I took a pretty relaxed approach to baby proofing the house.
I’m in the camp that it’s better to teach a kid not to touch – and to show them their boundaries – than it is to bubble wrap everything, BUT a baby is…well, a baby.
So you can’t just trust that they’re going to obey your every command. Some baby proofing is necessary, in my opinion. How you baby proof your house, how much you baby proof, and when is ultimately up to you. Here’s what we did, and some things for you to consider, including a lot of the baby proofing ideas we’ve over the last couple years, and a baby proofing checklist:
When to baby proof the house?
I think that it really depends on the baby! I personally think that as soon as your baby is mobile, you should take the necessary precautions to keep baby safe – EVEN if it’s just rolling.
I almost never leave my kids unattended, but one day shortly after my first was rolling, I left him in the living room for a moment and went to the washroom upstairs. On my way back down, I slipped – and fell halfway down the stairs. I wasn’t hurt badly, but I suddenly realized that if I HAD been hurt, my baby would have been in a ton of danger with my totally unbaby-proofed house.
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(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
General Baby Proofing For All Rooms
Personally, I like going room by room and proofing each space, so I decided to break my baby proofing checklist up accordingly. There are some general baby proofing that you’ll need to do in each and every room, so I’ll go ahead and start with those first.
As a side note, the single best thing we have in our home for baby proofing, in general, is a compression gate – because it’s not installed into any one door and we can move it from room to room and even take it out to grandparents house or hotels when we need to! Everyone with a baby and a home should have at least one of these.
ALSO, for “general baby proofing” if you have a TODDLER and baby, or a PET and a baby, you will want a pack and play. I didn’t have a playpen with my first, but before he was mobile there was no real danger to him when he was laying on the floor.
On the way home from the hospital with my second, I realized we needed to get a pack and play before we could go home, just to keep baby safe from toddler. (Sometimes, momma’s gotta pee, and baby has to be able to be set down for a moment. We got one just like this – and we discovered that LOVED having a changing table in the living room while she was little.)
Switch out your outlets. This may be a lot of work, but it might make sense to go ahead and switch out your outlets completely if your outlets are outdated and in need of replacement anyway. Outlets like these are baby-proofed already—no plastic plug required.Use outlet covers. If your outlets are not in need of replacement, or you don’t have the time or inclination to replace them all (and I don’t blame you!) simply grab some inexpensive plastic outlet plugs.Secure furniture to the walls. I’ll go into more specific pieces to watch out for in each room, but in general…please secure your furniture to the walls! You can use basic furniture safety straps and keep your little one safe in just minutes.Tie up blind cords. Until I started researching baby proofing, I didn’t realize how dangerous those cords you pull to let up your blinds are. You can grab blind cord winders to keep them far up out of reach, or just replace your blinds with curtains. Replace curtains on rings with clips. Window coverings can cause quite the issue in baby proofing! You know those curtains that you thread a rod through to hang? They actually aren’t safe for toddlers and young kids since they can yank them or try to climb on them (and they will) and it can pull the entire rod out of the wall down onto them. The safest thing to do is to grab curtains that hang on curtain rod clips such as these.Invest in some baby gates. Baby gates will soon become your best friend. They allow you to safely keep baby in safe places and out of more dangerous ones. When your baby reaches a mobile stage, gates will keep him or her out of harm’s way. There are so many different sizes, shapes and styles available these days that you are bound to find the perfect one for your home. I like this one. Install outside locks on your bedroom doors. If there are certain rooms you do not want your baby in, make sure you add locks to the outside of those doors, high up so you can keep your little one out.
How to Baby Proof the Living Room
The living room is likely a place the entire family will hang out, so it’s important to make sure this room is baby-friendly. In addition to the baby proofing checklist up above, there are several other items that will need special consideration in this room.
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Baby-proof your TV. With all the colors, sound and excitement, your little one will be drawn to the television. You may often find your child sitting right underneath, staring up at it. For that reason, you want to make sure the TV is properly mounted with flat screen anti-tipping straps.Baby-proof fireplace. The fireplace may seem innocent enough when there isn’t a fire, but the sharp corners can be dangerous as can the ash or pebbles inside your fireplace. A protective baby fence around your fireplace will give you peace of mind will making sure you have a baby proofed fireplace. We felt so much better once the fence was up around our fireplace – we could finally relax in our living room. (See picture below.)Soften sharp corners. Another excellent way to baby proof the living room is to protect their head from sharp corners like the ones your coffee table or entertainment center may have. If you don’t want to replace or rearrange furniture, you can simply purchase corner covers to soften any potential injuries.
How to Baby-Proof a Kitchen
The kitchen is probably the number one most dangerous place our littles can be in, yet it seems to be the place we all hang out in! Here are some helpful tips to help you baby proof your kitchen.
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Switch out your tablecloth for placemats. You may need to bid your table linens a brief goodbye since they seem to be begging young children to yank them down! To keep your dishes from piling on baby’s head, switch over to simply using placemats. You can even grab a splat mat placemat for baby too!Baby-proof cabinets. Keep your little ones out of your kitchen cabinets the easy way—by grabbing several of these cabinet latches. This way, all of your pots, pans and cleaning products will stay out of reach! (I skipped cabinet latches, and used a cheap baby-proofing hack from Pinterest to keep my cabinets shut:Add knob covers. Knobs seem to be particularly tempting to babies! Make sure you keep them from fiddling with your dishwasher or worse, your oven, by adding baby proof knob covers. Consider a stove cover. To go another step towards keeping your toddler away from the dangerous, hot stove, buy a stove cover.Keep trash out of reach. Trash and recycling bins are full of items you don’t want your baby playing with. Keep these bins blocked off in a garage or a locked pantry—just grab pantry locks for your doors, too!
Baby Proof the Bathroom
Last but not least, let’s chat about the bathroom. Ironically, I never really saw it as a priority place for baby proofing…until I had an active toddler. Kids are always drawn to the grossest things! In my opinion, it’s better just to keep this door shut all the time! In any case, here’s a baby proofing checklist for the bathroom.
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Lock away all your cleaning supplies. Get a cabinet lock for your bathroom if you are planning on keeping any kind of cleaning supplies there.Make bathtime safe. Bath time involves tons of water and soap, which as you know is slippery. Dry your little one’s feet as soon as you get her out of the bath, and invest in a non-slip mat for the bathtub once she is out of the baby tub.Secure your toilet paper. This may not be a big deal to some people, but just in case, I thought I’d mention it. If your child is frequently grabbing toilet paper and running with it down the hall, you can purchase toilet paper covers. They are generally made for cats, but they’ll work just fine on your child, too!Lock the toilet bowl. Yes, this might make going to the bathroom a tiny bit more challenging, but if it saves your keys, mail or worse, your child from being inside the toilet water, it’s 100% worth it.
As I said, I know the baby proofing process can seem overwhelming. The good news is, you can take it in stages as your child grows. Newborns can’t move which means you have at least a few months to get used to parenthood before implementing the baby proofing checklist! If you have any other baby proofing suggestions, please leave them in the comments below.
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