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How to Baby-Proof Your Home

A checklist to make your house safe for your baby

Father and baby son gaze at each other.

A checklist to make your house safe for your baby

You want to bring your new baby home to an environment that is warm, welcoming — and safe. While you’re preparing your home for your newest addition, make sure baby safety is part of your checklist.

“Making your home a safe place for your baby well in advance of your due date can help prevent injuries and help your baby feel secure,” says Douglas Fenton, MD, an OB/GYN at Scripps Coastal Medical Center. “Plus, it gives you peace of mind to know you can enjoy your baby without worrying about safety.”

Create a safe nursery

Your baby will spend a lot of time in the nursery, so ensure that is a safe place to have sweet dreams. While planning your nursery, keep the following in mind:

  • Look for a crib that is sturdy and well-constructed with slats no more than 2 3/8 inches apart.
  • Keep bedding to a minimum and avoid pillows.
  • Make sure all furniture is stable and will not topple over easily. While infants cannot yet crawl or pull themselves up, they may get there faster than you expect, and having sturdy surfaces is still an important aspect of baby safety.
  • Do not place furniture under windows.
  • Use safety gates to block off dangerous areas like stairs and bathrooms.
  • Never leave an infant carrier unattended on a counter top or high surface.
  • Install window locks.

Also, keep safety in mind when you’re decorating.

“Drapery and mini-blind cords can present a hazard in every home, so keep them out of reach,” Dr. Fenton says. “Watch out for sharp corners on furniture or small pieces on crib decorations that can be swallowed.”

Baby-safe kitchen and bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms can be filled with hazards to young children. Consider these guidelines to make these rooms more child-friendly:

  • Set the water heater in your home to less than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding.
  • Never leave your baby alone in the bathtub or bath ring, even if there is very little water in it. Children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water.
  • Never leave your child alone in a room with an open heat source, such as a fire, lit stove, candles or heaters.
  • Keep sharp objects, such as scissors, razors, knives, knitting needles and cooking utensils out of reach.
  • Keep all hazardous materials, including alcohol, medications and vitamins, cleaning products, fertilizers and poisons out of reach and/or in locked cabinets.
  • Install safety latches on drawers and cabinets that are within a child’s reach, and on toilet seats.
  • Never heat baby food or bottles in the microwave, which can create dangerous hot spots. Be sure to check the temperature of prepared bottles on your arm before feeding your baby.

Baby safety throughout your home

Make the entire house a safer place for your family by following these guidelines:

  • Make sure all the paint in the house — including walls, railings and furniture — is lead-free.
  • Remove all houseplants that are poisonous.
  • Do not allow young children to play with toys or household items that are smaller than 1 ¼ inch in diameter.
  • Keep long cords for computers, chargers or other electronics up and out of reach.
  • Don’t let appliance cords dangle from tops of counters; secure them.
  • Cover unused electrical outlets with safety caps.
  • Prevent access to pet water and food bowls.
  • Install a smoke/fire detector in each room and CO2 detector.
  • Post emergency phone numbers by your refrigerator.

Safety in the yard and car

  • Do not use pest or weed control poisons when your child is nearby or in play areas.
  • If you have a pool, install a fence around it, and use a pool cover and alarm. Never leave a child unobserved in a pool.
  • Always use a properly installed infant car seat when transporting your child, no matter how short the distance.
  • Never leave your child unattended in the car.