When you find out you’re expecting a new baby (or grand baby, or niece or nephew), so many things run through your mind. Especially if it’s your first, or if it’s been a while since you’ve had a new baby. At some point, it hits you – what do I need to do to baby-proof my home and make it safe?? Our second baby boy came only 19 months after our first, so I didn’t give baby proofing a second thought. We already took care of all of that when we had our first! No big deal. Oh my, was I wrong! Baby #1 didn’t crawl until about a year, and didn’t walk until 15 months. He was totally content to sit and smile and play with a toy. He didn’t get into much, didn’t put much in his mouth, easy peasy! Then baby number two came. It didn’t take long for us to realize that he was COMPLETELY different, and as he has grown we’ve truly enjoyed learning all the many ways he is his own person, totally unique. But we were NOT prepared for how quickly he was getting around – he was walking around the house independently at 10 months!! What?? He had to keep up with big brother! And before we knew it, he was getting into drawers and cabinets, trying to plug things into outlets, getting into other rooms, and otherwise finding things that were not great for babies.
Gradually, as he grows and gets into more things, we have improved our baby-proofing methods. Sometimes it’s simple things, like keeping things away from the edges of the tables, where his little hands can reach. But there are a few items we found that really help keep things baby friendly around here, and they may help you, too! These are some of the items we offer in our Baby Proofing Package. (As part of our local handyman business in Parkersburg, WV, people can hire Tony to come to their home and do some basic baby proofing. The package price includes the items we bring along!)
For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links to Amazon items we have used and found helpful. Purchases made using these links help support Garcia Grotto and our family so we can continue offering these helpful tips!
#1 – Outlet Covers
It may seem like a no-brainer, but outlet covers are important! Especially after they’ve seen you plug things in to them a time or two. “Oh, I know what that’s for! You put things in the little holes!” Babies are smart, and their instinct is to do what you do – they just don’t know what could hurt them. There are some really cheap, basic electric outlet covers out there! Some are easier to get out than others – which can be handy for you when you want to use them, or not so useful when baby is pulling them out. They can come in white, or even clear – great if you don’t want it to look so obvious. But then when you actually need to keep something plugged in, what do you do?? Baby pulls that cord and unplugs it, tries to plug it back in, it can be a real safety hazard. There are actually outlet covers available that allow you to plug something in, and then lock it shut so baby can’t get to it! We tried one, but found that it had trouble accommodating some thicker cords. We like this one! It’s great for the lamp that we want to STAY PLUGGED IN, even with curious little ones that think it’s fun to watch the light go off when they pull on the cord.
#2 – Cabinet Locks
There are several option when it comes to locking or latching cabinet doors and drawers, and the best option depends on your individual situation. Here are a few of our favorites! These are great, and multipurpose! No drilling or tools required, and the adhesive is nice and strong. You can use them to latch cabinets, as the name suggests, but also for the refrigerator and toilet! No need to buy a specialized lock for each thing. Just make sure you check which side stays on the cabinet (or fridge or toilet), and which side opens easily. I got the sides mixed up the first time I put one on the toilet, and then the strap was really in the way when we opened the lid! Oops! Thankfully the command strips come off without too much fuss. We use them for the refrigerator and toilet, but I’m not super confident about how well the adhesive would come off wood surfaces. Another downside is there’s no hiding them – they’re pretty obvious. But this doesn’t bother us. We got them in white since that more or less matches the surfaces where we need them. If you have cabinets with door nobs that loop, these are simple and cheap. We use them for the cabinet doors under the bathroom sink. We do NOT want any babies or toddlers getting to the toilet bowl cleaner! The tops of those look JUST like a bottle or sippy cup top. Yikes! Obviously these only work with certain kinds of cabinet door knobs. On the plus side, they are easy to install, easy to adjust to the correct length, easy enough for adults to open and close, and there’s no drilling or sticking so removal is a breeze.
#3 – Drawer Latches
You probably have drawers in your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, dining room, maybe your living room… Odds are you may not realize you have so many until you try to start baby proofing them! Let’s simplify. Not all drawers need locked up tight. If they’re the top drawer and baby won’t be able to reach it for a while, you may not ever need to lock them. We have some rooms, like our bedroom and laundry room, that we lock up so that babies don’t wander in unmonitored at all. We haven’t bothered baby proofing much of anything in there. Drawers in the bathroom ARE locked – for the sake of my sanity. When mom’s getting ready and babies are wandering around her feet, those drawers are SO tempting! Before you know it, all of your makeup and bobby pins and hair ties are all over the floor. So we slapped on the stick-on drawer locks. When it doesn’t open right away, they usually lose interest. But maybe that kitchen cabinet drawer with all the silverware and knives could use some extra security – there’s a little more risk to babies getting in there. These drawer latches have adhesive strips AND optional screws to use with them. So you can choose how secure you want it, or which drawers you may not want to have permanent holes in them! Usually the holes aren’t too big of a deal, because they’re inside and you can’t easily see it, but it is more work to install.
#4 – Edges and Corners
There’s only so much you can do with edges and corners. I mean, there will be furniture with those pesky edges EVERYWHERE you go, and when baby is learning to walk, it’s always something to watch out for. We decided to eliminate some by going with an open living room plan for a while – and by that I mean we got rid of the coffee table! It was just too easy for wobbly babies to hit their heads on, and we spend a lot of time in that room. But for those places that can’t be eliminated and are in high-traffic areas, there are some really great options! These usually come with double sided tape or peel and stick adhesive. You can get clear corner guards, so they don’t stand out too much, but protect babies from the sharpest part of the corners. Or there are longer strips for edges of tables – we use these on the bottom of our Sliding Barn Door TV cover, because it’s mounted on the wall low enough for babies to bump their heads on it. It comes in different colors, and the Coffee color blends in well with the dark stain on our tv cover. There is even extra double sided tape, so if it is removed or comes off, you can reattach it!
#5 – Door Knobs
It happens before you know it – baby is up and moving, and reaching for those door knobs. As I mentioned before, some rooms in our home are just not baby proofed! We had to find a way to keep them out of those rooms (laundry room, bathroom, our bedroom, etc.) I knew there were door knob baby proofing options for round door knobs (like these) – but our inside door knobs are levers. We found these, and they have worked perfectly with both babies! We can just leave the bottom out at first, because the baby could just barely reach the lever enough to pull down on it. Later we had to slide the top part out so the lever can’t be pulled up or down. One tip – show guests how to use them before they try to visit your restroom and find themselves locked in or out!
We also found these things useful for when we DON’T want the babies to close a door. Both babies are playing happily in their bedroom, when suddenly big brother decides to turn off the light and close the door. Baby brother was NOT happy about that! These slip over the door hinges, it’s so easy! Plus they keep babies from shutting their fingers in the doors. You just have to remember to take it back off before you want to close the door, and to put it somewhere you won’t lose it for the next time.
I hope you’ve found this helpful! Comment or email us with your thoughts!