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Published: May 30, 2024 5 min read

From stocking up on diapers to finding childcare within your budget, there’s a lot to consider when welcoming a little one into your family. But ensuring your home is safe for your new arrival should be at the top of your to-do list.

While nearly 60% of families have had a child injured at home, more than half (55%) of household injuries could have been prevented with better childproofing, according to a 2023 survey by the review site SafeHome.org.

To skip the tears (and a potential ER visit), keep reading.

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Install locks and secure furniture

Rummage through your cabinets and you’re bound to find a bunch of stuff kids shouldn’t get their hands on — cleaning supplies, medicine, knives, glassware, batteries… the list goes on. This is usually an easy fix, since you can find a variety of child safety locks online and in any store with a baby section.

Still, it’s not just cabinets and drawers you need to worry about. Consider getting locks for your toilet lids, windows and doors to any rooms children should stay out of, like furnace rooms, basements and even a cluttered office. Heavy furniture like bookshelves, dressers and TV stands need to be secured with furniture straps, and you’ll probably want to put edge guards on any sharp corners.

Use baby gates and block windows

Once you’ve got a crawler, baby gates can keep your little one out of potentially dangerous areas of the house. These can be especially helpful in preventing injuries on the stairs, as long as you install a gate at both the top and bottom, says David Drutz, owner of Kiddie Proofers, a childproofing company based in Toronto, Canada.

You’ll also want to make sure your kid doesn’t have easy access to the windows in your home, even if they have screens. Keep your windows locked, and avoid placing things a toddler can climb on top of — like a couch — directly in front of them.

Keep cords out of reach and cover every outlet

Babies and toddlers will play with literally everything they can reach, including cords. For windows and drapes, it’s best to have cordless options, but if that’s not possible, you can secure cords to the floor or wall with cord covers and tape. Same goes for electrical cords.

You’ll need to cover your electrical outlets, too. Like baby locks, this should be a minor expense — on Amazon, outlet covers come in packs of 30 to 50 for as little as $4.

Get rid of hazardous items

While it may be obvious to keep everyday things like car keys away from little fingers, other items — like the small plastic caps that are on some door stops — can be easy to miss. Do a careful sweep of your home, and toss or store anything that could be a hazard.

Less is more, especially when it comes to your baby’s nursery. Keep stuffed animals and blankets out of the crib — and, while you’re at it, read up on the infant sleep safety guidelines set by the National Safety Council.

Drutz teaches parents what he calls the “six-inch rule”: Everything you put on a counter must be at least six inches away from the edge. That applies to knick knacks, cords, dishes and anything that could hurt a child if it falls on their head.

Don’t forget about houseplants, either. As pretty as they can be, some plants like elephant’s ear and ZZ plants can be harmful for children. The University of Connecticut’s College of Architecture, Health and Natural Resources has a full list of toxic plants (plus safe ones).

Use your home security

Home security systems may keep intruders out, but they can also come in handy for child safety. Entryway sensors, motion-sensing cameras and flood and leak sensors can alert you when a little one has wandered into a room they shouldn’t be in, snuck up the stairs or is in the bathtub.

As your baby grows into a full-blown kid — which, by the way, happens in the blink of an eye — indoor cameras can help you keep tabs on them without being intrusive when they’re playing in another room.

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