Babies are so cute, but oh-so-curious. If you thought babyproofing was tucking a few stray wires under the couch, think again! Never put anything past your baby or active toddler. Under-fives are most at risk of accidents in and around the home, so babyproof your baby’s nursery and home to keep your little one safe. Here’s everything you need to know about which babyproofing products will best suit your family. But do be aware that to reduce accidents, nothing replaces supervision.
How to Babyproof Your Nursery
First, ensure your baby has a safe sleeping space, then work on the rest of the house. Before putting your baby in their crib, here are some important details to check for.
- Mattress The mattress needs to be firm, so it won’t contour to the shape of your baby’s head. There shouldn’t be more than a 1 inch gap between the mattress and the crib frame. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends placing your baby on their back to reduce the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Slats Crib slats shouldn’t be more than 2 ⅜ inches apart, to prevent your baby from getting their head or limbs stuck between the bars.
- Sides Fixed sides are so important. If you’re using an old crib, make sure it’s not a drop-side crib! These cribs have actually been banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to safety reasons. Some of us (oldies) will have memories of these sides unpredictably unlatching and dropping!
- Mobiles The string from a mobile should never be more than 7 inches. Any longer can cause a choking hazard. World-leading association for home inspectors InterNACHI research shows that, once your baby is learning to sit (at about five months old), all baby mobiles from Tiny Love, My Baby Sam, or any other baby gear brand should be removed from the crib. They’re great for when your baby’s tiny, but once they learn to sit, it’s time to get new toys to keep them entertained.
- Bare is Best Toys should be kept out of the crib, as well as unnecessary objects like inclined sleepers, positioners, and crib bumpers, which can cause accidental suffocation. Monitors should always be placed out of baby’s reach, since they can present a strangling hazard.
- Crib Location Picture frames, paintings and mirrors should never be hung on the wall by your baby’s crib. The crib shouldn’t be placed right underneath a window either, as the cords from the blinds or curtains can pose a safety risk.
For more advice about sleep safety, read our safe sleep guide for babies.
Now, let’s move on to the rest of your child’s bedroom.
- Rocking Chair or Glider Try to get one with a stop-lock mechanism for safety. They’re super comfy and practical for nursing, but a little problematic when you have a curious toddler in the mix.
- Windows Put window guards on the windows to prevent them from being opened more than a few inches.
- Sliding Outlet Covers Self-closing wall outlet covers will prevent your little one from inserting fingers into electrical outlets when they’re not in use.
- Sleep Sacks Blankets can be a suffocation risk, but sleep sacks keep your baby’s face and head free. Some daycares even require them.
- Changing Table and Dresser Make sure they’re secure, and can’t be tipped over. You could even anchor these pieces of baby furniture to the wall. Set up any diaper changing pads in a safe place, where your baby can’t roll off onto the floor.
- Diaper sacks Keep these small lightweight plastic bags away from the crib and changing mats. If left loose, babies can easily grab them and a gentle breeze can even blow them over a sleeping child’s face.
How to Babyproof the Rest of Your Home
Now your baby can sleep easy, let’s move on to the rest of your home. If you’re not sure where to start, prioritize the dangers by the age of your child. For a baby who’s just started crawling, sharp corners and stairs will pose the biggest problem, but parents of older children will need to be vigilant with battery-operated toys or small objects that can cause choking.
Trips and falls: babyproof to avoid the most common cause of injury
Install safety gates. Put them both at the top and bottom of staircases. This will keep babies from falling from the top, but also from climbing up from the bottom and then falling. Choose ones that attach to the wall and can be easily opened by adults. Safety gates come in handy all over your home – use them to prevent your child from exiting the back door or coming into the kitchen. PishPosh Baby has a wide collection of safety gates – choose from ones that extend, to others that blend safety with contemporary modern design.
Fit restrictors to windows. Choose a type that unlocks by squeezing rather than by key, so it can be opened quickly by an adult in the event of a fire.
Secure rugs. Keep rugs in place either by strategically placing pieces of furniture or consider buying anti-slip underlay to fit underneath your rug. Ensure your child wears grippy footwear rather than slippery socks on hard floors.
Place corner guards on tables and furniture. These do wonders to prevent bumps and bruises. Babyproofing corners and edges is easy with guards.
Secure furniture and TVs to the walls. Children see bookcases and drawers as climbing frames so falling furniture is a real hazard. Use retaining straps fixed to the wall to stop them toppling. Keep drawers shut with lower and top drawer adhesive latches.
How To Babyproof Your Bathroom And Laundry Room
Our essential advice is to keep the doors to these rooms closed and never leave a baby or toddler unattended in a bathroom. However, in case the door is left open, place household chemicals and medicines in a high locked cabinet, well out of reach.
Prevent scalding by setting your water heater no higher than 120 degrees.
Get a baby seat for the bathtub. A baby seat can help you and your baby feel more secure in the tub, but don’t under any circumstances leave them alone.
How to Babyproof Your Kitchen
You know that precious moment in time when your baby finally figures out how to open a cabinet? At the beginning it’s so cute, but when you’re trying to make supper and baby’s working on emptying out all the pots from the cabinets, it’s really not so funny.
Babyproof cabinet locks. Keep those pots, pans, cleaning products and other kitchen paraphernalia out of your baby’s reach. We’ve got multipurpose locks that are you can use on cabinets, white goods, appliances and furniture. Don’t forget your fridge and trash can.
Use only the back burners on your stove, and cover the controls with guards.
Use a cordless kettle to reduce the chances of scalding, and keep it away from the edge of the worktop. Place hot drinks well out of reach on a stable surface – little children can easily pull on table cloths.
Place cords out of sight. Portable appliances, such as toasters, kettles or microwaves, should be set up in a place where the cords will not be accessible, and your baby can’t pull on them.
Be diligent about anything at your child’s level that could be a choking hazard, like hard candies or grapes.
How to Babyproof Your Living Spaces
Your living spaces are pretty simple to babyproof but there are still some dangers to be aware of.
Get electric outlet covers. Like in your child’s nursery, cover up any outlets that are within your baby’s reach. Don’t forget the hallway and landings, as well as the living room, den, dining room and bedrooms. We love these outlet covers – they're so neat and blend in really well.
Babyproof your doors. Prevent little fingers from getting pinched and seriously injured in slammed doors with finger slam guards.
Babyproof fireplaces. Lock matches away in a high cupboard and protect wood burning stoves and open fires with a wall-attached fireguard. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month.
Blinds and curtains should be cordless or tie up any cords you do have.
Beware of leaving irons and hair straighteners out while they cool down, or where children could find them and plug them in.
Watch out for magnets and button batteries. If one or more small fridge magnets are swallowed, they will try to stick together in the intestine, which can cause fatal injuries. Swallowed button batteries can react to form corrosive caustic soda in the throat.
If you have a firearm, make sure it’s unloaded and keep it securely locked up.
How to Babyproof Your Outside Spaces
Don’t forget outside, either. Your backyard will be a much loved space for occupying and entertaining your children and giving them their daily dose of vitamin D.
Avoid putting your little one near pea gravel as it will go straight in their mouths and is the perfect choking hazard.
Lock away tools and chemicals in a shed or garage and keep your hose out of direct sunlight. Water from a heated hose can scald!
Be aware of toxic plants and bushes - ones that are thorny or bear fruit (like berries and olives) can be particularly nasty if ingested or touched. Mushrooms are also to be avoided at all costs!
Cover swimming pools and hot tubs when not in use and consider installing a barrier at least 5 feet high with a stable base to block access. This includes water fountains or other water features.
Babyproofing is essential, but we’re here to help
Exhausting as babyproofing is, it’s all part of the fun. It invites parents to see the world afresh, to rediscover it all through your child’s eyes. Yes, the world can be scary and much less edible than it may at first seem, but it’s also teaching your baby that, if they have people who care about them, they’ll be OK.
Need support? Find all your babyproofing needs on the PishPosh Baby safety gates and babyproofing pages.