The Ultimate Guide to Baby-Proofing Your Home

Welcoming a new baby into your home is an exciting and joyous occasion, but it also brings a host of new responsibilities—you need to create a safe environment for your young kids to prevent bumps, bruises, and other serious accidents.

However, when it comes to baby-proofing your house, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. From securing furniture to covering electrical outlets, baby-proofing identifies and mitigates any potential hazard that could endanger small children as they begin to explore their surroundings.  Here’s a checklist to baby-proof a house and transform every corner into a safe space for your curious explorer, whether it’s the nursery, kitchen, bedroom, or living room.

How to Begin Baby-Proofing Your Home

When learning how to baby-proof a house, the first step is to thoroughly assess your home for potential hazards. Get down on your hands and knees to see the world through your baby’s eyes and spot dangerous items you would have otherwise missed.

Here’s a checklist to guide you through babyproofing your home.

Securing Cabinets, Drawers, and More

Cabinets and drawers can harbor a multitude of dangers for curious toddlers, including:

  • Cleaning products like detergents and disinfectants that can cause poisoning when ingested
  • Over-the-counter and prescription medications that can be harmful if swallowed
  • Knives, scissors, and other sharp utensils that can cause cuts and injuries
  • Pots, pans, and other heavy objects that can fall and cause harm
  • Electrical cords and outlets that can cause shock and burns

Depending on your needs and preferences, here are some baby safety locks to consider:

  • Magnetic Cabinet Locks: These use magnets to keep cabinet doors closed. Adults can easily open them with one hand, but they remain shut for curious little fingers.
  • Slide Locks: You can only unlock your cabinet by sliding a button or lever into a specific position.
  • Swivel Locks: They’re similar to slide locks, but the lever needs to be swiveled to open.
  • Spring-Loaded Latches: They require pressing a button to release the latch and open the cabinet.
  • Press & Pivot Latches: They require a combination of pressing a button and pivoting a lever to unlock.

Here are some tips for baby-proof cabinets and baby-proof drawers for child safety.

  • Choose the Right Child Safe Lock: When choosing a lock, consider the type of cabinet or drawer, its accessibility, and your desired level of discretion.
  • Installation: For optimal security, follow each lock’s installation instructions. Additionally, the locks should be out of the baby’s reach, typically on the top corner or towards the back of the cabinet door.
  • Double-Check: Once installed, test the locks to ensure they function properly and can’t be easily opened by your child.
  • Cabinet Door Straps: For additional security, especially for lower cabinets, consider cabinet door straps that prevent the doors from opening fully.
  • Secure Out-of-Reach Areas, Too: Don’t forget about cabinets and drawers in higher areas. These might seem inaccessible, but curious climbers can reach surprising heights.
  • Replace worn-out locks: Locks can wear down over time. Regularly inspect them and replace them if necessary.
  • Educate Older Children: Teach older siblings the importance of locking cabinets and drawers to protect younger children.

Baby-proofing Doors and Handles

Babies grow quickly and often reach door handles sooner than you anticipate. Left unchecked, your child may pinch those tiny fingers between the handle and the door frame, causing pain and injuries. Additionally, your curious baby may wander into areas that are off-limits, like bathrooms, pools, garages, or even outside. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent accidents and baby-proof door handles:

  • Child-Proof Handle Covers: These plastic covers fit snugly over door levers, preventing tiny hands from gripping and turning them.
  • Door Knob Covers: Similar to handle covers, these work for round doorknobs. Opt for brightly colored covers for visual deterrence.
  • Safety Gates: Install safety gates at doorways leading to off-limit areas like stairs, kitchens, or bathrooms. Look for pressure-mounted gates for easy installation without drilling.
  • Door Stops: Install door stops to prevent doors from slamming shut completely. These wedge-shaped devices, made of various materials, such as foam or rubber, prevent painful finger pinches.
  • Focus on High-Traffic Areas: Prioritize babyproofing doors in areas your child frequents and where there are potential hazards.
  • Double Duty: Consider combination door locks with handle covers for extra security, especially for lower doors.
  • Test Regularly: Ensure door handle covers and safety gates are secure and functioning correctly.
  • Temporary Solutions: For situations where permanent installations aren’t feasible, temporary door knob alarms or pinch guard straps can offer a quick safety measure.

Comprehensive Baby-Proofing Checklist

This comprehensive baby-proofing checklist addresses potential hazards in every room of your home to create a secure environment for your child.

  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Install smoke detectors in every sleeping area and outside bedrooms, as well as carbon monoxide detectors on every floor. Remember to test them monthly and replace the batteries according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Secure Heavy Furniture: Anchoring bookcases, dressers, TVs, and other heavy furniture to the wall prevents them from tipping over and potentially injuring your child. Use appropriate wall anchors and fasteners based on the weight of the furniture and your wall type.
  • Electrical Safety: Curious babies are drawn to electrical cords and outlets. Use outlet covers to block unused outlets and keep cords tucked away behind furniture whenever possible. Consider investing in cable management systems to keep cords organized and out of sight.
  • Window Safety: Falls from windows are a serious concern. Install window guards or stops that limit how far windows can open. Additionally, traditional blinds should be replaced with cordless window coverings to eliminate strangulation hazards.
  • Cribs: Keep the baby’s crib clear of soft objects like pillows, blankets, bumpers, and stuffed animals that increase the risk of suffocation and entrapment. Use a firm, well-fitting mattress and adjust the mattress height as your baby grows to prevent them from climbing out.
  • Changing Tables: Opt for a sturdy changing table with a safety strap or guardrail to prevent falls. Additionally, never leave your baby unattended on the changing table. You can keep diapers and other supplies within reach to avoid leaving your baby alone.
  • Toy Storage: Avoid storing your child’s play items in plastic bags that can cause suffocation. Instead, find an open toy box or basket with fabric sides. This ensures easy access while minimizing the risk of trapped fingers.
  • Cabinet and Drawer Locks: Install magnetic locks, adhesive strap locks, or a safety latch on all cabinets and drawers containing cleaning supplies, medications, sharp objects like knives and utensils, and small, potentially choking items. You can store hazardous items in upper cabinets or locked drawers beyond your child’s reach.
  • Stove Safety: Use knob covers to prevent your child from turning on burners accidentally. Whenever possible, cook on the back burners and turn pot handles away from the edge to prevent your curious toddler from grabbing them.
  • Appliance Safety: Unplug appliances like blenders, toasters, and coffee makers when not in use, and secure the cords to keep them out of reach. This prevents electrical accidents and tripping hazards and keeps heavy appliances from being pulled off countertops.
  • Toilet Lock: Install a toilet lid lock to prevent your child from exploring the toilet bowl. This lock should be easy for adults to operate but difficult for toddlers.
  • Cabinet Locks: Medications, cleaning supplies, and personal care products like cosmetics can be harmful if ingested. Store these items in bathroom cabinets high up and out of your child’s reach. Additionally, install cabinet locks on lower cabinets containing potentially hazardous items for extra security.
  • Tub Safety: Adjust your water heater to a maximum of 120°F (49°C) to prevent scalding. This temperature is warm enough for a comfortable bath but not too hot to cause burns. Moreover, always test the bathwater with your wrist or elbow before placing your child in the tub—the water should feel warm, not hot. Most importantly, supervise your child at all times to prevent drowning.
  • Furniture Padding: Apply corner guards to the sharp corners and edges of your coffee table, TV stand, ottoman, toy chest, and bookshelf to prevent bumps. Corner guards are typically made of soft rubber or foam and are easy to install. However, your living room baby proofing checklist should also include edge bumpers to protect longer furniture, such as entertainment centers and low shelves.
  • Fireplace Safety: Install a sturdy fireplace screen to prevent your baby from reaching the flames or hot coals. Look for a screen with a secure latch system that only adults can open. Similarly, store fireplace tools, matches, and lighters out of reach in a locked cabinet or a high shelf to prevent your child from accessing them.
  • Electrical and Window Cord Safety: Keep electrical cords from lamps, TVs, and other electronics tucked away behind furniture or secured with cable management systems. This eliminates tripping hazards and prevents your child from chewing on or unplugging the cords. Likewise, opt for cordless window blinds or shades to prevent strangulation hazards. If you must use traditional blinds with cords, install cord cleats or wind them securely and keep them out of reach.

Your child may mistake laundry pods and detergents for candy due to their bright colors and squishy texture. As such, store these cleaning supplies on shelves or locked in cabinets well out of your child’s reach. Additionally, avoid storing detergents in food containers and clean up spills immediately after they occur.

  • Pool Safety: If you have a pool, a fence with a self-latching gate is an absolute necessity. The fence should be at least four feet high and completely enclose the pool area. Ensure the gate latches securely and is out of reach for climbing children.
  • Play Equipment Safety: Regularly inspect outdoor play equipment like swings, slides, and climbing structures for any loose parts, cracks, or sharp edges. Additionally, consider adding a layer of soft material like mulch or wood chips under play equipment to cushion falls.

Baby-Proofing FAQ

Assess your baby-proofing measures regularly as your child grows and their abilities change. A general rule of thumb is to re-evaluate your home safety every six months, but you should also do a check whenever your child reaches a new developmental milestone, such as starting to crawl, walk, or climb.

Yes, ensure pet food and water bowls are out of reach, as they can pose drowning or choking hazards. Also, keep pet toys and supplies stored safely, and consider using gates to separate pets from young children when unsupervised.

Some houseplants can be toxic if ingested. It’s important to research your plants and remove any that are harmful. But even with non-toxic plants, consider placing them in high, secure locations where curious little hands can’t reach. Also, be mindful of potting soil, as it can pose a choking hazard.

If you’re expecting a young visitor, do a quick sweep of your home to remove or secure common hazards. For example, you can use outlet covers, move breakables and choking hazards out of reach, and secure any loose cords. It’s also wise to talk to the child’s parents about any specific concerns or needs their child might have.


Baby-proofing your home is an ongoing process that evolves as your child grows. By taking proactive steps and regularly updating your safety measures, you can create a safe and nurturing environment for your little one to explore and thrive. Start baby-proofing your house today and enjoy peace of mind as your child discovers their world safely.