How to baby proof your home

Children are naturally curious and inquisitive. They can quickly get themselves into all sorts of dangerous situations around the house. Use this baby proofing checklist from The International Association for Child Safety to help you ensure the safety your your tot.

Children are naturally curious and inquisitive. They can quickly get themselves into all sorts of dangerous situations around the house. Use this baby proofing checklist to help you ensure the safety your your tot.

Anchor furniture and televisions to prevent serious injuries from tip-overs. Even heavy pieces of furniture can become unstable if the doors or drawers are opened, pulled or climbed on. Anchoring or tethering devices must be designed to support the weight of the unit and must be securely fastened with screws into wall studs.

Keep all furniture away from windows. This ensures that cribs are away from window coverings and helps prevent toddlers from climbing near windows.

Cordless window treatments and blinds are best. Blinds with cords are a strangulation hazard. Go cordless!

The Tot Recommends:

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Install window guards or window stops on windows. A window stop prevents the window from opening more than a few inches (but has a release mechanism for emergency exit). Even if windows are above a child’s normal reach, a child might move a chair or toy in order to reach the window. Note: screens will not protect a child from falls and are meant to keep bugs outside.

Use sliding outlet covers baby safe outlet plugs. Small removable outlet caps could be removed by toddlers and often are not replaced when the outlet is used. Some small caps are choking hazards.

The Tot Recommends:

Bink Dots: Bink Dots are baby-safe outlet plugs that give parents a little joy. The extra snug fit makes them hard for toddlers to pull out, while the ergonomic design makes for comfortable adult removal. Their unique 360° grip means you can remove from any angle or tight space.

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Ensure there are no electrical cords near the crib. This includes baby monitor electrical cords which are a strangulation risk. Please do not place any video monitors in the crib, on the crib, above the crib or near the crib (including wall-mounted models). Babies can reach through crib slats and pull cords into a crib. Install cords and monitors at least 3 feet away from the crib.

Use “box covers” to hide plugs. If an electrical item is plugged in all the time, use a “box cover” type of outlet cover to hide the plug (small and large sizes are available).

Extension cords should not be used in the nursery or throughout the house. Use surge protectors with a safety cover.

Avoid free-standing lamps. Overhead lighting is best since table lamps or free-standing lamps can be pulled over by toddlers.

Nightlights are best when placed out of the reach of your baby. Nightlights could be a hazard and some models allow easy access to the light bulb.

Nothing in the crib is best (except your baby)!  Because of the risk of suffocation, please do not use bumper pads, pillows, stuffed animals and blankets in a crib. Toys that are installed on the crib slats should be secured on the wall side (the manufacturer’s instructions should be checked). Avoid wall hangings above the crib.

Use sleep sacks or sleepers instead of blankets in the crib. Hand-knitted blankets could unravel, exposing a long dangerous string. Other blankets are a suffocation risk.

The Tot Recommends:

The HALO Sleepsack Swaddle: The HALO SleepSack Swaddle replaces loose blankets in the crib that can cover your baby’s face and interfere with breathing. In addition to helping your baby sleep safer, it helps him sleep better, too. Used in hospital nurseries nationwide. Discontinue swaddling when the baby shows signs of rolling over or breaking out of the swaddle wrap.

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Check to make sure your crib has not been recalled. In recent years, numerous cribs have been recalled, mainly for hazards associated with the drop-side mechanisms. Crib standards have been improved so select cribs that meet current safety standards. New cribs will not have drop-side mechanisms. Visit www.cpsc.gov to check for recalls and crib safety information. Infants should sleep in cribs and not on adult beds or couches.

Consider the use of finger pinch guards on doors to prevent serious injuries to fingers.

Replace door stops with one piece safety door stops. The small rubber cap that is on many door stops is a choking hazard.

Install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Follow the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer. The batteries must be changed regularly and detectors replaced at least every 10 years (check the manufacturer’s instructions because some may recommend replacement sooner, such as seven years for a CO detector).

Furniture should not be placed close to a crib. An adjacent dresser could provide a foothold for climbing (if a dresser is directly against the crib) or it could cause entrapment if a child climbs out of the crib (the child could become entrapped between the crib and a dresser).

Toy chests should have lid supports. This includes built-in chests. New toy chests may have lid supports. Old chests should not lock automatically (ensure the lid and the lock can be opened from the inside of the chest).

Gliders could be a risk. A glider with exposed slats may give children access to moving parts and be a risk for finger injuries.

Cover sharp & pointy edges. Sharp edges on kitchen benches, dressers and tables can pose a hazard especially if children are running around or playing near them.

The Tot Recommends: 

Bumpy Connect Safety Corner & Edge Bumper Set: Made from baby-friendly, food-grade rubber, Bumpy Connect is the safest and most considered edge protection. Designed to blend seamlessly into your furniture, the sleek, low-profile makes it tough for little fingers to pull off.

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Avoid step stools and little play chairs. Children often use them to gain access to items that are stored up high or windows. Some of them are not stable and designed for older children.

Secure Changing Tables. Never leave a child unattended on a changing table (at any age). Ensure your baby can’t reach wall hangings, cords, diaper supplies or diaper ointments.

Store medicines and poisons up high and in locked containers. Lock boxes are available for storing items. Button batteries are a serious hazard and can be found in household items such as bathroom scales and remotes.

About the International Association for Child Safety (IAFCS)

The IAFCS is an organization of child safety professionals and babyproofers who are dedicated to increasing home safety awareness and preventing childhood injuries. The IAFCS and its members specialize in educating families about home hazards, selecting quality and reliable safety products and installing these products in homes. IAFCS members help parents and caregivers create safer home environments for children to explore and grow. The IAFCS develops and oversees industry best practices and a certification program for Certified Professional Childproofers. Visit ChildproofingExperts.com and IAFCS.org for more safety tips.