We're not sure about you but having to baby proof our home came around really quickly and got us by surprise! We went from our twin boys barely moving to quickly crawling around our house causing all sorts of mischief! In hindsight, we probably should have baby proofed our house before our boys arrived but we also like living without baby gates everywhere...!
We've created this guide (more so a checklist) or what you need to include when you baby proof your home. This can be for outside areas like a pool to drawers in a kitchen. Let's get started.
What Does Baby Proof Mean?
Baby proofing, also known as childproofing, is making the environment safe for children by reducing risks and dangers which could otherwise cause harm to them.
Baby proofing can mean a range of things whether that be:
- Making an area inaccessible for children by using baby gates
- Making powerpoints safe
- Moving objects that can cause choking hazard
- Closing off areas with open fires
- Ensuring pool areas have suitable gates to stop your baby from crawling in and drowning
- Safe guarding stairs to stop your baby from falling down or crawling up them
Generally the most riskiest thing to your child is electricity. Many children, especially toddlers, have a tendency to insert things like nails, key, or any other small metal into electrical outlets like sockets. This can cause severe electrocution to the child, which could be fatal. With the amount of power points people have in their homes, fortunately child proof covers are both affordable and easy to install.
Baby Proofing Different Danger Spots
We've created the below checklist of different item you need to safeguard your child against in your home. Where possible, we've tried to include an example product to give you a sense of what's available on the market.
Electrical outlets, which are in constant use, pose a threat to children, mainly because they can remove the plug and come into contact with the metal prongs causing electrocution.
With most people home's not being short of a power point or two, you'll be pleased to know that electrical outlets are easily baby proofed using inexpensive standard covers, which are readily available online and in retail stores.
If your home has stairs, consider using safety gates to keep your child safe. Baby gates have improved from the old ugly plastic ones to steel and retractable style gates. You may also be interested in our review on the Dreambaby Retractable Gate. We love it!
If you have the escape artist on your hands, you can also use a banister guard to baby proof the stairs further. Banister guards prevent the children from fitting in between the stair rails. These are great as they also stop your child from being able to throw their toys through the stair rails.
The fire place is another dangerous place for small children for obvious reasons. We'd recommend putting a fire place screen in front of your fire and being extra vigilant any time the fireplace has fire.
It's also worth noting (and it was new to us when we were researching this article), fire places can also be dangerous from an oxygen perspective. For this reason it's best to ensure any smoke makes its way out through your chimney and doesn't enter your house. According to Cleveland Clinic, this is due to the smoke causing adverse health effects due to the small particles that can get into your eyes and respiratory system. Children who have asthma or known heart issues should be watched closely if you are burning a fire in your home.
While there's also the obvious dangers from a fire place when it's not in use whether that be the tools you use to stoke your fire or nearby wood that your child may try get into if they get the chance. Try keep these fenced off in a secure area to avoid your child harming themselves.
Between drawers and electrical points, we don't know what's worse when it comes to baby proofing as there's so many of them around everyone's house. Ultimately we decided to just close off parts of our house that has drawers but there'll be time to time where our boys will spend time in a room where there are drawers so we went down the path of baby proofing these areas. There's nothing worse than your poor child wedging their fingers between a drawer and accidentally slamming it close while their fingers are there 🙁
Generally baby proofing drawers and cabinets relies on a magnetic locking system which uses simple latch. Most can be stuck on and not require you to physically screw anything on.
If you have a swimming pool in your home, you need to put measures in place to keep it safe. At a minimum, you need to ensure the pool is closed off so you're child isn't able to wander into the pool when you're not around.
Also consider a pool alarm that goes off when someone or something falls into the pool. You can also install an alert on the pool gate and all the doors that lead to the pool.
We'd also recommend the use of a pool cover which is used when the pool is not in use to cover the pool and provides a great way to safeguard against your child going for an accidental swim...
Once your baby starts crawling around, they'll slowly begin to pulling themselves up on furniture and sticky beaking to see what's on tables. Coffee tables are the perfect height for most babies as they're the right height to get up and then see what's on top of the surface. But with that also comes a major risk - the corners of the coffee table.
For this reason we recommend using corner protectors to help safeguard your baby from hurting themselves on sometimes the sharp corners.
This was one area we'd thought would be the last hazardous area of our house but how wrong we were!
Trash cans are hazardous for a few reasons, one being because they may hold items that include sharp edges (think lids from cans or broken glass) but also some of the contents of a trash isn't the best for them to ingest.
Consider using trash cans that have sliding locks to prevent the children from gaining access to them. When discarding broken glass, we'd recommend securing it inside a container before putting it into the trash can. Also try to avoid resting garbage on top of your trash can when it's over flowing as this will otherwise topple down on top of them if they begin pulling on the bin.
Bathrooms are a dangerous place for little one's. You've got a mix of water (potentially) where your child can drown if not careful and then you also have a mix of drawers which can house medication and other nasties for children.
There's a few things we'd recommend including:
- Ensuring that you empty the bath tab as soon as bath time is over.
- Leave toilet seat and cover down to avoid any accidental drowning
- Use slip resistant mats on the floor where possible
- Clean up any spills of water to avoid your child slipping
- Install cabinet locks like we've mentioned previously to keep these secure
- Tightly close any medication containers after use in case your child is able to access them
Windows and Doors
Closing out this article on baby proofing your home is our final tip - windows and doors. Toddlers tend to get curious about the outside world and want to explore it, so they may attempt to escape to explore the new area that they can see.
Secure your doors with door knob safety covers to keep them from opening them. You can also use baby proof door stoppers to prevent the doors from slamming on the baby’s fingers.
In terms of windows, we recommend you secure your windows using window guards and locks, which allow the windows to open slightly but not enough for your child to sneak through.