Here's the situation: Your child is six months old, and they're starting to get pretty good at crawling across the room. Maybe they’ve started standing on their own, cruising around your furniture. Pretty soon they'll be walking and they won't slow down. If you haven't really thought about baby-proofing yet then now is the time to start.
Looking at your home from your normal vantage point isn't going to be the most effective way to assess any potential dangers. The best thing to do is get onto your child’s level. It’s by sitting on the ground that you’ll start to get a sense for how your child sees the world. You’ll see that there's probably some edges in the form of a coffee table, some plugs that about a foot up from your baseboards and—oh, yeah—a lot of breakable or heavy objects.
But where do you ever start? Luckily, you can easily baby-proof your home with minimal effort and a few bucks. The key is finding the best products for the job. That's where we come in. We've tested the best baby-proofing products on the market to help you find the best gates, door locks, outlet covers, edge bumpers, and everything else you need to keep your child safe.
Here are our the best baby-proofing products we have tested:
The Cardinal Gates Stairway Special was the winner of our guide to the best baby gates. It won in our testing thanks to several thoughtful design features and solid construction. Not only does the product come with a comprehensive installation manual, but their videos on YouTube are an excellent tool for those who need a bit more help.
The gate is made to be mounted about six inches from the floor, which avoids the common installation issues that plague many gates. Often, molding, baseboards, or an intricate banister can prove difficult, but not for this one. We found the hardware to be logical and that the installation and subsequent uninstallation left minimal damage. The latch isn’t the prettiest or most obvious, but it’s simple to operate for an adult and not for toddlers.
One of the more uncommon features of this product is that this gate can be installed at a bit of an angle. While it may never be an issue if you have a fairly new home, often times an older home may have more quirks and non-standard openings, where this gate (and probably only this gate) would work, thanks to the adjustments made available by design.
The Cardinal Gates Stairway Special gate is constructed from sturdy yet lightweight aluminum. You should have no problem installing this, seeing as the instructions are particularly outstanding. For those who get a facial tick upon glancing at Swedish furniture instructions, trust that you won't have to worry about losing your weekend over this one.
If you’re looking for a less expensive but still effective gate, the Regalo Easy Step Gate is a good alternative. We liked how quick and easy the installation was, and that it yielded a solid feel without too much fuss. The features that didn't work as well are the slim opening (16 inches) and the odd two-step handle to open the gate. A lot of times, parents who tested this would turn sideways to fit through the narrow opening, which can be especially awkward at the top of the stairs. Overall the gate’s design does the job. This model uses screw-in wall cups to secure the gate to the wall and has a large, if only slightly, clunky-looking handle.
Most people couldn't make do without easy access to an electrical outlet. Whether it’s to charge a phone, or to plug in a blow dryer, we count on electricity to make things go. When there's a curious toddler around, you'll want to do your best to simultaneously cover them up while also allowing you access.
At about 25 cents apiece, the KidCo 36 ct Outlet Caps were the best ones we tested. Not only did they plug in easily, but they're easy for adults to remove thanks to a raised nub in the center of the cap. The cheaper models we looked at relied on a peeling motion to remove, which led to a lot of them breaking into pieces or cracking.
One of the issues with plug covers? When you need to use the plug you need to put the cover somewhere, and little clear pieces of plastic have a way of getting lost. One easy solution for this is an outlet cover plate with built-in plug covers. This is a slightly more expensive solution, but it'll work well if you're going to be using a particular outlet often. We like the Ziz Home Self-Closing Outlet Covers, which will set you back a whopping $2.50 per outlet.
To change out your existing outlets, just unscrew the old ones, put the new one in its place, and then replace with screws—no electrical wiring required. When you need to plug something in, you'll use the prongs at the end of your device's cord and gently push the cover open with them. When you remove the device, the plastic will retract to shield the plug.
The 2016 recall of millions of Ikea dressers highlighted the fact that dressers or other furniture could potentially tip over. While furniture designed for children will include standardized furniture tie-downs, most of them will only are simple plastic cable-ties. We feel that there’s a better way to secure furniture, especially if you’re going to use these anti-tip kits more than once. The Hangman Anti-tip Kit holds 400 lbs with a genius cotter pin design. Sound familiar? The company put out a video on their Facebook page which received over 36 million views.
These are perfect for dressers, or other large pieces of furniture. For televisions that aren't already mounted, we recommend securing them to whatever item they're attached to, i.e the dresser or credenza it sits on.
Nearly every TV comes with VESA-standard holes on the back—designed for letting you wall-mount the TV—which makes the job pretty easy. The best TV mounting straps we found were the Safety Baby Metal TV Straps. The reviewers on Amazon agree, with 95% of the ratings being 4 or 5 stars. Installation is a breeze, and simply requires a screwdriver or drill. To tighten these into place there’s a simple ratcheting design.
If the Safety Baby straps are out of stock, we also think the Skyla Home Furniture and TV Anti-Tip Straps are a great alternative. They'll set you back less than $2 per strap most of the time, though the manufacturer recommends multiple straps for any piece of furniture or TV just to be safe.
There are a few different areas of interest in the bathroom that you'll want to protect. First up is the faucet in the bathtub. While babies are generally in a self-contained tub, as they grow they can easily slip and fall or perhaps bump into the faucet and injure themselves. The Puj Snug was our favorite faucet protector thanks to its cute design, resilient materials, and easy installation. Some of the other models we tested grew mold, or they never fit right.
The Snug is soft enough to provide a cushion against bumps, but not so cumbersome that you can't get it onto the faucet. Puj also has a great set of adhesive bath treads, which are small discs that provide some traction in the tub for when your child is moving around—critical once they can stand on their own in the tub. We liked that unlike larger pads or suction-cupped discs, these are easy to keep clean.
The other thing you'll want to secure about the bathroom? The door handle. Sure, door handles aren't just part of the bathroom, but we felt it deserved inclusion for one reason: Sometimes you just need a moment to yourself. While doorknob locks aren't the most glamorous or high-tech item in our stable of products, they have their own unique purpose.
The Jool Baby Door Knob Lock is incredibly easy to use, with a snap-on design that renders doors impossible for a toddler to open. You may want to practice once or twice yourself, and obviously just put it on the outside knob—you don't want your toddler locking themselves in accidentally. For doors without round knobs, you can try simple hook and eye latches. We've also had luck with these over-the-door sliding latches, which can be unlocked from either side of the door. Just know they're designed for standard size doors and if you have very tight door jambs you may need to do some light sanding to get it to slide freely.
Cabinets are quite possibly the biggest source of frustration for those who are preparing to baby-proof their home. We're here to say that it's not that hard. Cabinet locks come in three distinct flavors: magnetic, push-down tabs, and less popular fabric ties. We didn't consider any of the fabric variety and instead focused on magnetic and push down tabs, both of which require some amount of drilling into your cabinets. While you may be worried about causing damage, keep in mind that it's pretty easy to patch a hole in a place no one sees.
Our favorite cabinet latches were the VMAISI 12-Pack Children Proof Cupboard Baby Latches—especially because they are such an inexpensive option. While the magnetic designs might seem easier or high-tech, it's easy to lose the key for it and you have to hold this random object to use it. You also wind up hovering or tapping the key over the cabinets until you find the magnet, which inevitably is going to leave a mark.
These plastic tab-style locks only let the door open an inch or two, just enough to allow the parent to simply press down the tab to open the rest of the way. Even though there’s a bit of give to the design, there’s not enough for a small child to be able to break them. We found that these were surprisingly durable, especially when compared to the more expensive versions on the market.
In addition to kitchen and bathroom cabinets, you likely also need to secure other things in your home that open and close. If you need to secure a microwave, fridge, or oven, the Munchkin XtraGuard Dual Action Multi Use Latches are a great choice. You just mount one side to the door and the other to the device or a secure mounting point with included 3M adhesive squares. For about $3 a pop, you can easily lock down a cabinet, door, or appliance.
Even though these open with a simple pinch, a toddler won’t be able to figure it out thanks to its sleek design. User reviews overwhelmingly agree, with reviews averaging 4.5 stars on Amazon. Our only warning from experience is to make sure you're not sticking these to anything with a very cheap veneer (such as those ultra-cheap bathroom vanities you'll find at big box stores). The adhesive is strong and may just peel away the top layer, leaving a permanent mark. For any solid wood furniture, plastic, or metal you should be fine.
You can't be everywhere and see everything all the time. As your tot begins to stand, and to sometimes stumble, it's a good idea to cover up the edges and corners of hard surfaces. This includes coffee tables, desks, and even fireplaces. We found that the Roving Cove Baby-Proofing Edge & Corner Guards work the best, and that they provide a lot of cushion in a low-profile, 0.4-inch design. These strips are twice as dense as the competition, and they’re free of all of the bad stuff you normally find in foam products. Other models we tested left residue after uninstalling or they weren't as cushioned. And If you only need to use these on your corners they also sell a four-pack.
Hi, my name is Matt DeLauder. I spent a decade working in the specialty juvenile product industry, where I worked with parents to help outfit them with the right gear for their situation. Being a part of that gave me a unique view into how these products are made, and also how they’re marketed.
While there are lots of innovative products on the market that solve problems, there are also a lot of duds, which you won’t find in any of my work here. I’m also a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician with thousands of installs completed.
The best part of my time in the industry was being able to help families find solutions for their unique situations and to see their families grow as the years went by. Now that my wife and I are expecting, we’re hoping to be able to put some of that stroller-folding knowledge to use.
How We Tested
We started by researching the best products in a wide range of common situations, including ways to secure doors, cabinets, doorways, stairways, doorknobs, appliances, electrical outlets, and fireplaces. We looked at user reviews, our own hands-on experiences, and tried to apply a dose of common sense to find the best solutions possible. We not only considered semi-permanent options—like screw-in hardware—but we also thought about and tried to recommend products for renters and those who aren’t handy with a power drill.
While it may seem overwhelming to have to suddenly secure dozens of doors, windows, outlets, and pieces of furniture, we’ve done the research for you to make sure you get the best products available.
This guide provides an overview to the topic, and gives recommendations across the board. We read the instructions, installed and uninstalled, and made sure that the products we’ve recommended are durable, reliable, and above all easy-to-use. Take our advice and your home should be a safer, more secure place in no time. Even still, it's important to remember that baby-proofing products are not always perfect. Especially as your child gets older you may need to modify or improve solutions that worked when they were younger.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.