Baby Proofing 101: Baby Proofing Hacks for New Parents
Eat. Sleep. Poop. Cry. Coo.
Chances are, that was the extent of the excitement that came with your baby for the first couple months of their lives.
Fast forward a few months and prepare yourself.
You’re about to embark on a never-ending game of Pacman. They’re going to always be on the move and you’ll be chasing them.
As your baby gets older and becomes MUCH more mobile, you’re going to notice that they have an incredible sense of curiosity, but ZERO sense of danger.
Because of this, it’s your job as a parent to learn all of the baby proofing hacks out there and become a pro at childproofing everything.
As you know very well by now, there’s a lot of baby safety information available to parents.
And luckily for us, there are a lot of childproofing products at our disposal as well.
The reason why childproofing is important is simple… to keep your kid safe. The last thing you want is to have a preventable injury happen and then you wonder why you didn’t take the necessary steps to prevent it.
I’m going to break it down by developmental stage. Keep in mind that each developmental phase builds on the next.
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. I only recommend products I love or would personally use.
Baby Proofing Hacks for the Rolling Stage
Store Harsh Chemicals Out of Reach
Although this seems like a no-brainer, it’s amazing the number of parents who overlook things.
Take a walk through your house right now, and I bet you find things at floor level that isn’t safe for your baby.
If you are about to have a baby who is mobile, you need to literally crawl around your entire house on your hands and knees. You don’t spend your every day at their level, so unless you get down and see what they do, you have no idea what they’re capable of grabbing.
A harsh chemical is anything that can be hazardous to your kids.
You’re looking for things like cleaning products, dish soap, soap pods, nail polish, nail polish remover, mouth wash, medication, first aid products, basically anything they can grab and put in their mouths.
Make sure that these kinds of products are either up out of baby’s reach, or that they are locked up in such a way that the kids can’t get in.
Electrical Cord and Outlet Safety
Every house has cords.
If you own appliances, there are cords in your house. As I mentioned before, you really need to crawl around your house to know what cords are within your baby’s reach.
Even when they’re rolling around, if they pull on a cord, they can easily pull something down into themselves that could cause an injury.
Not only that but if you don’t have something plugged into an outlet, your baby can put their fingers into the outlet itself.
A simple fix for this is to buy outlet plug covers.
These Mommy’s Helper Outlet Covers are super cheap, come in a pack of 36, but they could save your baby’s life.
One of the awesome baby proofing hacks I stumbled upon was to use band-aids if you were traveling. All you do is take the center part of the band-aid and put it over the outlet itself. Then, when you leave, you just take them off.
I know from experience that traveling with toddlers isn’t the easiest, but this safety hack is a big help!
Bath Time Safety
First and foremost, you should NEVER leave your baby unattended near water.
Bath time is something that starts the first week you come home from the hospital and will continue on forever. So, it’s important that you have a basic understanding of water safety.
When you’re baby it little, it may seem like it’s OK to run and grab something really quick. It’s not.
It doesn’t take long at all for an accident to happen.
And, if you’re still using a baby tub when your baby starts rolling, you could easily end up in a situation where your baby is under water.
Thankfully, this is completely avoidable by just making sure you have everything you need before you begin the bath.
Another thing to keep in mind is the faucet.
I will mention this again in the next section, but it is a good time to go ahead and make sure you have something that is going to protect your baby’s head from the edge of the faucet.
You can buy something like this Skip Hop Bath Spout Cover, and be sure that you will avoid bumps and bruises on your kiddo’s head.
Yardsticks for Vertical Drawers
If your baby is old enough to roll around, then chances are, they’re also old enough to grab and pull things.
One thing they’ll likely grab for is the handles on drawers.
An easy way to fix this is to take a yardstick and put it down through the drawers. It’s unlikely that they have the strength to pull open multiple drawers at one time, even if they were to grab the yardstick.
As for handles that are side by side, you just need to take a rubber band and put it on there.
Something you likely haven’t thought of is to secure your furniture to the wall.
You likely haven’t thought to do it because you know and understand that pulling on a piece of furniture could result in it falling over.
Your kids don’t understand that.
All too often, things like dressers and bookshelves aren’t fastened to a wall and they fall on top of and hurt children too often.
There are some super easy to install safety straps that only take a couple minutes to install.
Rolling Off the Bed
Once you have noticed your baby starting to try to roll over, it is no longer safe for your baby to be laying on your bed. Even if you’re “right there”, it isn’t worth the risk.
There are plenty of other places you can safely lay your baby that don’t pose a safety risk.
Stop putting them on the bed BEFORE they begin rolling because you never know when they’ll actually successfully roll.
Anything with Button Batteries
If you haven’t already, check every toy and electronic in your house for button batteries.
For me personally, I got rid of every single thing in our house that has a button battery.
The risk of what would potentially happen to our kids isn’t worth it.
There are some really horrible things that can happen to a child should they swallow a button battery.
And chances are, you aren’t going to even know they swallowed it until it’s too late.
Have a Teething Baby? Here are the Best Teething Toys for Babies!
Baby Proofing Hacks for the Crawling Stage
Teething Bumper for the Crib
Once your baby can crawl, you’re going to notice that a lot of things start changing very quickly.
One thing that is going to eventually happen is that they’ll be able to stand. Even if they aren’t walking yet, standing is another stage that will make you re-evaluate your home for safety precautions you may need to take.
One thing you’ll need to take a look at is your baby’s crib.
My first kiddo got teeth pretty quickly. This meant that if I wasn’t in there at the beginning of the morning, the edges of the convertible crib I planned to use throughout their life became a fabulous chew toy.
Let’s just say that I was grateful only the sides that we won’t use once the bed is converted were the culprits of such a catastrophe.
A simple way to fix this is fastening something along the edges of the railing.
I took a cloth diaper and securely tied them around the edges.
Another one of my favorite baby proofing hacks I’ve heard is to take a couple of pieces of fleece fabric and cut them in such a way that you can tie them around the posts.
It will look very similar to this Baby Trend Crib Rail Cover.
No matter how you choose to remedy this situation and make it safe for your child, it’s important that whatever you put on there is 100% secure.
You don’t want them to be able to pull it off and put it over their face because of the risk of suffocation.
Cabinet Door Locks
As I mentioned before, you want to make sure you have all hazardous chemicals locked up.
But, there are plenty of other items in your cabinets that you would rather not have strewn all over the floor.
One of the easiest baby proofing hacks is it to get plastic cabinet door locks.
My parents had them growing up in our house, and they’re a simple way to make sure your crawling kiddo can’t get into the cabinet, but you can.
The cabinet lock is two pieces, one that you’ll put on the cabinet unit itself, and the other you’ll put on the cabinet door.
If your child pulls on the door, they can only open it so far without your help of pushing the latch down to open it the rest of the way.
This will help alleviate the issue of your toddler clearing out a cabinet for you.
Corner Guards for Sharp Corners
I think this one will especially ring true for anyone who has a fireplace. The bricks on the fireplace ledge come to a sharp point and can pose a serious safety hazard for your child.
There are these really awesome corners and edge bumpers you can put on the brick that will protect your kids from the sharp corners should they fall into them. This is a brown one, but they do come in other colors.
Another babyproofing hack you could use is to take pipe insulation and put it on the sharp edges and corners as well.
No Dishtowels on the Oven or Drawer/Cabinet Handles
One thing you’ll notice when childproofing your home is that there will be many things you haven’t even thought of that pose a safety risk for your child.
One thing I had never thought of was hanging the dish towel on the oven handle, or on a drawer.
It may not seem like a big deal. But if your child pulls down on the towel hard enough, there is the chance of them getting busted in the head by either the oven door or a kitchen drawer.
Neither of which is going to feel good and either could lead to a pretty serious head injury.
A simple place to store your towel to dry out is to drape it over your dishes.
I don’t think I thought about choking hazards as much until I had my second child.
Our first was old enough at this point to have some toys they were smaller. And then our second came along and was putting everything in their mouth.
This was a huge red flag for us.
We had to put up any toy with small parts and only allow our kids to play with those toys when we were fully engaged with them.
With our first kiddo, I feel like we were already is first parent safety overload and we were much more aware of doing all of the safety things at once.
We noticed that we needed to watch for cords, coins, and things like that. Coins were one of the biggest for us.
Baby Gates Galore
Holy baby gates!
I didn’t realize how amazing baby gates were until we had a mover on our hands.
Especially if I was working on something in one room, I wanted our kids to stay in that room too.
Or, if I was working on something that could pose a safety risk for our kids, I wanted them to be safe behind a baby gate.
One thing you’ll notice if you search for baby gates is that there are A LOT of them!
There are two main types of baby safety gates- pressure mount and hardware mount.
A pressure gate is the type of gate that can be placed and easily removed.
A hardware mount gate is for something more long term that you don’t have to have to keep removing and putting back into place. They often involve screwing part of the safety gate into the door frame.
I want to share a few of my personal favorites.
My favorite gate oddly enough doesn’t have the greatest reviews on Amazon. But the Evenflo Position and Lock Wood Gate is my favorite for a variety of reasons. (Note: I couldn’t get a link for the shorter gate, this is the taller one. Be sure to choose the shorter gate if that’s the one you want.)
First and foremost, it’s easy to put into place and remove. I feel like a lot of people may get frustrated with it because they don’t know how to use it. On the gate itself, there are numbers. These numbers represent the width of your doorway in inches.
All you need to do is measure your doorway and set the metal cylinder piece to that width. When you push the wooden bar down, the gate is pressure pushed into the doorway, and the gate is locked.
I am a shorter person, and I can still manage to get myself over the gate without having to undo the gate if I need to run out of the room really quickly to grab something and I don’t want to remove the gate.
Another baby safety gate I would recommend is Regalo Home Accents Extra Tall and Wide Baby Gate.
This gate is awesome because it can be placed in a doorway and left there, but there is a gate that you can open and walk through without an issue.
This gate is great if you have a room you want to leave the door open for, but you don’t want your child to have open accessibility.
The last baby safety gate I will recommend is the North States Super Safety Gate.
If you are struggling to wrap your mind around the wooden baby gate I recommended first, this is likely your next choice.
The baby gate is plastic and is easily placed and removed. For this, you just have one piece to move into place, and that will lock the baby gate in a doorway.
I have personally used all 3 of them, and I would recommend any and all of them.
Safe Blinds- Beware of the Cord
One of the scariest things for me as a parent is thinking I might miss something in my home that could easily become a safety hazard for our children.
The cords that come on many retractable blinds are one of these safety concerns.
One of my favorite baby proofing hacks is to open the blind, take the cord, and wrap it around the window latch a couple of time.
It’s easily removed but is out of reach for our kids.
Crawling will very quickly turn into climbing. If there is something that your crawling baby can begin to crawl up onto, you need to consider moving it.
You wouldn’t want your child to crawl up onto something and then fall off of it.
Objects with Dangling Cords
If you use something like an iron, a hair straightener, or a curling iron, these items are likely to be left out to cool.
You don’t think anything of it, but it can become a real danger to your child who may pull on the cord and end up having something very hot fall on their head.
Make sure you have your child away from these objects while they cool down. Once cool, be sure to put the object away and out of your baby’s reach as quickly as possible.
Knives and Sharp Objects
Now is a really great time to go through the drawers and cabinets in your house and make sure there aren’t any sharp objects that could hurt your child.
The two main items I would be watching for are knives and scissors.
Both items should be up high out of reach of your child.
If you have pets in your home prepare yourself.
Suddenly the dog or cat food bowl has become a community feeding bowl.
I feel it’s something every child is going to go after if given the chance.
The likelihood if the actual food hurting them should they swallow it is slim.
The real safety hazard comes with the potential of them choking on the food.
Your best bet is to find somewhere to put the food until your child understands they aren’t supposed to eat the pet food.
Although pretty, table clothes can pose a big risk for little ones.
Even though this likely falls into the section for walkers, it needs to be mentioned for crawling babies as well.
Once they can reach up and grab something, they’ll try to stand.
If there isn’t enough weight holding the table cloth on the table, anything on the table is going to come flying off onto your little one’s head.
Do yourself a favor and get rid of the table cloth until you have a little one who can walk without any type of assistance.
Starting to clear out baby items? Here are 7 Baby Items You’ll Use Beyond the Baby Years!
Childproofing Hacks for the Walking Stage
Toddler Bed Rail
If your kiddo is ready to be moved out of the crib, you’ll likely want to make sure that you’ve made their toddler bed as safe as possible.
We opted to not do the toddler bed at all and went straight to a twin sized bed.
We put the box springs and mattress on the ground, but we still felt we needed a bed rail.
The bed rail we bought was the Regalo Swing Down Extra Long Bed Rail.
We chose this one because it can swing down for your child to climb up into bed, and it’s also extra long which covers a longer edge of the bed.
Bed rails are a great way to help your kid stay in bed, and they’re fairly cheap and easy to install.
Another thing you’ll again want to consider is what’s around their bed that could become a safety hazard.
Can they now stand on their bed and reach something they couldn’t reach before?
Are they able to reach the cords to the blinds?
Is there an electrical outlet nearby that needs to be assessed for safety?
All of these questions need to be asked again when you’re moving your child around.
Door Knob Locks
A lot of people may not think of doorknobs when they think of baby proofing hacks, but doorknobs pose a different kind of hazard.
Once your child is old enough to push and pull things, they are likely tall enough to reach the door handles.
This can become an issue when they close themselves in a room and lock the door. At which point you may be locked out and they have no idea how to unlock the door.
The last thing you want is to have to make a phone call to the fire department and have them come help open your door.
A simple way to remedy the situation is to get door knob safety covers. They work in such a way that you can open and close the door, but your kids can’t open them. The doorknob covers also reduce the chances of your kid being able to lock the door.
Another benefit of the doorknob covers is that you can close a door in a room and, assuming you’re in there with them, they can’t get out, which is good if you want them to stay put with you.
Rubber cabinet matting under the rugs
When your kids are learning to walk, something that can quickly become a safety hazard for your kids is moving objects.
One you may not think about because you are more stable on your feet is rugs that can slide.
A simple way to fix this safety hazard is to use an anti-slip rug mat. This will prevent the rug from sliding on your wood or linoleum floors.
Extra tip!: Another way I have used the rubber cabinet matting is to put it between the car seat mat and a leather seat in the car. This adds an extra grip to help keep the car seat from sliding at all.
Non-Slip Mat for the Bathtub
A non-slip bath mat was a new addition to our safety repertoire this past year.
As your child gets older, they’ll be able to stand in the bathtub. Even if you don’t want them to, and instruct them to sit, there will still be times they’ll stand.
Add water to an already smooth and slick surface, and you could end up with a pretty nasty fall.
A simple way to remedy this safety concern is with a non-slip bath mat.
We have the Gorilla Grip Bath Mat in our bathtub. There are a variety of colors to choose from, which can be fun for your kids.
They’re pretty inexpensive and pretty easy to clean.
Simple Baby Proofing Hacks Protect Your Children
Finding the best baby proofing hacks will help set your mind at ease that you have made your home as safe as possible for your kids.
Stage by stage, these needs and safety hazards are going to change.
There are many baby proofing ideas for people who are on a budget. Childproofing your home doesn’t need to be overly costly. There are many things likely sitting around your house that you can use to help keep your kids safe.
If you have a kiddo on the move, and you haven’t yet childproofed your home, any of these would be a great place to begin. Start at the top with the list of baby proofing tips for babies who are rolling, and stage by stage work your way through.
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