Your changing table is one of the most likely places for an accident in your child’s nursery or bedroom. Make sure your changing table is secured to the wall with anti-tip brackets and can’t topple over. Also, secure the changing pad to the table to avoid sliding around and causing a fall. In case of a fall, place a soft, high-pile rug next to your changing table to provide a softer landing.
It’s not just the baby’s tiny hands that you must be aware of, but also yourself. Accidents happen, and it’s easy to imagine bumping into a nursery floor lamp and falling over. Securing everything to avoid topple accidents is key to having a safe nursery. A great, non-marking item to have around is called museum putty. Think of adult sticky tack – except instead of being that murky blue of sticky tack — it’s white. You can use this to secure things like picture frames and decorations to shelves so they won’t fall over and potentially cause an injury if they’re bumped into.
The level of babyproofing in your bedroom will depend largely on how you choose to treat this space. Many parents will designate their bedroom as off-limits to reduce the amount of babyproofing and organization that this space needs, especially when your child grows to the toddler stage and is more actively walking, reaching, and exploring anything and everything.
If your bedroom is somewhere your baby will be spending time, there are some important areas to babyproof. Any drawers (dresser drawers and nightstands) should have drawer latches; furniture that might be climbed on should be secured to the wall, and corner covers should be abundant.
If you have older children when you’re welcoming a new baby into your home, chances are you’ve already gone through the babyproofing process, but there are some new considerations. Bedrooms or playrooms for toddlers and older children are fun and engaging places, full of interactive toys that are sure to capture the attention of new little ones. That being said, there are also a lot of pointy corners and small pieces that could harm a new baby, so it’s likely best to make this room off-limits to a wee one until they’re older. Enter your handy-dandy doorknob covers and baby gates!
Each room seems to have its own specific hazard, and in your living room, it’s likely your TV. Ensure your TV is secured to the wall and can’t topple while your baby is playing on the floor. If your entertainment center has drawers, these should have latches.
Corner covers are essential for your coffee table and end tables – the living room is often a place to play and have fun, and a coffee table is right at eye level for little ones. You want to ensure that they (and you) can be free to move around without worrying about accidents.
Always be watchful and make sure that the cords for your blinds or curtains are out of reach to prevent your baby from becoming tangled in them as they learn to scoot and crawl.
The kitchen is many parents’ nightmare for babyproofing. What once was a normal room used in your daily life suddenly becomes a nest of sharp objects, whirling appliances, burn hazards, and dangerous chemicals. Don’t worry, though. Once your kitchen is babyproofed, it will transform back into the safe room it once was!
Start with the big ones – drawers and cabinets. Drawer latches and cabinet locks might take some getting used to for you, but they’re your best friend to keep your little one from suffering a bonk on the head while they’re exploring. It’s important to latch all drawers, even if they don’t have anything dangerous in them, because they can (and likely will, given any opportunity) be used as ladders for your little one to climb up and see what’s happening on the mysterious overhead land that is your kitchen counter.
Bathrooms are another hotspot for home accidents but are simpler to babyproof than your kitchen. Start with drawer latches and cabinet locks, as usual!
Your toilets should also have latches that prevent the seat from being lifted by curious little hands.
Bathtub faucets are also common places for bumps and bruises. Getting a cover for them will protect your little one from sharp corners, and as a bonus, they come in all kinds of fun shapes, characters, and colors, so they’ll love seeing them!
It’s important to remember that many daily items can be easy to leave out on the countertops and in the shower. All the cabinet latches in the world aren’t helpful if things like medicine bottles, razors, and hair appliances are sitting out on the countertops, so be sure to keep your bathroom tidy. You want to get ready in relative peace without worrying about what your munchkin might pick up if they’re crawling on the floor. This can be easier if you have a second bathroom or an ensuite that you can restrict access to and is definitely something to consider if you’re family planning and looking at moving into a new home.
Babyproofing and childproofing can often be broken down into categories of items. Namely, those that keep them out of dangerous places and prevent bumps and bruises.
Locks and Latches
While locks and latches might take some getting used to from your point of view, they’re an indispensable way to ensure your home is safe. Don’t worry; after some time, you’ll be a pro at flipping, squeezing, and lifting the various devices that keep your little one safe. You can find babyproofing and childproofing kits at many local and online retailers.
Making sure your home has functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is a top priority. If you’ve ever been guilty, as most of us have, of taking the dead battery out of a beeping smoke detector and forgetting to replace it for weeks or months, those days are gone! Checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is critical in avoiding very preventable harm to your family. You should test smoke detectors once a month and replace the batteries twice yearly.
If your home has stairs, baby gates are critical once your baby reaches the scooting stage. Installing permanent ones is easy to do ahead of time, and then they’re ready and waiting when you need them. For things like stairs, permanent baby gates that are installed by screwing them into the wall are ideal. For more portability, we recommend having at least one that can move from room to room with you and go on trips to block stairs in other homes.
Home Inspections and Child Safety
Something that can often be left out of your list of baby-proofing to-dos is having a home inspection done on your house. We often think of home inspections as things that happen before you purchase a home, but they are just as valuable for ensuring the safety of everyone who lives in a home you already own.
Home inspections don’t just cover things like your foundation and roof but also something that could potentially impact the safety of your new baby. For example, you can do your part and cover the holes in electrical outlets, but if the wiring leading to the outlet itself is faulty, there is still an increased risk of electrical shock.
This shouldn’t make you fearful of your home as one giant potential hazard, rather should highlight the benefits of having a home inspection done. It can bring peace of mind knowing that you’ve done everything feasible to make your nursery and home as safe as possible for your new little bundle of love.
Bringing home a new baby is full of exciting new experiences, and there’s no doubt that you’ll have your hands full with love, laughter, and all the things that come with welcoming a new life into your home. Babyproofing your nursery and home ahead of time is a great way to ensure that you can stay in the moment when you bring your baby home instead of focusing on catching up on babyproofing and worrying about the safety of your home. Once you’re a new parent, you’ll look back and be ever grateful to your past self for taking care of these things in advance.
Here are some questions experts have answered for us on this topic:
What are some safety characteristics of a crib?
- Don’t use the antique or used crib and bassinet
- Before putting your baby into a crib check whether it is chipped or has a smooth surface
- Ensure that the slant spacing in the crib is not more than 2 3/8 inches
- Don’t put anything in the crib or above the crib
- Make sure that the crib should be crack-less, should be free from rough edges, and more
- Keep your baby’s crib away from the dangled object, as it could hurt the baby,
- Adjust the height of the mattress accordingly
- Keep an eye on the crib hardware when the baby starts moving
- Check the corner post of the crib can catch the baby’s cloth
- Avert using heavy blankets in the crib
- Don’t use a used crib because it might be broken, lacks new safety features, etc
- Never use wedges and sleep positioner
- Make sure that that crib is installed perfectly
- Make sure that mattress support should not be broken
- The mattress should a be perfect fit in the crib
- If you are going out and reserving the crib there, ensure that it is perfectly disinfected and is up to mark or not
Sagar | Marketing from Baby Cart
What Are the Characteristics of Safe Toys for Your Baby?
When you’ve got a baby, anytime is a great time for a new toy. That’s because toys aren’t just for fun. They help your baby develop cognitive, emotional, social and physical skills to build on. In other words, even if toys aren’t marketed as “educational,” they’re learning tools. If you could see inside your child’s brain when she’s playing, it’s like the 4th of July, with thousands of neurotransmitter sparklers going off. Playing paves the way. The skills children learn through play in the early years set the stage for future learning and success from the kindergarten classroom to the workplace. Yes, all from just playing! Playing is how your baby learns and so much more! Still, toys can also be unsafe if you don’t play by these important rules.
1. Choose toys and activities that track with your child’s age and stage.
2. Make your home a safe play zone.
3. Buy toys for your older children with your younger children in mind.
4. Be your child’s first play date. Babies crave the one-on-one interaction and the security playing with you and other caregivers provides.
5. Check for toy recalls. Before shopping, check the U.S. Government’s Web site, cpsc.gov, to see whether the toys you plan to buy—or the toys already in your home—have been recalled.
Sandra Gordon | Owner of Baby Products Mom
What are the safest types of fabric for your baby’s clothes?
When it comes to our little ones, its best to keep the fabrics we drape over them as natural and skin kind as possible. We would always recommend going for a cotton fabric since its soft, absorbent and super soft against your baby’s skin. As a keen advocate of organic and natural materials, we’d also recommend going for an organic cotton too. Organic cotton is made without any of the harsh chemicals or fertilisers during the growing process, which makes it the perfect choice to wrap up our babies with for a super-snug and gentle fabric
Carley | Marketing from Friendly Turtle
What would be the best cleaning products to use for a nursery room and what the process of cleaning should be?
A baby’s skin is very sensitive, plus babies are notorious for touching things and then sticking their hands in their mouths. For both these reasons, parents should check labels and choose cleaning products that have safer ingredients.
Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is recognized by the US EPA’s Safer Choice Program as being safer for use around people, pets, and the environment. Be sure to thoroughly wipe down any nursery surface you clean, then follow that up by wiping the area with a damp microfiber cloth. The good news is with a Safer Choice product, you won’t have to worry if a little bit of overspray gets on carpet or bedding. Which can be a concern with harsh chemical cleaners.
Selene | Marketing from Simple Green
What are the key elements for the safest and healthiest diapers?
Parents can alleviate safety concerns by looking for diapers that are chemical-free and have higher percentages of natural materials. For example, Pura’s range of diapers contain organic cotton and are free from unwanted chemicals nasties – no chlorine, lotion or latex. They have also been allergy tested, going beyond the dermatologically-tested claims that many diaper ranges possess. To keep developing skin healthy, it’s important that the diapers have excellent leakage protection. Pura’s range has Super absorbent plant fibre core that keeps skin dry and nappy leak free for up to 12 hours and our sizes 1-2 feature a handy wetness indicator strip, so parents know when a change is needed
Fiona | Editor from My Pura
What are some tips to prevent night accidents in a nursery?
Avoid placing your baby’s crib or bassinet near a window, as they can easily get tangled in curtains, cords, or blinds. Instead, place the crib next to the door so you can get to your baby faster to calm them down when they start crying. Also, don’t put your baby in an older crib model, and definitely avoid drop-side cribs. This crib style has a moveable side that slides down, and many children have been injured or even died because of them.
Always follow the instructions when assembling your baby’s crib. If you’ve lost them, they’re hard to understand, or there are any issues with any parts, check the manufacturer’s site or contact them. Don’t try to replace any parts with your own, since they haven’t been tested for crib safety. Check your baby’s crib regularly to make sure that all its parts are secure and tight. Once your baby is strong enough to get up on all fours-usually around 5 months old-remove any mobile or hanging toys from above their crib.
To reduce the chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), only place your baby on their back to sleep until they’re a year old. Avoid putting any pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals in the crib with them. Instead of using a blanket to keep your baby warm during the winter months, put them in a sleeper or sleep sack.
Becky from Lifetime Adoption
What are the characteristics of a safe changing table?
A changing table is a helpful addition to any nursery, providing a dedicated spot for diaper duty, but it is important that the table you choose is equipped with the right features to keep your baby as safe as possible.
It’s crucial that your changing table is sturdy and secure enough to keep your baby from rolling off. That means it should have a guard rail or raised edge around all four sides of the changing area, ideally 2″ high. A table that can accommodate a contoured pillow is also a plus, since the pillow’s lower center and raised edges will keep your baby from rolling from side-to-side. Many tables include a safety belt for added security, which can be incredibly important if you need to reach for something or look away momentarily. Keep in mind that, regardless of how safe the changing area is, you should always keep one hand on your baby. It’s also advisable to anchor your changing table to the wall if possible.
Tables that include storage areas for changing supplies such as diapers and wipes are not only convenient, but they also keep your baby safe, as you won’t have to divert your attention away to find what you need. But be sure the supplies stay out of your baby’s reach! Remember to regularly inspect your changing area, ensuring your table doesn’t have any loose parts and isn’t prone to tipping. And regardless of how safe the table is equipped to be, the best safety measure is for you to always keep your attention focused on your baby while on diaper duty.
Annie and Jackie from The Baby Cubby