25 Home Babyproofing Tips for New Parents

25 Home Babyproofing Tips for New Parents

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You may think you’ll never master the art of swaddling, but your parenting instincts kick in pretty fast when it comes to keeping your baby safe. So, when’s the best time to child-proof your home? 

When to Start Babyproofing

If you’ve already welcomed your newest family member, start now. We’re not passing judgment; we just know how full your days will be from here on out, so “free time” to work on making your home baby-safe won’t magically appear. You have to make it happen.

Even if you’re still anxiously awaiting your new arrival, it’s never too early to start babyproofing. You’ll be glad you did once you’re pacing the hallway at night, trying to bounce your tiny insomniac back to sleep. To make your job less complicated, you can tackle it in phases as your baby grows. 

Now that you know when to start, let’s move on to where.

Where to Babyproof

It’s easiest to break it into baby steps, so to speak. There are some basics to do first. Then, you can go room by room, prioritizing the spaces in which you spend more time with your little one. For help on the specifics in each part of your home, check out our Childproofing Room by Room series.

We all know about covering outlets and locking cabinets, which rank high on the list to protect your crawler, but there are other things throughout your living space that could be dangerous to you, so you’ll want to address those first. When you have a newborn in your arms, the risk is greater. Think slippery floors and tippy furniture.  

Here’s a list of 25 important tips to start babyproofing as soon as you have a newborn in the house (or better yet, before).

Safe for Everyone, Safer for Baby

There are things we should do to make our homes safer, even if no kiddos live there. When you factor in caring for a newborn, the importance reaches a whole new level. The sense of urgency is real. If you’ve been putting off any of the following safety steps, now’s a great time to get them done.  

  1. Make sure you have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and in the hallways outside of the bedrooms. Install new ones wherever they’re missing. Then, test your alarms once a month.
  2. Buy a fire extinguisher and know how to use it.
  3. Put together a first aid kit, and make sure the adults in the house and babysitters know where it is.
  4. Keep emergency contacts and medical information stored in your phone and written down in a common area of your home, like the kitchen.
  5. Put non-slip pads under all rugs. When you’re rushing to get your peanut to the diaper changing station, you don’t want to risk tripping on a loose rug.
  6. Buy a non-slip bath mat. A wet tile floor becomes a slip and slide. Let’s save that game for outside when the kiddos are older.
  7. Put a thick rug or carpet below the diaper changing table.
  8. Check your water heater, and make sure the temperature gauge is set at 120 degrees F (48 degrees Celsius) or lower. Even when you’re giving LO a bath in your kitchen sink, their spastic newborn arm could bump the faucet handle and send a stream of water flowing. Be sure it’s never at a temperature that could scald them.
  9. Cover radiators and heating vents to prevent burns.
  10. Check for chipping paint, especially in older homes, which can be a lead poisoning hazard.

From a Baby’s Eye View

Get down on all fours to get your little one’s perspective. You’ll discover a whole new way of looking at your living room, for example, when you see what’s hiding under the sofa, how wobbly the floor lamp is, how sharp the coffee table corner is, how many more electrical outlets you have than you’re using, and so on. All of these things should get added to your list and checked off sooner than later.

  1. Anchor furniture and TVs to the walls to prevent them from falling.
  2. Locate all electrical outlets, and install covers or plug protectors to any that are unused.
  3. Use covers for power strips. Bundle any cords and hide them out of reach.
  4. Install a fireplace screen, or fence it off with a baby gate to keep curious explorers away from flames, hot glass, or ash.
  5. Use corner cushions for coffee tables or any furniture with sharp edges.
  6. Lock away any board games with marbles or small beads, which can become choking hazards.
  7. Put breakable accessories and art out of reach.
  8. Take stock of your plants, making sure none are toxic, and secure or move any heavy planters.

Keep Them Contained

So, you’ve made sure it’s safer for everyone to move about the house. Now, it’s time to put up boundaries, and lock stuff up to prevent your curious explorer from going where they shouldn’t, or getting into something that could harm them. 

  1. Install safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs to prevent falls from crawlers or toddlers on the upper level, as well as them taking a tumble trying to practice their climbing skills from the bottom.
  2. Put guards on any windows on a high floor to prevent a tot from falling through a screen.
  3. If you have window shades or blinds instead of curtains, tie up the cords and keep them out of reach.
  4. Install safety latches on cabinets and knob covers on doors.
  5. Lock up cleaning supplies. This includes laundry detergent and pods. 
  6. Consider replacing chemical household cleaners with natural alternatives.
  7. Put visitors' purses or bags in a locked room or cabinet, and encourage guests to take medications in their room or the bathroom, making sure to pick up any pills they drop. Remember, your tiny human may not be mobile yet, but setting the expectation now, helps make it a habit later.

For a quick list and links to babyproofing essentials, check out Baby Home Safety Checklist.