Mother and Baby

Baby proofing checklist: Everything you need to do before your child starts to crawl

Section: Safety
baby proofing

When you bring your bundle of joy home from the hospital, you'll already have done your fair share of baby proofing, but once your baby starts to crawl you'll need to get ready to childproof your home all over again.

On average, babies and toddlers start to crawl between 6 and 10 months, so it's a good idea to begin the baby-proofing process at the first signs of crawling.

We've created your go-to checklist with top tips for baby proofing your home, going systematically through every room in the house - from the kitchen and bathroom to your baby's nursery.

Technology and appliances

  • Hide any cords behind heavy pieces of furniture like a bookshelf or sofa
  • Keep hot electrical appliances, like straighteners, toasters, kettles or coffee makers unplugged and out of reach

Windows, doors and stairs

  • Use window guards to prevent potentially dangerous falls
  • Install safety gates at the bottom and top of the stairs 
  • If you have balcony railings with gaps larger than 6.5cm then block them off with plastic, bamboo fencing or other materials
  • Use doorstops to stop doors slamming unexpectedly 

Fireplaces

  • Install a fireguard for when your fire is burning
  • If you have a gas fireplace, move the keys out of reach
  • For real fires, store any logs, matches and fireplace tools out of reach

Kitchen

  • Keep any heavy pans or sharp kitchen knives or tools locked up or well out of reach
  • Use rubbish bins with childproof lids
  • Put locks or latches on cupboards
  • Use knob covers, locks or safety gates for rooms you don't want your baby crawling into, for example, the kitchen if someone is cooking
  • Secure your fridge with an appliance latch
  • Give up using tablecloths or placemats for a while, if your baby pulls on them then everything on the cloth or mat will come down with it
  • A great way to distract your baby from other areas in the kitchen is to keep one cupboard unlocked and fill it with baby-safe items like Tupperware
  • Cook on back burners on the hob where possible
  • Keep glassware well out of reach
  • Install covers on the knobs of your oven
  • Move the highchair away from the table and when not in use so your baby doesn't try to climb on it

Living room

  • Anchor your TV to the wall if possible
  • Move tall, wobbly lamps behind furniture, like your sofa
  • Put safety covers on electric sockets
  • Move blinds with looped string blind cords 
  • Attach corner and edge guards to side and coffee tables so they don't bump into sharp edges
  • Consider anchoring furniture such as bookcases or any pieces that can topple to the walls with anchor straps
  • Check your houseplants to see if they're toxic for babies, and remove them if they are
  • Put non-slip grips under all rugs

Nursery

  • Position your baby's cot away from heaters, other furniture and windows
  • Put a thick rug below the changing table
  • Use rug grips to stop any slipping over
  • Put baby wipes and other baby supplies out of reach of your little one
  • Finish all painting and wallpapering at least eight weeks before your baby is due to avoid any harmful fumes
  • Check that the slats of the cot are no more than 6.3cm apart
  • Keep pillows, toys and comforters out of the crib when your baby is sleeping
  • Secure storage dressers to the wall
  • Always keep the drop side of the cot locked if you're not in the room
  • Don't hang toys from the side of the cot
  • Remove any mobiles

Car and garage

  • Install a rear-facing car seat in the back seat (in the middle if possible)
  • If you live somewhere sunny or it's the height of summer, use stick-on sun shades to block the rays on the back windows
  • Clear the car of any small objects like pens or coins that could be choking hazards
  • Store tools or toxic substances well out of reach in your garage
  • Keep the door locked or install a gate
  • Place detergent and laundry products in a locked cupboard

baby proofing laundry

Bathroom

  • Install a temperature gauge on your hot water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Never leave your baby unsupervised in the bath
  • Use a non-slip mat
  • Install a soft cover for the bath spout and covers for the taps
  • You could also use a bath seat
  • Install a toilet seat lock

Toys

  • Make sure toys are well made and securely put together
  • Toys shouldn't have buttons, beads or anything your baby could pull off or choke on
  • They shouldn't have string or cords longer than 30cm
  • They also shouldn't be too heavy

Preventing poisoning

  • Check your whole home and move any cleaning products, vitamins, medicines and toiletries well out of reach in locked cupboards
  • Never store cleaning products in unmarked Tupperware or old food containers
  • Make sure any handbags belonging to visitors that could contain makeup or medicines are put well out of reach

Preventing burns

  • Don't carry hot food or drink and your baby at the same time
  • Don't hold your baby while you're cooking
  • Turn pan handles towards the back of the hob when you are cooking
  • Curious kids love to open things, so fit an oven door guard
  • Turn off appliances when you're finished using them

baby proofing kitchen

Emergency planning

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector and check the batteries regularly
  • Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home and in hallways and outside bedrooms and check the batteries often
  • Add emergency contact information to your phone where it can be accessed quickly or even in lock mode
  • Stock up on first aid equipment and store it in an easily accessible cupboard (with a childproof lock)
  • Make sure you have an operating landline and charged up portable charger in case of power outages
  • Write down emergency contacts and keep them near your landline phone
  • Make sure your house or flat number is easy to identify in case the emergency services need to access your home
  • Plan a fire escape route

More from Mother&Baby:

 
  • Author: Louella Berryman Louella Berryman
  • Job Title: Audience Development Executive

After training as a journalist at Cardiff University and winning the BBC Best New Brand of the Year Award for her plastic-free magazine, Louella now works in Audience Development across Bauer’s lifestyle brands.
She has also written for The Sunday Times Travel, Grazia, heatworld, Closer Online and her food blog, Louella’s Kitchen. She's interested in writing about food, culture and women's health.

Other contributors

Emily Thorpe - Digital Writer

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