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My baby is now 10 months old, and he is a fiercely independent crawler! It’s amazing how fast he can get to the complete other side of the house and to where “no one” is watching.
In addition to his crawling mobility, he is also now standing while holding onto furniture.
I’ve come to grips with the fact that I no longer have an infant — it is time to baby proof our home for a toddler!
See how we’ve been toddler proofing our house for our son’s crawling and learning-to-stand stage…
From 6 months to 1 year of age, Baby is pulling up to stand, crawling and drawn to sharps edges. Corner padding, foam play mats, carpeting and rugs will all help. You do however have a bigger problem… everything goes in their mouth. Everything. The only way to baby-proof this properly is to keep things tidy and small objects out of reach. As Baby’s vision gets better, they can focus on tiny details for the first time. This is a very intriguing new skill, and when they master the motor skills to pick up those tiny pieces, the automatic questions is “I wonder what it tastes like?” Source
How To Toddler-Proof Your Home
Each home is different. Start by getting down to your baby’s perspective and crawling on your hands and knees.
Toddler proofing requires you to look for potential hazards in your home from your child’s unique perspective.
These are some of the areas you’ll want to child proof:
#1 – Clothes Iron
What to do: Keep the iron out of baby’s reach at all times — regardless of whether it’s hot or cold.
Why: One tug of the ironing cord could send the heavy iron downward onto baby.
How to do it: Put away the clothes iron (and make sure the dangling cord isn’t still reachable) any time you have to leave the room or stop ironing, My husband irons his shirt for work every day. He now makes a point to put the iron away immediately after use.
#2 – Doors
What to do: Prevent baby from opening and closing doors to the rooms inside your house.
Why: Toddlers can get pinched fingers. Also, your baby could end up on the other side of the door — where you can’t see what he’s doing.
How to do it, for rooms that are not used very much: Keep the doors to those rooms closed at all times — that way, you will have fewer areas to monitor and supervise.
How to do it, for rooms that are used often: We fold a towel width-wise in quarter sections (keeping the length) and then place it over top of the open door near the hinge side. This prevents baby from crunching their fingers as they explore the door’s swinging action. The door won’t be able to close with the towel close to the hinge, and the door cannot come into contact with the door frame either. The towel is too high for baby to reach — yet it’s easy for you to remove if you want the door closed.
#3 – Electrical Outlets
What to do: Keep them covered at all times.
Why: So baby cannot insert a finger (or a toy) into an outlet and become electrocuted.
How to do it: Insert child proof outlet plug covers in all of your exposed outlets. Block or hide other outlets with furniture.
#4 – Electrical Cords
What to do: Keep them from getting tangled in baby’s hands. My baby has a thing for cords — so the goal is simply to keep them all out of his reach.
Why: One tug on an electrical cord could send the item at the end of that cord (and anything else in its path) tumbling down on baby.
How to do it: Route all exposed cords behind furniture and secure them in place using a sticky 3M Command Hook. Or use zip ties to pull together cords and then tuck them away.
#5 – Window Blinds
What to do: Keep them up high — out of baby’s reach.
Why: Dangling cords could strangle a curious toddler.
How to do it: Tie window blind cords together and secure them in place — high up out of reach. Or use window blind safety cord wraps.
#6 – Stairs, Halls, and Doorways
What to do: Keep stairways, hallways, and entrances to other rooms in your house blocked — so baby can’t leave the room.
Why: You won’t be able to keep your eyes on baby if he is able to find a way out on his own.
How to do it: Install child proof baby gates to keep your toddler more contained within 1 or 2 rooms. Don’t forget to block off the bottom and top of any stairs! This is the walk-thru baby gate that we use.
#7 – Small Items on the Floor
What to do: Keep small items off the floor and out of baby’s reach. My baby is at the stage where everything goes in his mouth — so I’m always scanning the floor for potential hazards (paper, plastic, wrappers, dog food remnants, etc).
Why: Toddlers can choke on small items.
How to do it: A toilet paper tube makes a great DIY “choke tester tool.” If an item can fit into an empty toilet paper tube, then it is small enough for your baby to choke on.
#8 – Cabinets
What to do: Make sure that every cabinet door in your home is securely closed at all times.
Why: Toddlers love to explore, and they can find all kinds of fun (dangerous) new things to play with behind cabinet doors.
How to do it, if your cabinets don’t have pulls: Use behind-the-door spring-loaded child proof cabinet safety latches. They’re easy to install and operate, but they make it difficult for babies to open the cabinet doors. The latch is designed to catch the door from opening very far, yet easy enough for an adult to open — by pushing down to release the catch with minimal inconvenience.
How to do it, if your cabinets do have pulls: Attach rubber bands to the paired cabinet pulls, or use a product like these sliding child proof cabinet locks. That way, your cabinet doors will stay closed at all times — and baby will only be able to open the doors very slightly if they’re using all of their strength.
#9 – Refrigerator Doors and Kitchen Drawers
What to do: Secure them closed at all times.
Why: A curious toddler could become trapped behind doors, and tiny fingers could become pinched while opening and closing drawers.
How to do it: Use child proof safety straps. They install in minutes, and the adhesive removes easily with heat from a hair dryer. This multi-use lock is our favorite for toddler proofing.
#10 – Sharp Items (Scissors, Knives, Sewing Supplies, Etc.)
What to do: Remove them from your baby’s reach.
Why: A toddler can become seriously hurt. Or, they could accidentally hurt a beloved family pet.
How to do it: Keep all sharp items locked away out of reach — and get in the habit of putting them away immediately after use.
#11 – TVs, Dressers, and Tall Pieces of Furniture
What to do: Secure them to the wall!
Why: A toddler could tip heavy items over while pulling to stand up.
How to do it: If you have any flat TVs which are not mounted to the wall but sitting on a piece of furniture (such as a TV stand or dresser), use child proof anti-tip furniture anchor straps to securely mount your TVs, high boy dressers, wall units, etc. These are the anti-tip wall straps that we use.
#12 – Items on Top Short Pieces of Furniture
What to do: Be mindful of items (large and small) that you place on top of furniture that is within reach of your baby’s hands.
Why: A toddler’s curiosity for those items is heightened — as they begin to stand and hold onto night stands, couches, and other pieces of furniture.
How to do it: Push items farther back on flat surfaces so baby cannot see (or reach) them.
#13 – Toilet Lids
What to do: Lock the lid to the toilet — so it stays tightly closed at all times.
Why: A curious toddler could fall into the toilet and drown. Plus, some toddlers like to play with toys in the toilet water — which could clog your toilet if your child figures out how to flush the toilet himself.
How to do it: We installed a toilet lid lock after catching our baby with his hands on the toilet seat. We’re still not sure how we feel about it, simply because it’s not convenient to open. But it’s definitely something to consider and try — especially since this stage is just temporary.
#14 – Shower Curtains
What to do: Prevent the shower curtain from being used as leverage when standing or crawling.
Why: One tug on the shower curtain could send the curtain rod, shower curtain hooks, and the shower curtain itself flying downward onto baby.
How to do it: Keep the bathroom door closed at all times. Or tie the shower curtain up out of baby’s reach.
#15 – Pets (Cats, Dogs, Etc.)
What to do: Closely supervise your baby any time dogs and cats are roaming freely in baby’s presence.
Why: Pets and babies behave unpredictably. You never really know what will happen whenever pets and babies are in close proximity to one another — especially during the time that family pets are eating or playing with toys.
How to do it: We have dogs and cats in our home. Every member of our family has transitioned beautifully to baby, and baby appears to be accepted as part of the pack.
Still… I always, without fail, make sure my baby is contained whenever the dogs are eating their food or playing with toys. It’s just not worth the risk to have baby accidentally injured and then be forced to make some awful decision as a consequence.
We are constantly teaching our baby to be gentle with the cats and the dogs. He will eventually know that he is not allowed to pull on tails or provoke the pets, but their interactions together will always be closely monitored until then.
#16 – Garbage Cans
What to do: Keep your toddler out of stinky, messy trash cans.
Why: When toddlers play with toys, they learn that anything behind a door or underneath a lid is usually something worth exploring. However, dirty trash is off limits!
How to do it: Make sure that all of your garbage cans are kept behind closed doors (in a pantry, closet, or garage). Or, have secure lids on them to prevent curious babies from touching the contents inside. Or, use child proof safety straps that can be mounted on trash cans of any size and shape.
IMPORTANT: Please keep in mind that all of the above toddler proofing suggestions are simply a deterrent. They will never replace proper adult supervision.
Toddler Proofing Also Means Setting Boundaries
One of the most important things I feel about childproofing your home is to teach your baby boundaries.
We have taught our baby not to touch certain things in our household.
With close supervision and consistent practice of telling baby “No” for items completely off limits, we’ve been able to teach our baby to stay away from and not touch “off limit” items, such as:
- The cat’s food
- The dog’s water dish
- The TV wall unit
- The kitty door
- Wall outlets
- And more
Don’t get me wrong, he will still test our commitment to the meaning of “off limits” or “No” by a quick check to see if either of us are paying attention while playing within an inch of the off-limit items.
Of course, there has been an accidental tipping of the dog’s water dish from time to time — from a moment of inattention.
But always being mindful of baby and taking the extra precautions to child proof your home will definitely provide you with some additional piece of mind!
I’m a new mom. I work from home and I write — mostly about my outdoor adventures, DIY projects, newly discovered products, and helpful tips as a first-time mom. I also like to share details about the alternative choices I’m exploring as I enjoy this journey called motherhood. My family includes a toddler, 2 stepchildren, 1 dog, 1 cat, and a wonderful husband. My pre-pregnancy life was full of freedom and adventure, so I have a fresh new perspective when it comes to walking away from a career to become a full time stay-at-home Mama.