Preparing to welcome a child means getting your maternity essentials ready and ensuring your home is a safe and nurturing place for your newborn. Here’s how to babyproof your home, room by room.
1. Living room
As one of the biggest rooms in the house, the living room is filled with large furniture that could pose a potential risk to your newborn or toddler. Begin by anchoring heavy furniture, like the TV and wobbly bookshelves, to reduce their chance of toppling over onto your child. Additionally, be aware of any cords hanging from your windows—these pose a serious choking hazard for kids and should be wrapped around a cord holder or replaced with cordless blinds.
Another living room element to address is electric outlets. Because your baby will probably be crawling close to the ground, they may try to stick their fingers into the outlet. Buy outlet covers to prevent electric shock or reposition your furniture in front of any exposed outlets.
Since there are a lot of hazards in the kitchen (think: sharp knives, hot surfaces, etc.), most parents will put a baby gate at the kitchen entrance and make the space entirely off limits. If you choose not to do this, be sure to secure all cabinets with safety latches, install childproof covers on stove knobs, fix any faulty appliances and ensure they’re all working properly, and unplug your toaster or coffee maker when not in use.
Similar to the kitchen, the bathroom can be one of the more hazardous rooms in the home. However, these safety tips will keep your baby safe:
- Install a hook-and-eye lock high on the door to prevent your child from getting into the bathroom unsupervised.
- Keep the toilet seat down and consider installing a toilet lock to prevent your baby from lifting the lid and crushing their fingers or falling into the toilet.
- Unplug your blow dryer, curling iron, and any other beauty appliances that produce heat to prevent your baby from burning themselves.
- Store all vitamins and medications in a medicine cabinet or on a high shelf—these can be a choking hazard and be potentially toxic to your child if ingested.
- Add a no-slip mat in the tub to prevent falls.
Before you bring your newborn home, you’ll want to make sure that your crib is up-to-date (note: the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has placed a ban on all drop-side cribs). Keep stuffed animals out of the crib for the first year and install a baby monitor in the bedroom to keep a close eye on your child. Additionally, make sure the windows in your baby’s bedroom have a guard that prevents your child from opening the window and falling out. Similar to the living room, make sure any cords are out of your child’s reach.
If your garage is full of heavy, sharp tools and chemicals, take the time to declutter, throw away items you don’t use anymore, and rearrange to ensure the space is conducive for children to walk around. Make sure stacked boxes are stable and won’t tip over and keep all tools locked away in a kit or on a shelf, out of reach from children.
Kay Carter is a writer from Raleigh, NC. When she isn't writing about home improvement or the latest wellness trends, she enjoys, reading, traveling, and practicing photography. She is affiliated with House Method.