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The first few months with your new baby bring oodles of beautiful moments — snuggles, cuddles, wiggles, giggles, and lots of sleeping, feeding, swinging, and tummy time. But when your little one masters the army crawl, be warned: There’s a long battle against boo-boos ahead.
As your baby increasingly moves more independently, this adventurous spirit can put them in harm’s way. While it’s impossible to account for every possible danger — accidents aren’t always preventable and can happen anywhere in a split second — you can take some important steps to make your baby’s home safer to explore.
Before we jump into our checklist of babyproofing products, let’s start with why we recommend them. Our list is prioritized based on preventing the most common (and most potentially serious) injuries that affect young children. So let’s review them as referenced by the
The early days of crawling are adorably exciting, but you soon realize the same cute, clumsy gait can lead to tumbles and noggin knocks. This is one reason why falls are the top cause of nonfatal injuries in young kids. Among infants under age 1, over half of all nonfatal injuries are fall-related.
The next most common injury in young children is caused by objects scarily pinning or falling upon them. Large furniture pieces that aren’t properly anchored to the wall can be a common and dangerous culprit.
Children up to age 4 also experience the highest rates of other potentially fatal injuries, such as suffocation, drowning, burns, and poisoning.
While you can decrease your child’s chances of injury by thoughtfully entering the babyproofing zone, we know we’re adding yet another set of tasks to your already overwhelming parenthood to-do list. That’s why we’re here to arm you with our babyproofing tips and checklist to better conquer the battle of (most) boo-boos.
These recommendations aren’t inclusive of every babyproofing option, and no safety product is as good as attentive parental or caregiver supervision at all times.
Many don’t realize it, but young children can drown wherever there’s any standing water.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2019 policy statement on the prevention of drowning stated that in infants 1 year and under, drowning usually occurs in buckets or baths. In children 1 year and through the preschool years, pools bring the most danger.
Fortunately, with 100 percent supervision around any standing water and a few safety products, you can significantly reduce your child’s chances of experiencing a potentially devastating water-related injury.
Toilet lid locks
At some point, toilets become a wonder to babies and toddlers. Their precocious minds are drawn to reach or throw toys into the toilet water, which can lead to leaning over and falling into the toilet, which they may be unable to get out of.
Consider toilet lid locks on all of the toilets in your home to prevent your tot from getting into this dirty and dangerous space.
Nonskid bath mats
When your baby has graduated to baths in the “big-kid” tub, you might look into bath seats to keep them more supported in the water. It’s important that these bath seats don’t bring a false sense of security — infants should still always be supervised while in a bath seat to prevent accidental drowning.
Once your baby is ready for more independent bath time, a nonskid bath mat can add some protection against slipping. Slipping in the bath can lead to bumped heads and drowning, so this is a good safety measure.
Pool safety gates and door latches
Pools offer many fun childhood memories, but trouble can lurk in the waters if safety measures aren’t properly taken to keep young kids safe.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends installing a 4-feet-tall, 4-sided pool fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate that isolates the pool from the house and the yard.
Many pool safety gates are available from professional installers.
You can also consider taking an extra step to secure doors that lead outside to your pool. If you have sliding doors, sliding door latches can prevent your child from venturing out unattended.
Furniture wall anchors
Sometimes, the growing strength of your baby can surprise you. In the blink of an eye, your little Spider-man (or Spider-girl) may turn climbing your furniture into their ultimate mission.
If not properly anchored to the wall, the furniture piece and all of its contents can come crashing down, causing a serious fall, injury, and/or entrapment.
Dressers, TVs, and bookcases are a few of the most common culprits. But you can help prevent this with properly installed wall mount anchors, such as a fabric wall anchor or a more heavy-duty metal wall anchor.
Appliance and front-loading washer and dryer locks
Young kids do the darndest things, such as climbing into the front-loading washer or dryer. These weren’t designed for exiting, so your tot could get in and not be able to get out. Add a mischievous older sibling who decides to turn it on into the mix, and you have a dangerous situation.
Fortunately, this can be prevented with a variety of simple locks to keep trouble at bay.
Other appliances can also be harmful if accessible to little hands, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and microwaves. Appliance locks can secure many appliance models, but check the product you choose to see if there are particular limitations.
Stair or balcony banister guards
Kids learn by experiencing and don’t quite understand the risks involved, so they stick heads, hands, and feet into places they shouldn’t. This includes between stair, loft, and even balcony banisters. The good news is that there are easy to install net-like banister guards to prevent these accidents.
Falls are the leading cause of injury among young kids. They can happen for a number of reasons and occur anywhere.
You can’t babyproof for every fall scenario, but you can account for the ones that could lead to the most harm, such as those from stairs and onto hard surfaces.
Baby door gates
You never thought you’d have to play security guard in your own home, but if there’s an unsafe area in which you don’t want baby to roam, it’s wise to use baby door gates to their full potential. The specific one you choose for doorways will depend on your space, style, and personal preference.
See our picks for the best baby gates.
Stair gates are a must-have to keep your baby safe from falls. The stair gate on the top of your stairway should be securely anchored in the wall and fully locked so it can’t dislodge if a child is leaning or pushing on it.
Padded floor mats
In frequently used play areas with hard flooring, consider a padded, nonslip floor mat to soften a fall should one occur. As an added bonus, some can double as a yoga or exercise mat down the road.
Furniture corner protectors
Kids can trip, fall, slip, and slide into just about anything, so proofing with some furniture corner protectors on head-level furniture — such as coffee tables, dining tables, and dressers — might prevent an injury.
To prevent fire injuries, one of the most important steps you can take for your entire family is ensuring that all of your fire alarms are installed to code and in working order. It’s also important to have at least one functioning fire extinguisher accessible in your home should a housefire occur.
Here are a few other fire-related babyproofing products to consider.
A padded fireplace hearth guard can make the fireplace surface softer — and therefore safer. And to block access to the fireplace itself, there are fireplace door locks and fireplace baby gate products to shield your child from dubious curiosity.
Electrical outlet plugs
Nearly every baby will discover the electrical outlets at some point. After all, how cool it must be to have that first Thomas-Edison-like moment? You plug something in and it magically lights up, sings, or does something mind-blowing!
The problem is that it’s just not safe for wee little ones despite their brewing interests in cause and effect.
It’s important to use outlet plugs for any reachable electrical socket that’s not in use throughout your entire home. Some youngsters will catch on to the simple ones and find ways to pull them out, so look for outlet plug products that are a little tougher to master removing.
It doesn’t take long for babies to catch on to the fact that delicious food comes out of the oven. As such, they may become astute and try to open it while something’s baking, which could be very dangerous. Using a stove lock can prevent this from happening.
You can also consider covers for gas burner and oven knobs so your child is unable to turn them on. And for toddlers with growing reach, a stove guard can prevent little hands from pulling hot pot and pan handles (and their contents) down from the stove.
Extremely hot bathwater can be a burn risk for young children. A bathwater thermometer can tell you when the water reaches a safe temperature.
Suffocation can be caused by several things during infancy and beyond. Our list focuses on instances that babyproofing products can help prevent — but please do be aware that the top cause of infant suffocation is soft bedding and other sleep-related factors, as outlined in a 2019 study.
Window blind cords
According to a 2018 article, window blind cords were found to be a significant cause of injury to children, especially those ages 6 and under. They can lead to entrapment and suffocation, among other injuries.
If your home has blinds with cords, a window blind cord winder can bind the long cords so young children can’t access or pull them.
Shop for window blind cord winders online.
Baby monitoring devices
For the super tech-savvy parents, several baby monitoring devices can track your baby’s breathing, heart rate, and temperature while sleeping. They’ll send an alert if any of those metrics fall below or above the recommended healthy range.
Some parents find these devices can bring an extra level of comfort, but they shouldn’t give a false sense of security for other safe sleep measures and maximum parental supervision.
See our top choices for baby monitors.
Babies and young children don’t yet understand what could be dangerous, and they’ll be motivated to investigate the same household items that mom and dad use frequently. That means that cleaning solutions, laundry detergents (especially pods), medicines, and other potentially poisonous agents can become a source of serious concern.
Next, store the nationwide poison control center’s phone number in your mobile phone, and call if you think your child has experienced poisoning yet remains awake and alert. That number is 1-800-222-1222. If your child is unconscious, dial 911 immediately.
Cabinet locks are also helpful for keeping small objects or miscellaneous household items that can be choking hazards out of reach.
If you’d like to lock entire rooms within your home, a door lock is a good safety barrier. While the doorknob or door handle options are popular, many toddlers master them quickly. So, a top-mount door lock can bring more peace of mind.
Every loving parent wants to protect their child while supporting their natural wonder to investigate and learn. By taking a few steps to babyproof, your home can be safe and full of great adventures.
Our list focuses on products that can reduce the likelihood of the most common injuries in children from birth to age 4, which are falls, entrapment, suffocation, drowning, burns, and poisoning.
It’s our hope that this babyproofing product list will help you triumph through those injury-prone early years with a healthy, happy kid — and as a more relaxed parent.