A Baby-Proofing Checklist - dummies

By Mathew Miller, Sharon Perkins

Part of Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Not all safety measures need to be in place by the time baby comes home from the hospital. But before the first six months are up, you’ll need to make sure to baby-proof with some basic safeguards installed in the following areas of your home:

  • Stairways: Install baby gates at the top and bottom. Never use a pressure-mounted baby gate at the top of the stairs, because it may fail. Instead, opt for the wall-mounted variety.

  • Window blinds: Trim (or better yet, remove) cords altogether to make sure they will be out of reach for years to come.

  • Windows: If your windows are older, install child-proof locks. Never leave a child unattended around an open window — not even one with a screen, because it can’t support a child’s weight.

  • Outlets: Insert plastic guards into all sockets below hip level. For often-used outlets, consider sliding outlet covers for easier access.

  • Doors: When baby starts walking, install knob guards on the bathroom door and any door leading outside. Also, plastic guards that fit over the top of accordion doors will prevent pinched or cut fingers.

  • Bathroom: A toilet seat lock is a must, but for further protection, always keep your bathroom door closed when possible. Faucet covers on the bathtub will keep baby’s mouth and head safe in case of a slip. Apply nonslip mats for extra precaution. And, of course, never leave your child unattended around water. To prevent burns, make sure your water heater is set to 120 degrees or less.

  • Kitchen: Install cabinet locks, door locks, and oven knob covers to make it impossible for a child to turn on the burners. Add straps to the oven door to keep a child from opening it. Cook on the back burner when baby is present. Put adhesive locks on the refrigerator (and the freezer, if it’s within reach).

  • Sharp edges: On tables, countertops, and your bed, apply corner and table edge cushions to prevent head lacerations that often require stitches.