How to Childproof Once Baby Is Walking
Finally have a walker on your hands? Congrats! Once baby starts moving, it’ll be hard to get them to slow down. Consider those first steps a sign it’s time to step up your safety game in the toddler-proofing department. Wondering where you should start? According to Debra Holtzman, author of The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety and Healthy Living, look at the space through your child’s eyes. “It’s important to see your home from your child’s new perspective,” she says. “Get down on your hands and knees to get a bird’s eye view of all the potential problems.”
Alison Rhodes, founder of SafetyMom.com, adds that baby will pull everything within reach. It’s important to “be mindful of window cords, curtains and tablecloths," she says. “Baby’s new exploring skills mean you should also be extra-careful to close doors to rooms that are off-limits.” Consider covering door knobs with old socks, which makes them difficult for baby to grasp.
Doing a crawl-through of your home and looking out for items baby can pull on is a great starting point, but there are childproofing precautions to take in each area of the house to keep baby safe. Here, Holtzman and Rhodes weigh in on what you need to know.
- Install window guards. A window guard should prevent the window from opening more than four inches. Window coverings should also be cordless (check out WindowCoverings.org for advice and a free retrofit safety kit).
- Secure heavy furniture, paintings and even televisions to the walls to prevent them from falling.
- Raise breakables out of reach (pro tip: it’s higher than you think).
- All stairs should have baby gates on the top and bottom.
- Remove all potential choking hazards. (As a rule, if the object can fit in an empty toilet roll, it’s not safe.)
- Cushion hard furniture edges with corner guards.
- Block electrical outlets with furniture or outlet covers.
- Elevate plants out of reach (falling leaves can also be a hazard).
- Install a lock on doors to exercise rooms and home offices, where potential dangers abound.
- Move lamps and other wobbly items behind furniture and out of baby’s reach.
- Block baby’s access to any fireplaces, floor heaters or radiators.
- Install a safety latch on all low cabinets and drawers.
- Install safety latches on the refrigerator, freezer and oven door.
- Install guards on stove and oven knobs, and always turn pot handles toward the back wall.
- Store all cleaning products out of sight and reach.
- Lock away plastic wraps and tie bags in knots to avoid strangling and suffocating hazards.
- Secure knives in drawers with safety latches.
- Remove fridge magnets; they’re potential choking hazards.
- Any food or water for pets should be placed where baby can’t reach it.
- Store all appliances with cords, including hair dryers, flat irons, etc.
- Secure the toilet with a safety lock.
- Secure the medicine cabinet and make sure all medicines have childproof tops and are out of baby’s reach.
- Store shampoos and other bath items instead of leaving them in the shower.
- Drop the crib mattress to the lowest position to keep baby from climbing out.
- Remove the mobile from above the crib since baby can now stand up and likely reach it.
- Move the crib away from windows.
- Switch to toy chests without lids or with lightweight removable lids, as children can get trapped.
- Secure dressers, bookshelves and other heavy furniture to the walls to prevent tipovers.
- Install an auto-reverse motion sensor on the garage door so it will recoil if it detects movement.
- If you have a pool, install a four-sided isolation fence that’s at least five feet high and a locked cover on the hot tub. It may also be worthwhile to install a pool alarm.
- Install safety latches and locks on all sliding glass doors.
- Store all yard and gardening tools where baby can’t reach.
In addition to childproofing your home, take the time to teach your child what is off-limits and unsafe. Even if your little one isn’t talking yet, preverbal kids understand far more than what they’re capable of saying. And as always, never hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician with any questions or concerns specific to your child and home.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.