How to baby-proof your bathroom, kitchen, and everywhere else in your home
Simple and affordable ways to keep babies safe from household hazards
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There are plenty of specific areas in your home that present a challenge when it comes to baby-proofing. Here, we look at individual rooms, and how the right mix of products can work together to create a safer space. We’ve done the research and testing so that you can get straight to work.
Bathing a baby isn’t easy, and it can actually get more difficult when they’re toddlers. It can be tough to monitor the temperature of your baby’s bath when you’re doing fifteen other things, so we recommend using a thermometer (as opposed to the back of your hand) to check the warmth of the water. A great option is the b&h Baby Thermometer. Disguised as an innocuous rubber ducky, this thermometer has a digital temperature readout, smart alarms and a timer all built into its cute rubbery facade.
Once the bath is underway, it’s important to avoid slips that could cause bumps and bruises. The faucet is one of the hardest and most common areas of collision, so we like having the Puj Snug on top of it. Another adorable piece of decor that's actually a safety device, Puj’s Snug is made of mildew-resistant foam that is supportive, while also having enough flex to fit on a wide variety of faucets and spouts.
The other area in the bathroom that you’ll want to keep locked up is your toilet. Kids often try to reach in and swish their hands around (gross), so it’s best to keep your lid locked down with a Mommy’s Helper Lid-Lok. It’s easy to install, and for adults to operate, but it usually stymies even the most curious toddler.
The kitchen has a long list of hazards that start with what’s behind your cabinet doors. The first question to ask yourself before embarking on baby-proofing is whether or not you want to drill holes in your cabinets. If you’re not interested in drilling, or you're a renter and don’t have the option, the Safety 1st Magnetic Locking System uses adhesive tabs and a magnetic key to open cabinet doors. Simply affix the lock onto the back of the door, install the tab, and close it. This kit comes with two keys, which you line up with the lock to open doors like magic.
If you’re on a tight budget, or if you just prefer something simpler, the VMAISI 12 Pack Children Proof Cupboard Baby Latches are a great option. You can outfit your entire kitchen for less than half of what it costs to use the magnetic option, and once they’re installed, all you have to do to open a cabinet is to press down on the tab, releasing it from its holder.
If you’re looking to simply close off doors, such as oven doors, refrigerators, trash cans, or a dishwasher, the Munchkin XtraGuard Dual Action Multi Use latches are an easy adhesive option. These have a simple two finger lock that you pinch to open. Attach one end to the door and the other to something solid, and you’re done.
The stove is another area to which you’ll want to pay close attention. On certain models of gas ranges, it can be relatively easy for your toddler to bump or even turn a knob, which can result in gas being released into your home. Keep everyone safe from asphyxiation with the Jool Baby Clear Stove Knob Covers. The covers offer a universal fit, and they prevent kids from being able to turn stove knobs into an “on” position.
Next up are the hazards that occur in almost every room. This catch-all category includes electrical outlets, door knobs, and windows.
Just like their stove knob covers, the Jool Baby Door Knob Locks prevent a child from being able to open a door. The simple two-part plastic casing fits over the existing door knob, rendering them useless to a toddler, but still usable by an adult to come in. If you have sliding doors, we suggest the Ashtonbee Sliding Door Lock. This clever device sits behind the door and immobilizes it with a plastic tab that adults can quickly release when needed.
Cords from window treatments can cause series injuries, including strangulation. While new safety standards have been enacted to prohibit the sale of blinds with cords, many homes still possess the older, corded models. If that's the case in your house, stock up on Safety Innovations Cord Wraps. They're easy to install (simply screw them in) and they contain the extra cord length when your blinds are up or down.
Since electricity powers everything we own, there can be a lot of outlets in a given room. KidCO's 36-count Plug Covers are an easy and cost-effective way to prevent injuries from curious kids sticking their fingers in electrical sockets. For about a quarter a pop, these covers are easy for an adult to install, but difficult for a toddler to remove. Other plug covers can be brittle and prone to cracking, these have a supportive central nub that lends them some structural integrity.
If you're not keen on the idea of plugging and unplugging each outlet all the time, another option to consider is outlet covers. While you can buy covers that fully close-off the outlet, we prefer the ones that are sliding and self-closing, specifically the Ziz Home Self-Closing Outlet Covers. While these are slightly more expensive at $2.50 per outlet, they're still a great budget find. When you need to plug something in, simply use the prongs at the end of your device's cord to gently push the cover open. Upon removing the device, the plastic will retract to shield the plug.
Lastly, for hard edges in any room, we like the Roving Cove Baby Proofing Edge & Corner Guards. Made of durable .4 inch foam, these are the top-of-line thanks to their safe materials and above-average density. It’s easy to find a lot of toxins in the everyday foam products we encounter, but Roving Cove is dedicated to making a safe product and in being transparent about their materials.
In preparing for a baby you’ve got a lot on your plate. There’s choosing a stroller, selecting a place for the baby to sleep, and oh yeah, finding a daycare that doesn’t break the bank. Baby-proofing is certainly not as interesting as decorating the nursery, but it’s one of the most important new parent tasks. When you start thinking about baby-proofing, consider how your child while see your home; because life looks a little bit different from knee height.
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.