Babyproofing: How To Read Your Child's Mind and Protect Your Home
Whether the baby is coming or already here, you will need to make some changes to your home so it’s a safe place for baby to explore. Read below for tips on how to make each room in your house safe.
- Get down on all fours to see things from your baby's view. Try to imagine what a baby could pull down on top of them, put into their mouth, bump their head on, catch their fingers in, or trip over.
In the Kitchen
- Put up a stove guard or knob covers to keep baby from turning gas knobs or touching burners. When cooking, use the stove's back burners and turn pot handles away from the edge.
- Secure oven doors, fridges, drawers and cabinets with baby-proof latches or locks.
- Move appliances (irons, toasters, coffeemakers), cleaners, detergents and other items from lower shelves and keep them out of reach when not in use.
- Use trash cans with child-proof lids.
- Use placemats instead of tablecloths. Babies will pull dangling fabrics.
- Use lightweight plastic dishes and utensils with rounded edges for baby's food.
In the Bathroom
- Put mats on the floor to avoid slipping accidents.
- Put locks on toilet lids and any lower cabinets or drawers.
- Always supervise babies and small children in the bathtub and drain bathtubs immediately after use.
- Keep all pills and medications out of reach. Use child-proof lids.
- Put soaps, shampoos, scissors and razors out of baby’s reach when not in use.
In Living Areas
- Use door or finger pinch guards to protect fingers from being pinched or slammed in doors.
- Pick up anything on the floor or within reach that a child could put in their mouth or swallow: small toys, batteries, buttons, coins, houseplants, bug/mouse traps.
- Use furniture straps on TVs and furniture that baby could pull on or climb.
- Use cord cleats to tie up cords from window blinds. You can also cut any cord loops to shorten them and/or remove the continuous loop. Keep furniture away from windows.
- Make sure all breakable decorations are out of reach or put away.
- Hide or tape down electrical cords. Cover electrical outlets with large furniture or outlet covers so babies cannot touch them.
- Put corner protectors over sharp edges and corners.
- Install a safety screen around the fireplace.
- Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and working. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
- Keep babies away from open windows and keep windows securely locked when not open.
- Put a baby gate at the top and bottom of staircases and across areas you don't want the baby to enter.
In the Car and Garage
- Store keys out of reach and lock the car when not in use.
- Never let babies or children play in the car.
- Check the car before you lock it to make sure everyone is out of the car.
- Install a lock on the doors leading outside and to the garage.
- Always make sure children are safely out of the way before backing your car out of the garage or driveway.
- Store gasoline, paint, antifreeze, lighter fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and oil in their original containers. They should be out of reach and/or in a locked cabinet.
- Make sure the crib meets current safety standards. Be careful with older or borrowed cribs that may not meet new standards.
- Create a safe area around the crib. Keep it away from windows, furniture, lamps or cords, heaters, and any decorations your child could pull down.
- Never leave your child unattended on the changing table. Use the safety strap and keep creams and medicines out of reach.
- Make sure furniture items, like bookshelves and changing tables, are secured to the wall and electrical outlets are covered.
- Review the tips on our Room to Breathe safe sleep page.
Pools, Pets and Purses
- Install a locking safety gate around your pool. Make sure that any other standing water (e.g. wading pools, buckets) is emptied.
- Keep animal food and water behind a closed door or away from baby's reach.
- Always watch babies around pets. They can pull hair, poke at or otherwise startle a calm pet.
- Put purses and bags away as soon as you get home. Never leave them lying around.
For More Information
- Room to Breathe safe sleep campaign
- HealthyChildren.org, home safety page
- SafeKids.org, home safety page
- SafeKids.org checklist in English/SafeKids.org checklist in Spanish
- HealthyChildren.org, Six Quick High Chair Safety Tips
- HealthyChildren.org, Laundry Room and Detergent Safety
- HealthyChildren.org, Tips For Buying Baby Furniture and Baby Equipment