With everyone spending more time at home, it’s important to be sure your house is safe for your baby. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time parent or a seasoned pro – baby proofing your house is a must!
Unfortunately, doing this for your whole house can be expensive. A recent HomeAdvisor survey found that people spend an average of $442 to child proof their home. What’s more, a professional baby proofing service could set you back nearly $1,300!
While it can definitely be pricey, the process is nonnegotiable when it comes to the safety of your child. It can also save you money on damage should your little one accidentally break something expensive, not to mention medical bills in the event they’re injured at home.
Whether you’re hoping to cut down on costs or just take on a DIY project before the baby arrives, you can baby proof much of your home using supplies and materials you already have on hand. Use this guide to help you DIY the baby proofing process and keep your little ones safe.
Use the links below to jump to a specific section:
- When to start baby proofing
- Room-by-room baby proofing hacks
- Other must-know baby safety tips
- Discounted baby safety supplies
- [Infographic] DIY baby proofing tricks
When to Start Baby Proofing
When you think of baby proofing, you may think of keeping a mischievous toddler out of your kitchen knives and cleaning supplies. But baby safety is something you should begin thinking about before your little one is even born, especially since some tasks may take time.
Though your baby is still an infant, there are a few must-do things when it comes to safety:
1. Keep the baby’s crib bare to prevent suffocation. Remove baby blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, and stuffed animals from your baby’s crib. These items present suffocation risks and may contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
2. Lower the water heater to 120ºF (49ºC). What feels like a safe water temperature for you may be too hot for the sensitive skin of your infant.
3. Never heat a bottle in the microwave. This may cause milk or formula to heat unevenly, leaving hot spots that can burn a baby’s mouth.
Watch out – your little one is officially on the move. A mobile baby presents a whole new set of risks when it comes to your home’s safety, so be sure to do another sweep of the house for anything that needs baby proofing!
4. Remove dangerous objects at eye level. Things like electrical outlets, small toys, cleaning supplies, and low cabinets are now fair game for your baby.
5. Establish boundaries with pets and other children. Now that your baby is exploring more on their own, you’ll want to be sure they don’t accidentally get stepped on!
6. Close off access to the stairs. Whether you invest in a heavy-duty baby gate or create your own, now is the time to protect your little one from taking a tumble down the stairs.
Your baby is growing so fast, but a standing baby means your baby proofing process must now rise to a new level too.
7. Pad sharp corners. As your little one learns to stand by pulling themselves up, you’ll want to begin padding sharp corners on surfaces like coffee tables, kitchen tables, bookcases, and desks.
8. Look for uneven surfaces. Have a sunken living room or steps down to the laundry room? This is the time to scan your home for uneven surfaces and limit access to them!
It may seem like just yesterday that your little one was a newborn, but today they’re walking around confidently and are ready to explore. To match their curiosity, step up your baby proofing game once again.
9. Secure the doors to the refrigerator and oven. You won’t be able to keep your eyes on your baby all the time, so put your mind at ease by locking the doors to your refrigerator and oven.
10. Consider blocking access to certain rooms with a baby gate. If you haven’t already set one up, a baby gate or other barricade is a great way to keep new walkers out of certain rooms.
11. Keep external doors locked. The last thing you want is to find your toddler toddling around in the backyard unattended. Keep external doors locked to prevent your baby from getting outside without you.
Baby Proofing Tips for Every Room
Every room in your house needs baby proofing, especially as your little one gets older. Use these tips to keep your baby safe at home. Plus, you can capitalize on the opportunity to DIY certain baby proofing steps when possible! This will help you save money on expensive baby proofing supplies and make your life easier in the process.
The kitchen is filled with all sorts of things babies love to explore. Unfortunately, many of those things could be harmful to your little one. That’s why it’s important to do thorough sweeps of your kitchen to ensure dangerous objects are out of reach for tiny hands.
To prevent your curious little one from getting too comfortable in the kitchen, there are several ways to baby proof. First, consider adding a baby gate to prevent access entirely. You can either purchase a baby gate from retailers who carry baby supplies, or create your own using a blanket.
While preventing access to the kitchen is a great solution, cautious parents should also consider adapting cabinet doors, refrigerators, and other kitchen supplies. Here are a few DIY ways to baby proof the kitchen.
12. Lock cabinet doors with hair ties. A hair tie can be wrapped around cabinets with knobs and a yardstick can be wedged into pull handles to prevent access. This will protect babies and toddlers from sharp objects, heavy pots, and cleaning supplies.
13. Use Command hooks and rubber bands to lock fridge and oven doors. Attach one Command hook to the door and one to the outer edge of the appliance. Wrap a heavy-duty rubber band around each command hook to keep the door closed.
14. Remove stove knobs. You can easily remove the knobs from your stove by pulling them straight out and away from the stove. Store them in a container on top of your counter so they’re easily accessible when you need them.
15. Use paper to cover the refrigerator’s water dispenser. Hiding the dispenser will prevent messes and slips. You can cut out a piece of paper to create a flap that hides the dispenser from little ones while leaving it available to adults.
16. Avoid a trashcan mishap with velcro and hot glue. Glue velcro strips to your trashcan to secure the lid and prevent young children from getting inside.
While the living room is often the heart of the home, it’s also a place that should be modified once a baby arrives. Especially for babies who are beginning to stand and take their first steps, baby proofing the living room is a must. Use these hacks to make the living room safe for your baby.
17. Anchor heavy furniture to the wall with L-brackets. These brackets are inexpensive, can be purchased at any hardware store, and will prevent young children from accidentally pulling furniture down on top of them.
18. Prevent head injuries with tennis ball corner protectors. For babies learning to stand up, most coffee tables are at the perfect height for a bump to the head. If you have a coffee table or other surface with sharp corners, an old tennis ball is the perfect solution. Cut a slit in the tennis ball and shove it on to the corner – you can even tape it in place if you like.
19. Cover electrical outlets with baby wipe lids. Once you’re done with a package of baby wipes, don’t throw it away! Use the lid as a makeshift outlet cover. Remove it from the rest of the wipe package and glue it to the outlet plate. You’ll be able to open and close the lid as needed to access the outlet, but little ones will be protected from getting too close.
- Child safety tip: Never cover an outlet with duct tape. Aside from drawing your baby’s attention, duct tape also contains metal particles which can conduct electricity and produce a shock if tampered with.
20. Keep dangling pull cords out of reach with thumbtacks. A simple thumbtack or pushpin serves as the perfect DIY hook to neatly hold cords from blinds or curtains. These cords present strangulation risks for young children, so they should be kept up high and out of reach.
Lots of babies love bath time, but that doesn’t mean the bathroom is a safe place for your baby to play unsupervised! From shampoo bottles to toilet lids, it’s important to protect your little ones in the bathroom. These DIY tricks will help you baby proof the bathroom.
21. Keep little ones out of the toilet with strategically placed Command hooks. Attach one hook to the toilet lid and another to the outer rim, then connect them with a hair tie. Adults and older children will be able to undo the makeshift lock easily, but nosy toddlers won’t be able to open the lid.
22. Prevent a mess of toilet paper with rubber bands. Mobile babies and toddlers may think unwinding the entire toilet paper roll is a blast, but if you want to keep your bathroom clean, it’s important to baby proof the toilet paper. Just wrap a rubber band around the roll before putting it in the holder.
23. Add plastic wrap to bottle caps to prevent spills and poisoning. Tear off a strip of plastic wrap and put it over the opening of shampoo, body washes, and other bottled liquids – use a rubber band to secure it if you like. Screw the lid back on and only remove the plastic wrap when you need to use the bottle. This hack also works well for medication bottles, cleaning supplies, and any other containers you don’t want your little one getting in to!
24. Prevent head injuries with an oven mitt. During bath time, place an oven mitt over the water faucet once you’re finished filling up the tub. This will protect your little one’s head from getting bumped on any sharp edges.
With so many parents working from home these days, it’s important to baby proof your home office to keep your little ones safe. Charging cables, electrical outlets, and desk drawers are all safety risks for babies. Here are a few ways to baby proof your office, DIY style.
25. Tuck cords out of view with paper towel rolls. Keep cords, cables, and chargers out of your curious baby’s hands (and mouth) with a paper towel roll. Just bundle up the cords and tuck them into the cardboard roll. You can even decorate the roll with paints, washi tape, or markers!
26. Limit access to the room with socks. If you’d like to prevent your baby or toddler from coming into the office without supervision, there’s an easy hack for that! Just place a sock over the door handle. Little hands won’t be able to grip hard enough to turn the doorknob, but you’ll be able to go in and out easily. This trick works well for every room in the house.
Though you’ll likely spend plenty of time in the laundry room when you have a baby, that doesn’t mean your baby should. Most laundry rooms have chemicals and other dangerous objects, so take caution when allowing your little one inside.
Keep all cleaning supplies and laundry detergents out of reach. If you must store them within reach of a baby or toddler, add a layer of plastic wrap inside the bottle cap, secured with a rubber band, to prevent spills and keep liquids away from your little one.
If you use detergent pods, be sure to keep them inside a baby proof container.
Other Places to Baby Proof
When it comes to the safety of your little one, it’s important to think outside the box. Everyday objects and activities can present dangers to your child, so take the time to extend your baby proofing process to these areas as well.
While you shouldn’t spare any expenses when it comes to a certified car seat, there are a few easy ways to make car rides even safer for your little one.
27. Consider installing your car seat in the middle of the back seat. This gives your child the maximum distance from either side of the car in the event of a side-on collision and will also prevent curious hands from playing with buttons and handles on car doors.
28. Use a safety mirror to keep an eye on your baby while driving. You can either purchase a baby-specific mirror that attaches directly to the backseat headrest, or make your own using a hand-held mirror and some fabric.
29. Skip the expensive car seat protector and use a beach towel instead. Seat protectors may cause your baby’s car seat to slide around during travel. Opt for a much cheaper version you probably already own: a beach towel. The rough surface of the towel will hold your baby’s car seat in place and provide a barrier from spills, crumbs, and any other messes your little one makes.
As much as your baby may love the family dog, it’s best to keep pet supplies out of reach. Things like pet food, toys, and leashes should all be kept away from babies and young children whenever possible.
30. Ask yourself the following questions if your baby shares a home with pets:
- Pet food: Is the pet food in reach of babies or small children? If yes, consider moving it to a location your child doesn’t have access to.
- Dog doors: Do you have a dog door your child might try to squeeze through? If yes, it’s possible your little one’s head could get stuck or they could get outside without supervision.
- Pet toys: Does your pet have small toys in the house or yard? If yes, they may present a choking hazard to babies and toddlers.
- Other pet supplies: Do you leave dog leashes dangling from hooks? Is the cat’s litter box easily accessible? These things present dangers to young children.
House and Garden Plants
Have a collection of gorgeous greenery in your home? Unfortunately, your house and garden plants could be dangerous to babies who are beginning to stand up and move around.
It’s best to keep all plants away from pets, babies, and children. You can DIY a hanging planter using supplies you already have around the house, including old plastic containers, string, mason jars, and more.
Discounted Baby Safety Supplies
If you’re more comfortable using dedicated baby proofing products, check out the following retailers. They carry everything from specific locks and latches to baby gates and monitors to help you keep your baby safe. Be sure to save money on these purchases by looking for free or discounted baby gear.
- Amazon: Amazon carries a wide range of baby safety products, including furniture anchors, cabinet locks, and outlet covers.
- Bed Bath and Beyond: Browse their selection of baby health and safety supplies and get free shipping on orders of $39 or more.
- Buy Buy Baby: This baby-specific retailer carries all kinds of baby and child safety gear, including baby gates, protective covers, and more.
- Target: Aside from baby proofing supplies, Target also carries adorable baby clothes, travel gear, diapers, and more.
- Walmart: Get everything from baby bottles to safety gates and more at Walmart. You can also create a free baby registry!
DIY Baby Proofing Tricks
We’ve put together a visual guide to some of the easiest DIY hacks you can use to baby proof your home. While it’s important to avoid cutting corners when it comes to your baby’s safety, there are plenty of easy ways you can improve the safety of your home and protect your little one from harm.
Whether you’re expecting for the first time or are a seasoned parent, these baby proofing hacks will help you keep your little ones safe at home. Your child’s safety is your top priority, so use these DIY tips and tricks to adapt your home for the youngest members of your family.
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