Baby-proofing

We love having friends over for dinner or just to hang out. I still haven’t invited any of our friends with babies or small kids over, since our house isn’t exactly baby-proof. [We do have a fun playset in the backyard that needs to be broken in, though]

We have things low to the ground,

table (2)

glass and breakables,

mirror

furniture with sharp corners and all of our cabinets can easily be opened.

cabinet

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because pretty soon here, our house will need to be safe for a little one to be crawling about.

The first thing to come to mind was outlet covers, but this has already been taken care of. The family who lived here before us had 4 small children, so each outlet cover was replaced with a type that you have to slide over to use.

outlet

And that’s pretty much where it ends for now. I know we’ll put some kind of lock on the cabinet under the sink, but am not sure what else we need to do.

MY OTHER VIDEOS

I figured that during the day, baby and I could hang out mostly in the den and kitchen area, and not so much in the dining room and living room, since that’s where most of the glass and sharp corners are.

There are people you can hire to inspect your home to see what needs to be done, too, but I figured I’d ask all of you first 🙂

What would be smart to baby-proof in advance and what we should wait on?

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53 Comments

  1. Megan @ On The Road Again on October 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    We are going to start with the easy things – outlet covers (although you already have that covered, pun intended haha) and cabinet locks. From what I’ve heard from many of my friends with children, they waited on doing anything about some of the larger issues. Some of them had children who never got into anything, so they never had to do much baby-proofing.

  2. Leslie Wingate on October 2, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Best advice I’ve heard is to crawl around on your hands and knees to see what you can get to. Baby gate the bottom of the stairs once she’s mobile, and eventually, the top if she starts going upstairs. We also lowered our water heater setting.

  3. Amy on October 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    probably no need to worry about it until the baby starts rolling around and getting mobile. good baby gates are a must when they start crawling and walking.. you can get those “bumper” things for the tables, but they tend to be pretty ugly and weird. also, if you have heavy furniture like a book case or dresser- make sure it doesnt tip over easily and latch it to the wall somehow (Ikea sells things you can use to latch to the wall). my daughter never climbed on furniture, but i know some kids get wild and do..
    other than that.. babies will get little bumps and bruises now and then.. no biggie.. just try and prevent the big ones.. 🙂

  4. Lauren on October 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    You don’t need to do much until they’re rolling over and becoming mobile, 4-6 months. Cabinets with toxic items, glass items, boxes and bags that can be ripped open, etc. all need to be locked. Hide cords and cables to lamps, computers, tv’s and make sure buttons aren’t accessible. Also, depending on where the knobs to your stove are, you may need to get covers for those or remove them when not in use. And we found the doorknob covers helpful as well. Lastly, any large bookshelves or things that can be climbed on or shaken should be secured to the wall.

  5. Tsmi on October 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    We didn’t baby proof much in our house…never on the stairs (they have to learn how to get up them some how). And we use all homemade cleaners etc and we just taught them not to go in certain places…..trial and error

  6. Elizabeth @ reads recipes runs on October 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    You have plenty of time before the little nugetess is mobile enough for baby proofing to be an issue. I don’t think my sister baby proofed until after my niece was trying out the army crawl, until then they pretty much stay put! (rolling is another issue, hahaha)

  7. TanyaS on October 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I’ve always just been a big fan of teaching the child what is okay. You still need to be safe with obvious hazards like stairs & plugs, but at a certain point the child is being brought into your home and you need to teach the child how to be safe for themselves and that not everything is to be touched, no matter if they are in their own home, or elsewhere. I have 3 children and have never lifted any decorative items out of child’s reach, just taught the child that they were not to touch those items. Its worked for me!

    • Fitnessista on October 2, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      i love that! i was hoping we wouldn’t have to move or change a ton of the decor

  8. Joelle on October 2, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Except for the outlets we didn’t really baby proof. I removed all cleaners from lower cabinets. What I had to do later on was to get a lock for the fridge. Once she was old enough to open it and grab whatever she wanted we were doomed! The fridge lock system worked only for a bit until she was tall enough to reach it and figure out how to open it!

  9. Jess@atasteofconfidence on October 2, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    You definitely have a while, though. Until the babe starts crawling and opening, you’re good!

  10. Sara on October 2, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I had two serious scares when Jasmine was a baby which taught me a lot. 1. Once they crawl they will grab anything and try to pull themselves up, also they can be quite fast. I had just finished the ironing and was carrying the basket to literally the other side of the room and she crawled over, grabbed the cord to the iron and pulled it off the board. It landed beside her. I still have nightmares about that one.2. They put **everything** in their mouth, even dangerous or gross (dead fly?) things. She was chewing something and I said ‘open your mouth’ (essential training command). It was a safety pin, I still have no idea where she got it.
    Also, she used to like crawling to the pet food bowls and eating catfood with the cats. So, I learned about keeping the food bowls up.

    Luckily for the first few months they are kind of helpless and immobile. After that they can quickly learn safety commands like ‘hot!’, ‘sharp!’, ‘no!’ and ‘open’ (your mouth so I can see what is in there).

  11. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on October 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Those outlet covers are genius! While the old owners seem to have made a lot of work for you in your house, at least they installed those!

    • Fitnessista on October 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      yeah, there’s one thing i can thank them for 😉 the 10 year old cobwebs… not so much. haha

  12. Jen @familyfoodfitnessandfun on October 2, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    We just did the basic stuff…outlet covers, kitchen cupboard locks, and gates on the stairs. That seemed to be enough. I wouldn’t recommend hiring a baby proofer, you won’t have anything left in the house 😉

    • Fitnessista on October 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm

      haha! good to know

  13. Gia @ rungiarun on October 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I agree about teaching them what to touch and what not to. We really didn’t move or change anything in the house with our twins. We did move the cleaning supplies to a higher location and try to keep bathroom doors closed.
    They have just reached 11 months old and are pulling up on low tables to cruise around them, after a few close calls I broke down and got some corner cushions so that I would have peace of mind.
    http://www.diapers.com/p/Cardinal-Gates-Corner-Cushions-Yellow-35866

  14. Christina on October 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    this won’t come into play for a few years but once she can climb up on your couches or get anywhere near the windows, make sure the cords that open and close the blinds has that child safety clip on it to prevent strangling. I’ve heard awful stories of toddlers hanging themselves on those.

  15. chelsea on October 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Please baby proof cabinets and clear off your counters when the baby is running around. The people I babysit have done none of the sort so I constantly have to follow him around to make sure he’s safe 🙁 I don’t feel like I can ever just turn around with him.

  16. Morgan on October 2, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I would just enjoy your house as it is now. We are big advocates of still having our house be a home, and making the obvious things safe. Aaron is learning what to touch and what not to touch, though we did cover outlets, get locks for the cabinets, gates on the stairs, etc. We still want it to be OUR home, not a version of our home that is 100% safe. Baby proof the obvious things, keep little girl safe, but maintain your sense of self and home. That’s my advice at least!

  17. Lauren on October 2, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    We are just now baby proofing and my baby is 10 months! She crawls, but she can’t get access to anything. Now that she is standing and going to be walking we are doing the whole baby proofing thing. I remember reading things that said to do it before the baby came and when I told my hubby he laughed, then I read some comments and most people said it’s not necessary until they are mobile. So I wouldn’t worry just yet! 🙂

  18. Lea on October 2, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    The most important thing are the cabinets since they can store hazardous cleaners. I have a bottom drawer in the kitchen with stuff my baby can play with (old tupperware, old spoons, and old pan so he can make noise with, etc..) That is the only drawer that he is allowed to play in while in the kitchen. And we also have covers over our outlets. I see the tables in your living room and hallway, and in my opinion, those things are fine. Children have to learn what is okay to play with and what is not.

  19. kristi on October 2, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    While I agree that some things they have to learn just aren’t for touching (lamps, etc.), you are not just bringing them into *your* house, it is *their* house, as well. Also, let’s be honest, some baby proofing is for their safety and our sanity!

    • Fitnessista on October 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      and i don’t want to be saying “don’t touch that!” over and over again- it is their house too, and up to us to make sure it’s safe for them

      • Jena on October 3, 2011 at 8:14 am

        There will be so many things they *can* touch at eye level to keep their interest, you won’t have to say that all the time… you’ll have all kinds of play things sitting out for her when she’s on the ground, that your decorative things just won’t be that interesting, coupled with the fact that you say ‘no’ when she goes for those and praise her when she plays with her own things….

  20. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on October 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Once you become a mom, you see the world with a whole new set of eyes. You see sharp corners, breakables, cords, small things and parts, and just have a knack for spotting what a child will gravitate toward so you begin instinctively just handling things. Babyproofing is never really done. B/c they grow and what was once a safe hiding place isn’t anymore…because they can climb, too.

    Some babies are climbers..scaling up couches, the sides of cupboards, stairs, you name it. They can climb before they can really walk. So it’s kinda crazy..pray you don’t have a climber on your hands 🙂

    Basically anything that is in any cupboard under waist-high, if you don’t want it broken or eaten, you better clear it out. i.e. everything from your wrapping paper to your cleaning products to random food things to screws and nails in a toolkit…WHATEVER is in the cupboards, get it out. Yes, there are locks and gadgets and devices but they aren’t always practical and just getting rid of stuff or finding a new storage place for things is a good idea, IMO

    Good luck 🙂

  21. karb on October 2, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Our pediatrician always asks if our hot water heater is set so it doesn’t exceed 120*.

  22. Laury @ thefitnessdish on October 2, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Ummmm yeah Ella turns 5 months this week and we still haven’t baby proffed the house. Whoops. She’s not crawling yet but we def need to get on it like this week!! I have a small condo so there’s not much to do but we do need to get on our hands and knees and do the job.

    Your house on gorgeous by the way! LOVE that table!

  23. Daisy on October 2, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    The hot water heater tip is really important- I did a burn unit course and I learned just how important it was. When I nannied I was a big fan of well placed baby gates (which have come so far in design & ease of use) and a few lower cupboards full of tupperware/wooden spoons, i.e. stuff that kids could get into without any worries. I also have a few friends who got the “magnet” lock system for kitchen & bathroom cabinets and I’ve found it to be the EASIEST system to use for adults, but with no “work around trick” for smart little toddlers to pick up on.

  24. Marguerite Miller on October 2, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Baby gates!! And watch out for things in the kitchen as she starts to become mobile! The oven door can get very hot, and some ovens have the knobs for the range in the front and kids can reach them and turn them on! As my kids got to walking stage I had gates to keep them out of the kitchen! Babies like to pull themselves up on things and will use cords like the electrical cord and plug for a light that is already plugged in! And crash! The first few months you don’t really have to worry, but watch it when they start to crawl! Crawl around your house and look at things from her vision line!

  25. Jen on October 2, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    It depends on kid! Seriously, I had 2 girls, and they didn’t get into anything. My son came along, after the girls and I had to “Evan proof” everything! Maybe it is a boy thing? He is such a monkey!

    • Jenn on October 3, 2011 at 9:07 am

      Lol, I think you’re right! My daughter is content to quietly play with books and toys. My nephew (same age) comes over, and he’s trying to chew on wires, unzip the couch cushions, pull food off of the counter etc. I think having a boy one day would be a major adjustment for me!

  26. Beth on October 2, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    It will also depend on your baby’s personality, and you will find that out quickly as you go along! My first was never interested in getting into anything or climbing on anything. He is super cautious (still) and we didn’t have to do much. My second… holy cow. The baby proofing for him took on a whole new meaning! You’ll figure it out! HUGE is the dressers and things that can tip… that is such a scary thought. Obviously cabinets with cleaning stuff, but there are also a few cabinets you won’t want them to get into just because they will drag everything out of it and drive you crazy! 🙂 We left some cabinets just for them with tupperware and things that they could take out and play with.

  27. Lisa @ Fresh Spinach on October 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    We’ve had to do some baby proofing for our cats! We have to put those locks on all of our cabinets and drawers because one of our cats gets into everything! I don’t know how many times we’ve come home to find the kitchen cabinets all wide open. Gross.
    Good luck!

  28. The Healthy Hostess on October 2, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I just wrote a post about this tonight!
    http://thehealthyhostess.com/2011/10/02/child-proofing-or-baby-proofing-your-house/
    It’s so different now that Anna can run around and figure out how to get into everything!

  29. Lisa on October 2, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    My daughter is 7.5 weeks old and we haven’t even really thought much about baby-proofing just yet. We figure once she is getting close to being mobile we’ll take care of it. The only think that we did before she was born was move the rack that stores bottles of alcohol to the unfinished part of the basement so she can’t pull any bottles down and hurt herself. Eventually my husband is going to build a closed bar cabinet to store stuff in but for now, this was a good solution!

  30. Annette @ with a side of brownies on October 2, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    We used baby gates, outlet covers, and cabinet locks for all four of our kids. We mostly kept doors closed. With our twins we bought a refrigerator lock. It’s not just the low things to be aware of, my neice was in a walker when went into the kitchen and grabbed the cord to the electric kettle on the counter that was left hanging down, her arm was burned. It was a horrible way for us to learn that baby proofing step.

  31. Elizabeth on October 2, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    A lot of the people I babysit for only completely babyproofed on room (usually the playroom or the one they spend the most time in) and then just did outlet covers and cabinet locks in the rest of the house. Also, make sure that they can’t get into the toilet (it’s actually a safety hazard, in addition to the yuck factor). Other than that, most people I know have just tried to teach them that not everything is for them, which sometimes means that they’ve bumped their heads etc. But that’s kind of the best way to learn….

  32. Michelle @ Crazy*Running*Legs on October 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    We only bought outlet covers and gates for rooms we don’t want them to get into (which we still use!) — and then based everything else on the baby . The nice thing about babies is that (like pregnancy) progress is gradual. Also, what my son was interested in was completely different than my daughter. Every baby is different!

  33. Jill on October 2, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    I would say gates on stairs, plugs, and moving cleaning supplies from low cabinets are essential. Also, turning down the setting on your water heater. I know a kid that when he was about 3 his mom was giving him a bath, she turned around for about half a second to grab a washcloth and in that time he turned on the hot water all the way and was very badly burned all over his body. Making sure your water heater can’t reach those temps is so important. Secure large bookcases to the wall so they don’t fall on any little mountain-climbers.

    Going to extremes for babyproofing seems silly to me, I’d definitely say don’t hire an “expert”–your house will probably look like an insane asylum after. Padded corners and latches and the works won’t be fun for you. Kids are supposed to bump their heads and scrape their knees once in a while, they can’t live in a bubble. I climbed on everything and got into anything I could get my hands on!

  34. Dynamics on October 2, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Under the kitchen sink is a pet peeve of mine. Put it in the garage! You only use it maybe once a week so have a nice carry thingy and put it in the garage. Putting everything up is bad. what are you going to do when you go visiting and they have not learned to not touch? Yikes. Sorry but nothing worse than someone visiting and the kid has no manners. I love those electrical covers!

  35. Jenn on October 2, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    We swapped out our rectangular coffee table for a round leather ottoman (kids WILL fall into the coffee table at some point no matter how careful you are). It also gives my daughter something safe to hold onto while she learns to stand. We installed hooks at the top of the pantry and linen closets so that we can latch them shut when we want to and moved all of the cleaning supplies and medicines into a top cabinet. We also have a door chime that beeps whenever any of the doors or sliders open, which was slightly annoying for a little while, but we got used to it, and it’s definitely worth the peace of mind.

    Our house is one story, but if you have stairs then check to see if you think a tiny head could fit through the spindles of the staircase. My sis and bro-in-law were 100% sure that their spindles were too close together for my nephew’s head to fit through… until they found him with his head stuck in there. He was fine, but they totally freaked and instealled extra pieces in between each spindle.

    It takes a little while before they start getting into things, and it happens gradually, so you’ll figure it out along the way. The number one thing is just keeping anything and everything dangerous out of reach. It sounds obvious, but before having kids, you get so used to being able to leave knives on the counter or a screwdriver on the coffee table. It’s best to get in the habit of keeping all sharp, small or dangerous objects hidden now, so that it’s not a difficult adjustment at this time next year.

  36. Rachel on October 3, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Sharp metal or wood edges on low coffee tables are a definite hazard for little ones not old enough to know not to crawl right into them. Leather storage ottomans are awesome until the kids are older and know better. And magnet opener thingies for the trash cabinet and every other low cabinet (if you have one) are Genius. The two toddlers I babysit every week are very smart, but also Very curious, as normal kids are, and without that magnet I’d be cleaning up trash constantly!

    http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=magnet+cabinet+lock&rls=com.microsoft:*&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&gs_upl=15016l17297l0l17547l19l14l0l0l0l0l250l2391l3.6.5l14l0&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=10776792533884878258#

  37. Hilary on October 3, 2011 at 7:45 am

    We mostly pulled things out of cabinets and drawers as my son started getting into them and we got tired of picking the same stuff up over and over (in the bathrooms and one kitchen cabinet.) The rest i let him play with. I dont like the way some kids are never allowed to explore and are shut off from so many places in the house. He loves to pull things out and play! Picking up doesnt take that long.

    For the kitchen cabinet under the sink i just have a few rubber bands wrapped around the knobs tight to keep him from pulling it open. We moved books up to higher shelves so they wouldnt get torn and strategically placed some furniture to keep him out of a few areas. Didn’t spend any money except for outlet covers since he loves cords and tries to plug them in. Just take it slow as the nuggette grows and it won’t seen overwhelming!

  38. Jen Correa @ Mom's Gotta Run on October 3, 2011 at 9:34 am

    We had the nicest coffee tables when we had my son. Then he started crawling and walking and hit his head on the corner. I told my husband they had to go. He loved the set so he came up with another option. He padded the table and covered it in a beautiful piece of leather. We still have them and no one has gotten hurt since.

  39. Jess on October 3, 2011 at 10:41 am

    We haven’t baby proofed at all and our daughter is 3 months old today. Once she sits up unassisted we’ll start baby proofing because she’ll be mobile shortly after that milestone.

  40. Clare on October 3, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I have to echo the above statements – especially the one regarding not keeping cleaners under the sink. Put them in the garage or in a high cabinet that is also locked.

  41. Sejal M on October 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Wait! you have at least 10 months before waling ang 6 before crawling so I would wait. You might gets gates like we did so babies stay out of kitchen area.

  42. Bree on October 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    My sister is 11 years younger than me, so I remember everything about her as a baby and toddler. I vividly remember my parents not baby-proofing anything for her, besides moving sharp objects in the kitchen out of reachable drawers. I babysat her A LOT and remember her not getting into much. I am sure it sounds much easier than it is, (as in I am sure I will be in for a rude awakening!) but keeping an eye on them and then teaching what they can and can’t do goes a long way.

    As for me, thinking about our house for toddlers has been easy when we have had my nephews over. I have watched what they go for right away. One is the stairs, so I plan to get a gate. They also went straight for our dishwasher and pushed all the buttons and knobs. We have since got a new one without front controls, so hopefully that will deter a little one. I also have a feeling the bathroom door will be closed all the time once they are on the move.

  43. Kat on October 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I’ve been researching this a lot too – I’m just so glad they don’t come out of the womb mobile!

  44. Kristen on October 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    We’ve taken the approach of baby proofing anything that would likely seriously injure our kids (locking away poisons, anchoring heavy furniture like armoires to the wall, gating stairs, plugging outlets) but leaving the rest of our home the way it is. It’s important to us that our home remain ours and our kids learn to live in it. I’m not interested in living in a romper room for ten years! If we “donate” some furniture or decorative things to the garbage, then so be it. They are just things.

  45. Maddy on October 4, 2011 at 12:31 am

    As others mentioned when they are newborns and babies it’s easier to keep them safe. You just have to make sure they don’t roll off anything or on to something and as they get a little older make sure they don’t get too wild in the bouncy chair. Ours could make that chair hop and move accross the room

    Here’s what we did as soon as the baby could locomote…

    -baby gates
    -moved coffee table to a no baby zone and for a while had free space, then got an ottoman
    taped padding to corners of TV stand, etc
    -Store all cleaning products in top shelf of pantry in a baby safe box (I think we got it at One Step Ahead)
    -At our old place we didn’t have a dining room. Here we do, but opted for a table we could store when not in use so there was more room for our hyper/high energy kiddo to move about safely
    Made sure to have rugs down that wouldn’t slip. He was a speed crawler and he needed the padding of the rugs and also the safety of them not moving
    -Cabinet security locks-I think we got those from One Step Ahead as well

  46. Marguerite Miller on October 4, 2011 at 11:59 am

    My nephew was usually very good about not touching things he shouldn’t! But his worst injury as a baby was burnt fingers! His dad had just made a cup of hot chocolate and sat it on the coffee table to relax with my nephew and watch some TV! For some reason, my nephew went for the mug and grabbed the top with his fingers sticking in it! It was very hot and he got bad burns from it! He needed burn cream and bandages for a little while! He was only about a year old, and he had never done this before! My brother-in-law felt terrible, but even worse he had to tell my sister and all of us!

    Accidents happen to even the best parents! You just prepare the best way you can! You won’t know exactly what needs to be done until you meet her and see what kind of child she is! There are the obvious things like locking the cabinet with any chemicals, etc. that everyone should do!

  47. Meghan on October 25, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I think it is really best to see what kind of kid you have my first never got into anything therefore baby proofing was minimal I taught her what was ok and what was not ok and she learned quick. This method is also helpful when you are going to places that are not baby proof so that they know how to behave and follow directions on what they can and cannot touch. My son much different, into much more which means I have a lot more training to do and have lost a few tooth brushes down the toilet but I still believe he needs to know how to behave outside his baby proofed environment. He knows not to touch the fireplace teh very first thing we tought him and one of his first words was hot…they catch on quick.

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