Once a baby becomes mobile, one of the most important tasks a new parent must tackle is baby-proofing the house. As they are, most homes contain tons of hidden dangers for curious infants, so parents rely on baby-proofing devices like cabinet locks, baby gates, and child-proof drawers to minimize risk. Fully baby proofing a house involves much more than you might think. Doors must be latched, corners must be softened, outlet plugs must be covered, and stairs must be blocked. (Whether a baby-proof fireplace exists remains to be seen.) Finding the right materials and knowing what to attend to can be tricky. Staci Baker, a professional baby proofer and the owner of Baby Safe Homes in Denver, Colorado, weighs in.
“Most of your baby-proofing can happen after you bring your child home from the hospital,” says Baker. “It’s not until they start to move around at the 6- to 9-month mark that things get dicey.”
The baby-proofing process forces parents to see their house in a whole new light, ripe with potential dangers. To start baby-proofing, Baker recommends changing your point of view. That is, start looking at things from the ground up so you have a good idea where your child will be living in the immediate future. Assume that anything that looks remotely interesting — electrical plugs, stairs, shelves, and cabinets are prime spots — will beckon to a baby just starting to explore their surroundings. “Create redundancies throughout your house,” Baker says. “And don’t assume anything is safe from little fingers.”
According to Baker, these are the baby-proofing products parents should consider, as well as trouble spots that need to be changed.
The Best Baby-Proofing Kits
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using safety latches and locks for cabinets and drawers in your kitchen, bathrooms, and other areas where tempting medicines and cleaners await. Outlet covers and outlet plates help prevent electrocution. Get ones that cannot be easily removed by children and are large enough so that children cannot choke on them.
Another magnetic kiddie lock set from a brand we trust. It's an invisible yet effective safety solution. You get eight locks and one key with this set, which makes for less confusion and hunting around for the proper key. Plus, the locks are invisible since they're on the inside of your cabinets.
The Best Baby-Proof Doorknob Products
Childproof doorknob products can block off entire rooms, or prevent curious toddlers from venturing outside.
You can install the Door Monkey to be installed in seconds without tools, tape or hardware, so your furniture won't be ruined. Worried about your child locking you out? Good news: The Door Monkey works on both sides of the door, so you'll never lose entry while your kid is inside.
Want to baby proof an entire room in five seconds? Pop on one of these doorknob covers and close the door. These baby proof door knob handles come four to a pack and can be handy for keeping your kid out of spaces like the bathroom or your death-trap home office. Just know that at some point, they will figure out how to pinch and get the door open—pray that this moment comes later rather than sooner.
The Best Baby-Proofing Cabinet Locks and Baby-Proof Drawers
For the first few years of your child’s life, Baker recommends using baby cabinet locks on any cupboards that are below waist level. Even if cabinets don’t hold anything dangerous, child-proofing them will reduce the parent’s stress level. When installing cabinet locks, Baker recommends using hardware instead of adhesives to ensure that everything stays secure. She particularly likes spring locks since babies and toddlers are not strong enough to move the mechanism that holds everything shut.
These latches secure cabinets, drawers, appliances, toilet seats, and require dual button operation to release, release and rotate them. These latches are particularly great for corners, and because they use adhesive they won't damage furniture and are easy for adults to remove.
Customization is the key to this baby proofing set, which includes 12 baby proofing locks that let you secure every cupboard and drawer that is exposed and easily accessible to eager hands. What's great is that these locks can be installed on the top, side or bottom of the cabinets and drawers as long as there is flat surface. Which there generally always is.
The Best Baby-Proofing Electrical Outlet Covers
Child-proofing your outlets is essential. Save your child from electrocuting themselves by ensuring that all of your outlets are inaccessible the moment you, or your child, pull a plug out. While outlet plugs do cover the holes, Baker recommends avoiding them since they can become choking hazards if left unattended or pulled out of the wall by little fingers.
You get two for one baby proofing here: This stops children from accessing outlets and prevents cord entanglement as well. Not only does this cover the entire outlet, but it keeps excess appliance cords off the floor, storing up to four feet of cords and keeping them out of reach of little hands.
Thanks to the self-closing design of the wall outlet covers, your kids can't insert anything into the power outlet. This four-pack contains outlet covers that are compatible with all standard outlets and as soon as the plug is removed from the electrical outlet, this child safety outlet covers will automatically close.
The Best Baby-Proofing Fireplace Products
If you’re lucky enough to have a hearth of your own, you’ll want to secure it from your little one, even during summer months, since its lingering soot and hard surface don’t mix well with babies.
Since you need a screwdriver to install and remove it, this babyproof fireplace lock works best during the warmer months when you're not using the fireplace.This will fit your fireplace door as long as the handles are between six and nine inches apart and have a horizontal shape.
The Best Baby-Proofing Corner Guards
Babies tip over and fall, which makes sharp edges a concern. Baker says parents should use padding to cover all edges that might be an issue.
The Best Baby-Proof Garbage Can
Plastic garbage bags can suffocate little ones. The best way to eliminate this danger is to buy a secure garbage can that locks shut.
The genius thing about this garbage can is its slide lock, which securely locks the lid to help keep pets and children from getting into the trash.The Slim Kitchen Simple Step Trash Can from Simple Human holds 40 liters of trash and has an effective slide lock that keeps it secure from little hands.
The Best Bathwater Thermometer
Putting a newborn into bathwater that’s above 104F is dangerous. Baker suggests parents find a simple way to ensure the bath temperature is correct. The CPSC also urges parents to use anti-scald devices for faucets and showers so kids don’t accidentally burn themselves in hot water.
This ducky measures both room and water temperature, and gives you readouts in celsius and Fahrenheit. Plus, the indicator light turns red when the water is too hot and green if it's too cold. You should also check your hot water heater to make sure it’s not set any higher than 120 F.
The Best Baby-Proofing Cord Covers
A large, snaking cord is an easy target for curious hands, one that, if yanked, can cause a large TV to topple over or deliver a jolt of electricity. It’s essential, per Baker, to safely hide cords behind a simple cover.
This brilliant system protects your kids from cords dangling or bunched up on the floor.This Cable Concealer Kit from SimpleCord is easy to install and, best of all, can mount with either adhesive or screws, so if you don’t want to put holes in your wall you don’t have to.
The Best Baby-Proofing Window-Blind Winder
Window blind cords are infamous for the choking risk they pose to small children, so secure them with a child-proof winder.
The Best Baby-Proofing Wall Anchors for Securing Furniture
One of the most important things a parent can do in their home, per Baker, is secure all large pieces of furniture by attaching them to the wall. It only takes a few moments for a small toddler to tip over a heavy item while trying to climb on to it. Use anchors to make sure your dresser or TV doesn’t tip over.
These furniture anchors aren't made of cheap plastic, and are fully impact-resistant.This 10-pack of straps from Skyla Homes come with a variety of screws lengths to ensure you hit a stud when mounting, has easy to operate steel buckles when you want to move things out of the way, and the heavy duty straps adjust simply.
The Best Baby-Proof Window Bars
Baker recommends securing all windows above ground level. First off, she says to move any furniture that will allow easy access to a window. After that, she suggests either keeping them locked and shut when you are not in the room, or investing in a window guard. Window guards (and not screens) are a must to prevent falls. Make sure you limit window openings to four inches or less, including the space between the window guard bars.
The Best Baby-Proofing Toilet Lid Cover
Children can drown in a little as one inch of water according to Baker, so any freestanding bodies of water in your house should be secured.
Adults can use the toilet seat lock, but kiddie fingers cannot. This simple to use (crucial at night) toilet lock from Mommy’s Helper pops on easily, fits most toilets, and will keep the lid securely in place when not in use. Best of all you can simply remove it when you have guests over.
The Best Baby Gate for the Top of Stairs
It sounds obvious, but the CPSC urges parents to use safety gates to stop kids from falling down the stairs or from getting into rooms where they aren’t safe. Parents should look for safety gates that children cannot open easily. For the tops of stairs, parents should only use gates that screw to the wall.
The top of a stairway, Baker says, is the single most important area to secure in your home. There are a few things that you should look for when buying a baby gate for the top of the stairs. It should mount directly into a wall or banister with hardware so it can’t be pulled down. Baker says to save the pressure-mounted gates for doorways or the bottom of the stairs. The other thing to look for is that it had a wide-enough gate you can easily go through it, and that the latch is simple to operate with one hand.
The Best Baby Gate for the Bottom of Stairs
The bottom of the stairs needs to be secured too, but you don’t have to go as heavy-duty as the top, according to Baker, since there’s less risk of falling. A well-made pressure gate will stop most kids in their tracks, or at least slow them down enough until you arrive.
The Multi-Use Deco Extra-Tall Baby Gate from Summer Infant has a wide opening and easy to use opening mechanism that will make parents happy, plus it mounts snug enough that it won’t fall over when pushed on by a curious child. This baby gate has pressure-mounted installation and is 36 inches tall. It fits openings that are 28.5 to 48 inches wide. It's dual-locking.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.
This article was originally published on