Once a baby begins to become more mobile, one of the most important tasks a new parent must tackle is baby proofing their home. The environment must adapt: Doors must be latched; corners must be softened; plugs must be covered; everything must be in a safe and secure place. Finding the right materials and knowing what to attend to can be tricky. So, to get some advice on what parents should do we turned to Staci Baker a professional baby proofer and the owner of Baby Safe Homes in Denver, Colorado.
“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 six-to-nine month mark that things get dicey.”
When first tackling 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 you 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.”
Here, according to Baker, are the baby proofing products parents should consider, as well as trouble spots that need to be changed.
Best Baby Gate for the Top of Stairs
The top of a stairway, per Baker, 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 bannister 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.
Recommendation: The Stairway Angle Baby Gate from Cardinal Gates offers all of the above and comes in a variety of finishes to match your home.
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. A well-made pressure gate will stop most kids in their tracks, or at least slow them down enough until you arrive.
Recommendation: 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.
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.
Recommendation: 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.
Best Bath Water Thermometer
Putting a newborn into bathwater that’s above 104F is dangerous, so, per Baker, parents need a simple way to ensure the bath temperature is correct.
Recommendation This rubber ducky temperature gauge from Safety 1st has an easy to read strip on the bottom that will alert you if the water is too hot, plus it also is a fun bath toy. Baker also suggests you check your hot water heater to make sure it’s not set any higher than 120 F.
Best Baby Proof 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 a jolt of electricity. It’s essential, per Baker, to safely hide cords behind a simple cover.
Recommendation: 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.
Best Baby Proofing For Window Blinds
Hanging window blinds are a hidden household danger, one that poses a strangulation risk. Many people tie cords up, but Baker recommends installing small blind cleats to ensure that they are never left inadvertently in reach.
Recommendation: These clear plastic cleats from Amazon are easy to install and won’t stand out.
Best Baby Proof Locks For Cabinets and Drawers
For the first few years of your child’s life, Baker recommends securing any cabinets that are below waist level. Even if they don’t hold anything dangerous, the parent’s stress level will be lowered. When installing them, baker recommends using hardware instead of adhesives to ensure that everything stays secure. There are three types of locks that she uses with her customers.
Baby Proof Spring Locks
These are simple to use and will ensure that little hands cannot open any drawers, or doors, when you are not looking. Baker particularly likes spring locks since babies and toddlers are not strong enough to move the mechanism that holds everything shut.
Recommendation: This 12-pack from Vkania should help you get a good start on securing everything.
Best Baby Proof Swivel LocksThe nice thing about swivel locks is that you can easily swing the mechanism out of the way when you know you are going to need to quickly get back into a certain cabinet or drawer. Then when done, you can put it back into position to secure everything.
Recommendation: This Swivel Lock from KidCo installs with screws and is easy to use.
Best Baby Proof Magnetic Locks Many people love installing magnetic locks in their house, and they do work great, but there are a few things to be cautious of according to Baker. The first is that if you lose the key to open the lock things can grind to a halt until you locate it, or buy a new one. The other issue is that over time the finish on the outside of your cabinets can get damaged from dragging the key over the outside to gain access.
Recommendation: This 12-pack from Baby Trust comes with two keys.
Best 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.
Recommendation: This 6-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.
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.
Recommendation: This foam bumper material from Roving Cove goes on easy, has corner guards, and should not ruin your walls when you take it down.
Best Baby Proof Electric Outlet Covers
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.
Recommendation: These self-closing outlet covers from Jambini slam shut the moment they are not being used, install in minutes, and are a breeze to use.
Best Safety Night Light
Nothing is worse, says Baker, than stubbing a toe during a late night feeding, so ensure that does not happen by getting a baby safe nightlight.
Recommendation: This one from Maz-Tek is fully sealed so you child cannot gain access to the LED bulb inside and also allows you to adjust the level of light you need with a simple switch.
Best Rug Pad
Securing all the rugs in the house will save you from tears flowing when little ones trip over them. Baker recommends felt pads underneath that will hold them in place, keep small ridges from forming, and best of all are not toxic if they end up in someone’s mouth.
Recommendation: This simple felt pad is thin enough at 3/8th of an inch to blend in nicely and you can cut it to fit.
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.
Recommendation: This one from Guardian Angel pops in place easily and has bars that are less than four-inches to ensure no one can get through. There are multiple sizes available to ensure a good fit.
Best Baby Proofing Gear For Fireplace
There are two things to watch out when it comes to fireplace safety. The first is little heads banging into hearths and ledges inadvertently. The second is inquiring hands getting burned. Baker recommends solving both of these issues with a fireplace fence. You can install it right before they begin to crawl and take it down once they are old enough to understand the dangers.
Recommendation: This one from North States has a latching gate, anchors directly into the wall, and has numerous joints to allow you a custom fit. Plus, it’s big enough you can also use it to create a play area when needed.
Best Baby Proof 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.
Recommendation: 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.
Best Baby Proofing Door Guards
Keeping your doors secure, while ensuring no pinched fingers or toes is important when baby proofing your home. Knowing that doors are shut when they should be allows new parents the chance to relax for a few moments when their child starts to move around. Here are two systems that Baker recommends to her clients.
Swinging Doors GuardsWhile the plastic covers that you put over a classic doorknob look appealing Baker suggests you ignore them, they are a pain to use.
Recommendation: Door Monkey Pinch Guard. It is easy to use, works from both sides of the door, is a pinch guard, and best of all it works with any type of door handle.
Sliding Door GuardsWhile most sliding doors seem heavy enough that a child could not open them, you would be surprised at what a toddler can get into.
Recommendation: These simple flip locks from Ashtonbee install directly on the glass and ensure that your door will not open any further that you desire. Best of all they can be closed if you want the door fully open for parties or such.