Everyone knows that when you are expecting a baby, you need to baby proof your home. What you may not know is that they sell about a billion baby proofing products for everything you could possibly think of. Do you really need it all? Probably not. So what items can you skimp on? This will vary widely based on your home and your family. Here is my list of baby proofing that you cant afford to skimp on.
A baby proofing staple in any home will be baby gates. Once your child becomes mobile, you will definitely have places that you don’t want them crawling or waddling around. Obviously, you will want to protect your baby from stairs. For my staircases, I prefer a stationary baby gate that secures to the wall and that opens and closes like a door. Pressure gates make me nervous near the stairs because if they aren’t fitted tight enough, they can be knocked down. I gave birth to the baby version of The Hulk, so I wasn’t about to take any chances.
You may want to block door ways for certain rooms of your home. As an example, in my home our laundry/utility room is off of our kitchen and there is no door. We use an adjustable pressure gate to deter our son from going in there. Now that my son is a toddler and in a real bed, we also use an adjustable baby gate to keep him contained to his room at night. Maybe I am overprotective, but I lose sleep over the thought of him wandering the house at night alone, or if he were to sleep walk and fall down the stairs.
The number and type of gates that will be useful will depend on your home and your needs. Luckily, there are many varieties and you can find one for pretty much any area you may need.
This one may seem like a no-brainer. We have all heard the warning about fingers in electrical sockets. So, I crawled around all over my house and stuck the plastic covers in each outlet near the floor. Check that off the baby proofing list, right?
WRONG! I thought I was done. Then my child became mobile, and I was blessed with a climber. My son climbed everything and I mean EVERYTHING. I never realized how many electrical outlets my home had above knee level until my little climber showed me. So my advice is to make sure you purchase enough outlet covers to cover every outlet in your home. Because your child will find them all.
This is one baby proofing step I thought I could skip. I kept all my cleaning chemicals in a high cabinet in my laundry/utility room, which was also closed off with a gate. That’s the only danger, right? Wrong again. Now, I have no issue with my child pulling out all of my plastic storage containers and bowls and making a big mess. However, I didn’t consider my little terror hitting himself in the forehead with one of my heavy frying pans. Or deciding to play with come of the glass cookware I have stored in the back of one of the lower cabinets. So needless to say, I had to find a way to keep him out.
They make a variety of styles for a variety of cabinets. It may take some trial and error to find the type that will work best for your home. We opted to go with adhesive plastic latches. They worked great when my son was small, but now that he is 3, he can pop them open himself. Luckily, at his age, he now understands what he can and cant play with. They did their job when he was a baby and for that I am thankful.
I wasn’t worried about this until the day my son decided to pull another of his signature “Baby Hulk” moves, and yank that door right open. Fortunately, the oven was not on at the time. But since I cook dinner 5 nights a week, this was a huge issue. We found a latch that works great. It holds firm against a strong child yanking on the door. It is easy to pop open so there is no hassle for mom or dad when trying to bake.
So if you are blessed with a climbing child, this is an absolute must for baby proofing. Even if your child doesn’t typically climb, you never know when they will try to reach something too high and use the dresser for a little boost. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 1 child dies every 2 weeks from furniture tipping and falling on them. (Source)
Furniture should be properly anchored to walls to prevent tipping. For information on what items need to be secured and tips to prevent this, click here.
Especially if you have a two story house, you will want to invest in baby proofing your windows. For whatever reason, my husband and I had the most difficult time finding any product for this in stores near us. We ended up finding window wedges online. The stick to the window with a very strong Velcro, much too strong for small children to be able to pull off, but not so secure that an adult wouldn’t be able to remove them in an emergency situation.
My home is a split level. The lower half is slightly below ground level. At the back of our house, there is a dug out patio. This means that upstairs windows facing the back of the house look down on a concrete patio a full two stories down. Not a fall I would want my child to have.
Baby proofing can be overwhelming. I have found that your pediatrician can give you information on what things to consider baby proofing in your home. Also, observe your child closely as they become mobile. You may discover things you missed. Hopefully, this list will help highlight some things you may not have considered. As with all parenting, this is a learn as you go area.