Baby proofing is the best way to prevent avoidable accidents and injuries in your home. When your baby starts to crawl, usually around 6-9 months of age, they will have access to lots of new things which appear exciting to them but can be dangerous.
We’ve compiled a list of great baby proofing suggestions for everyone’s home.
Tips for Baby Proofing the Kitchen
- Use cabinet locks on all lower cabinets. Try to avoid your baby watching how you undo the locks, as they can very quickly learn from watching. You can even pretend that the locks are more complicated than they actually are – just to throw them off the scent!
- Pay extra attention to the cabinet where you keep your cleaning supplies like bleach and detergents. Move these to a higher cabinet wherever possible.
- Put locks on your drawers to prevent your baby from reaching sharp utensils. This also stops them from using drawers as a staircase to the countertop!
- Put a lock on your dishwasher. A full dishwasher gives your baby easy access to kitchen utensils and glass items.
- Keep plastic bags, like bin bags and reusable shopping bags out of reach as they pose a suffocation risk.
- Put a lock on your bin. Your baby rummaging through your bin would not only be messy and unhygienic but can allow them to eat something unsafe.
- Put protective cushioning on sharp corners. Remember your baby will bump into things at a different angle than you would, so pay attention to the underneath of surfaces.
- Keep the spice rack out of reach. Common household spices and seasonings can be toxic to babies in larger quantities.
- Put a lock on your fridge and freezer to prevent your baby from eating something unsafe.
- Keep alcohol out of reach. Your baby doesn’t know the difference between their juice and your cocktails!
- Use back rings on the stove while cooking. This reduces the chance of your little one reaching the handles.
- Use stove knob covers to prevent your baby from switching on the oven or stove. This is especially important when you have a gas cooker.
- Secure large appliances to the wall to prevent possible tip-over. Many appliances may become off-balance if your child were to climb on them or swing from the doors.
- Do not use tablecloths as your baby can pull them and cause objects to fall on them.
- Consider using a safety gate to stop your baby from crawling under your feet whilst cooking. Your baby naturally wants to be wherever you are, but tripping you up during cooking could be extremely dangerous for both of you.
- Use a sink strainer to avoid unwanted items going down your plugholes.
Tips for Baby Proofing the Bathroom
- Remove the key or bolt which locks your bathroom door to prevent your baby from locking themselves in. You could use a bolt lock placed high on the door to lock your bathroom door instead.
- Use a lock on the toilet seat. This prevents your baby from trying to peek into the bowl, losing their balance and possibly drowning in the water. Remember, babies can drown in just an inch of water. It also stops them from putting things into the toilet and causing blockages.
- Empty all water once you’re finished using it. Whether it’s the sink or the bath, your baby needs constant supervision around any amount of water.
- Keep all toiletries out of reach. Toothpaste, mouthwashes, shampoos, etc. all have scents that your baby may find enticing as a snack.
- Keep sharp objects like nail clippers and tweezers out of reach. Use a cabinet lock if your bathroom cabinet is low enough for your baby to reach.
Tips for Baby Proofing the Electricals
- Secure all wires to prevent them from dangling. A dangling wire can enable your baby to pull an appliance on top of themselves, as well as posing a strangulation risk.
- Pay extra attention to phone and device chargers. People often unplug the device and leave the charger plugged in. Your baby can then put the charger into their mouth and get a nasty electrical burn.
Tips for Baby Proofing the Stairs, Windows and Doors
- Install window restrictors to stop your baby from opening a window too wide and falling out.
- Install safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Remove hanging cords from blinds and curtains. By law, blinds fitted after 2014 must have cords installed higher than 1.5m from the ground which are tightly secured to the wall. They also have an easy-break mechanism so children cannot hang from the looped cord. If your blinds were installed before 2014, they may not have these safety features. Using a cleat is an easy way to secure hanging cords from older blinds.
- Use door latches or locks to stop your baby from escaping through the front door.
- Use foam pinch guards on doors to prevent them from slamming on the baby’s little fingers.
Tips for Baby Proofing the Furniture
- Anchor furniture to the wall to prevent tipping over. This is especially important for chests of drawers, as the weight of the top drawer opening causes the centre of gravity to shift forward and potentially tip on your child.
- Attach edge guards on any sharp corners to prevent nasty bumps.
Surprising safety hazards:
Balloons can be incredibly dangerous for your little one. When a balloon pops, your floor is littered with pieces of latex or rubber. These are some of the worst things your baby can choke on because the pieces can form a lid on their windpipe.
Whether it’s your own handbag or someone who’s visiting your home, keep it out of your child’s reach. Children love to rummage, however, handbags can contain all sorts of dangerous items for your baby. For example, painkillers or other medications, sweet-smelling cosmetics or sharp objects.
Many of us may come in from doing the food shopping and place the heavy bags on the floor. This can present an exciting opportunity for your baby to grab something unsafe to eat. For example, uncut grapes, fruit with stones in the middle, or non-edible items.
Many common house plants are toxic if ingested. Your baby might take a bite out of a plant out of curiosity, or they may sample a handful of the dirt!