Dad’s Guide to Baby-Proofing Your Home

By Sharon Perkins, Stefan Korn, Scott Lancaster, Eric Mooij

Many dads feel the need to baby-proof their homes and for good reason. Your baby is pretty helpless physically and oblivious to danger. Keeping baby safe is up to you. The buck stops with the parents; nobody else keeps your baby safe for you. So keep up the good work by always

  • Checking the temperature of formula by sprinkling a little on your wrist.
  • Ensuring your baby’s breathing isn’t obstructed by objects such as blankets in the crib, crib toys, or bumpers. While all these things are cute, they’re also safety hazards in the crib with young infants.
  • Maintaining a smoke-free home and car.
  • Keeping a hand on her when she’s on elevated surfaces like a bed or changing table.
  • Keeping your cups of tea, coffee, and other hot beverages well clear of the baby (see the nearby sidebar “Scalding”).
  • Providing age-appropriate toys. Toys for older children have small parts that may break off and choke your little one.
  • Supervising the baby when she’s in the bath, even if she’s using a bath support.
  • Using an age-appropriate car seat for car trips.

Right now, he can’t move or prod his fingers into electrical sockets, so you can get a head start and baby-proof your house now for when he’s on the move. A good place to start is to get down on your hands and knees for a baby’s-eye-view of the terrain and see what jumps out at you as potentially dangerous.

Baby-Proofing Room by Room
Room What to Do
Living areas Secure bookshelves and other unstable furniture like tall CD racks to the wall with anchors to prevent them from toppling on your baby.
Put childproof locks on china cabinet doors to prevent your sweetie getting into Grandma’s heirloom china.
Use a guard around your fireplace or heater. Teach your child to stay away by saying “hot” when he is near the heat source.
Tuck away cables or put cushions and furniture in front of them.
Hide any remote controls you don’t want baby to slobber on.
Put barriers across any stairs or steps.
Kitchen Keep appliance cords from hanging over the counter or stove. Your baby could easily pull a kettle of hot water on herself.
Keep pot handles tucked in over the stove.
Use guards on your stove elements and around the top of your stove to prevent hot food spilling onto your child.
Erect a barrier across your kitchen’s doorway to prevent your child entering while you cook.
Forget using tablecloths with really small children — one tug and everything goes overboard.
Keep cleaning products and detergents in a cupboard — preferably a high one — with a childproof lock.
Never store poisons in food containers. Junior can’t tell the difference between disinfectant and a bottle of juice.
Use a childproof lock to secure any cupboard or drawer that has precious china, knives, or equipment you don’t want becoming one of your baby’s favorite toys.
Laundry If you use a diaper pail, make sure the lid is securely fitted and the pail is always stored out of baby’s reach.
Keep cleaning products and detergents in a cupboard — preferably a high one — with a childproof lock.
Make sure all buckets are left empty.
Bathroom Make sure your hot water thermostat is set no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep all electrical appliances out of the bathroom to prevent accidental electrocution.
Consider getting a lock or keeping the lid down on your toilet to prevent anything, like your car keys, being deposited in the toilet.
Keep a lock on the medicine cabinet, and keep cleaners and detergents — even your shampoos — in a locked cupboard, preferably out of reach.
Outdoor areas Make sure pools and balconies are fenced with childproof locks. Fences should have gaps of no more than 4 inches between pickets to prevent baby becoming trapped between them or falling through.