Baby Proofing Advice

Help!! I know this is next on our big list of things to do around the house. I have so many questions!

1) Zones 

Do we baby proof the ENTIRE house or just safe areas for play? For example, I intend to to make our entire basement 100% baby proof – every nook, cranny and outlet. All the furniture bolted to the walls. All the toys ready for play. On the other hand, our upstairs living room has a lot of glass and there is a lot of heavy furniture. I’d like to just leave that room as-is and just never let him in there. But is that realistic? Too risky?

Mazen’s bedroom is another place that definitely needs baby proofing since he’ll be spending time in there. Same with the master bath, bedroom and the porch, which I see as the upstairs warm-weather play area.

What about the kitchen? If we had a big open floor plan with a great room and kitchen in one, I can see that the kitchen would need to be proofed. But our kitchen (and the upstairs living room I mentioned above) are both kind of closed off. I’m not sure if it’s worth putting a lock on every single cabinet if we won’t be in there that much. Right now I cook and eat during naps or while he’s in his highchair, but as he gets more mobile, maybe I’ll need (want?) him to be able to crawl or walk around with me?

I of course want to be on the safe side, but the thought of having proof the whole house is more exhausting than a night with 1 hour wake-ups.

2) What should I buy?

I have this tub spout cover in my Amazon cart.


I have these outlet plug covers. I don’t see the need for anything too fancy because we won’t use our outlets that much to plug things in and out.


We definitely need baby gates at the top and bottom of our stairs. Because we go up and down, I’m looking for something that’s really easy to open and close while holding a baby. I’d love to not have to drill giant holes in the wall, but I hear that makes it extra safe? I would love some gate recommendations!

Obviously if we decide to do the whole kitchen, we’ll need cabinet magnets [like these] or locks. When I have babysat in houses with those cabinet and drawer things, they drive me nuts!

What other gear do I need to buy?

3) On Hands And Knees

What are things that you don’t think about until they become an accident? I’m planning to do the baby crawl around my house and see what looks dangerous. We have the nursery furniture bolted in the wall, but we need to figure out what other furniture in the house needs this – but first we need to decide on those safe zones!

You expert mamas who have mobile kiddos, please share your wisdom to this overwhelmed first-time mom.

Thank you!!

75 thoughts on “Baby Proofing Advice”

  1. My boss (I work out of her home office so I’m constantly around her 1 year old since she was born…and older kids too) doesn’t do ANY baby proofing. If the baby is at home, someone is always looking at her (or the baby is in a swing/exersaucer/etc and can’t move anywhere), she taught her right after she started crawling to turn around to go down stairs, sure the baby bumps her head occasionally (but I mean I bump myself all the time too, it’s part of life, babies are stronger than you think!), but she has also learned how to deal w/ the world on her own and my boss didn’t have to pay money to babyproof the house, we don’t have to climb over gates, etc etc. I think it’s a first baby vs third baby thing, LOL.

    1. I know my mom, grandma and in-house babysitter never babyproofed for me, and I turned out just fine 🙂 Seriously, I know a lot of moms who prefer to just teach their children not to touch things or other safety issues and don’t babyproof at all. Considering going that route – or at least a minimal babyproofing route – myself.

    2. I usually don’t comment, but had to comment on this. A baby gate could save your child’s life. Accidents happen. My sister fell down the stairs when a babysitter wasn’t watching her around 1 year of age (no baby gate). She had devastating seizures following the accident, and now she has cerebral palsy, cortical blindness, and severe cognitive and language deficits. Get a baby gate!

    3. I also taught my little ones to go down the stairs as soon as they could go up. I haven’t had a baby fall down the stairs. The only staircase I have gated (the whole room, actually) is a spiral staircase to the third floor. They have no need to go up there ever anyway.

      1. My son knows to turn around and go down the stairs on his belly but we also have a baby gate because even though he knows how to go down them it isn’t safe for him to do it alone. And yes, I watch my son and am with him at home at all times but sometimes he’s quick and could get away. Better to be safe than sorry.

        Also, you might want to read this if you think that securing furniture is unnecessary (warning: very sad)

        I know that some things seem silly and it can be overdone but some things can really safe your child’s life. It’s not always a matter of teaching your child what not to do.

  2. Baby proofing is really just about the items that cause the most harm. Definitely cover outlets and move breakables up higher, and watch where you put cords. Lock cabinets with sharp objects and/or harmful substances (alcohol, cleaning supplies, etc). And do something with doors so they don’t smoosh fingers! Babies love swinging doors open and closed.

    In my experience, that’s about all you need. As long as you’re in the room and watching him, he’ll be fine. And it’s an excellent opportunity to start teaching “No, that’s not safe,” “be gentle,” or other such phrases. A good example would be when they find an outlet that’s covered and attempt to touch it (as they will because they’re learning about their environment), you can say (firmly), “No, don’t touch outlets. Those can hurt you,” and move them away. A little monitored exploring is totally great and teaches them to learn verbal cues.

    People think that kids can’t learn this early, but it’s complete bunk. Of course, each kid is different and will learn differently and you can adjust from there (aka, whether or not he listens :-D).

  3. We baby-proofed in stages, starting when our girl started crawling (around 7 months) and honestly it’s still a work-in-progress now at 14 months. You’ll need to do different things at different stages – remove dangerous stuff low to the ground (and cover outlets and put up gates) when they start crawling, bolt tippy furniture and remove dangerous stuff slightly higher up when they start pulling up and cruising, then baby-proof more when they start walking. And now at 14 months we’re removing stuff at waist height because our toddler can now reach up and grab stuff higher on bookshelves and tables. So I wouldn’t worry about doing the whole house at once. Just stay one step ahead of your baby.

    We have the same outlet covers, they work just fine. Never saw a need for a spout cover. For sharp edges on furniture, get some foam pipe insulator you can cut up and fashion into covers with duct tape, cheaper and much more effective than the pre-made kinds (again, you won’t need to do that though until Mazen starts walking/cruising). Gates on the stairs (top and bottom) are a necessity and unfortunately will be a huge PITA no matter what kind you get – for them to be effective they are by design hard to open, but you’ll just get used to it. On level ground you can put the ones with a foot pedal to open, but depending on the design of your stairs that type may not work there. You will need to screw them into the wall to make them safe – before you know it Mazen will be pulling up on them and trying to shake them back and forth 🙂 so they need to be secure!

    As for the upstairs living room and kitchen – if you spend any amount of time upstairs, you will need to baby proof at least some areas. Think about it – where do you spend your time now? Mazen will need to be with you or within eyesight of wherever you spend a decent amount of time (like the kitchen). We have an open floor plan between our kitchen and dining room, so we baby-proofed the dining room and put a gate between the two rooms so I can work in the un-baby-proofed kitchen and watch our daughter at the same time. You can leave your living room as is if you rarely use it or only plan on using it when he’s asleep (we didn’t baby-proof our bedroom or small office because we don’t use those rooms at all when she’s up). But if you spend any amount of time in there during the day you’ll have to baby-proof. And I’d go ahead and move the glass/breakables high up when he gets bigger anyhow – imagine a 7 year old boy running around and roughhousing in there!

  4. My child is in daycare, so that limits our time at home. Maybe that makes things different for me, but I did not necessarily baby proof the entire house. We don’t have a lot of glass, though. And we did move the coffee table out of the living room for the indefinite future because it was just becoming a problem (she was climbing on it all the time!).

    We used those magnet locks on the kitchen cabinets and I love, love, love them. I think we got the Safety First ones from Amazon. But I love that you can’t see them from the outside so I don’t have a beautiful kitchen with strings around every handle. Using the magnet key has just become second nature for my husband and me. And you can basically flip them all to off position when you don’t need them anymore so you don’t even need to remove them ever. I wouldn’t use any other option.

    We also have outlet covers (we got some cheap ones from Ikea) and a cover over the bath spout like you linked above. We have a one-story, so no stairs to worry about. We mounted the furniture to the wall in her room and the play room. Other than that, I tend to go by the fact that she’s rarely (probably more like never) in the living/dining room alone. But she’s also the kind of kid who follows me around anyway.

    The only other thing we had was a foam thing on our fireplace mantle because it is brick and just the right height for her to fall on. Now that she’s 2, I think we could remove it but we haven’t yet.

  5. I think this really depends on the type of kid you have and how attentive you are. We did not do locks on all the cabinets in the kitchen but the only things in his reach are things that weren’t dangerous, tupperware, pots, misc non sharp utensils. We did do one lock on the yucky cabinet as we call it, where all the cleaning supplies live. Gates we love and use and had the same qualifications as you, something easy to open. We also had a super wide doorway, these are the ones we have
    and this one

    I definitely prefer the look of the first gate but we bought that one recently and have had the white one for years, we used it to keep our dogs contained. We did not bolt furniture but did eliminate the coffee table from his playroom since it was pretty hefty and a little dangerous. His playroom has some shelving but it’s in a closet so I just shut the doors and he has never tried to climb or pull on it, maybe I am lucky there. I used the outlet covers you pictured but only becauser we didn’t want anything too intensive since we knew we would be listing our house for sale. Those little covers are a pain sometimes and if I were staying we would have chosen something more permanent.

    Other than that we were pretty minimalist. We keep him contained to just a few rooms so I didn’t feel the need to completely eliminate all glass or breakables from every room. I think you need to just focus on where you will let him play and leave the rest of the house.

    Good luck!

  6. We have a 4-level house, the bottom level is the guest bedroom/bath which is closed off. But the rest of the house is free for our 17 month to roam. When she started crawling up stairs, I would either let her do so supervised. Or, if I was doing chores I would put a folding (removable) baby gate up. The gate was also easy for me to climb over. We have locks on the trash cupboard and the cleaning supplies. But all the lower kitchen drawers/shelves are full of baby friendly items that she is free to explore. Now, she can go up & down stairs on her own. I use the gates to block off both bathrooms, one of which had a kitty litter box & cat food. The other I just don’t want her playing in the toilet, w/my cosmetics, etc. Furniture is all baby friendly. I put away all glass & sharp cornered items for now. No decorative knickknacks sitting around either. We have toys on all levels of our home for her to play with. No set “playroom” at this time. We also built a corner shelf about 3-4 feet up in our living room for our tv, cable box and all power cords. No tablecloths on tables, they can be pulled down too easily. Most of all baby proofing depends on your baby. Some love to play with outlets and others have no interest. It’ll prob be trial & error for a few months so don’t go overboard until you find out M’s propensity for danger. 🙂

  7. for kitchen cabinets I recommend these: . Even though he is not really in there now, when he is between 1-2 years, he’ll more than likely be right at your ankles so you’ll need some locks on some of your cabinets. I like the Dreambaby self closing walk through gates. We have two of them in our house and they work great. When we want to keep them open (once our daughter goes to bed) we just secure it open with a bungee cord. For securing furniture to the wall, I’ve heard great things about these: .

  8. Still a first time mom here, but with my seven month old newly mobile (one week so far!) I will tell you what I’ve learned in my own trial by fire. They will be attracted to anything and everything that is dangerous or that you don’t want them to get into. Doesn’t matter what it is. We have so far only done they outlet plugs. We’ve also hidden all cords behind furniture. No matter what, you won’t want to leave your child alone in any room, babyproofed or not, for some time. We have started to let our little adventurer crawl wherever he likes around the house, and this was the consensus for what ends up happening at my moms group. You babyproof as you go. We are going to get cabinet locks and some bookshelf anchors this weekend, for example. I think it is up to you as to how far to go. For example do you lock all the cabinets or just the ones with breakables and chemicals? And I think it changes by the week and day with your child…flexibility is the key to all parenting so far, I’ve found. 🙂 so that’s my two cents. Hope to see some more good discussion in the comments section. This is an excellent topic.

  9. I would look at babyproofing in phases. Your needs will change over time, and start with the areas you use most. Once kids are really mobile (like, you turn your back for 5 sec and they are already to the kitchen and playing in the knife drawer) then you will need to think about the next level. For that stage, I recommend gating off things, instead of gating off the baby. Is there a doorway size entrance into the kitchen and playroom? That would be easy then to just put a gate on those doorways so M would have free reign of the house except for those places (and the stairwell…I would recommend a gate at the bottom and top of the stairs if you anticipate letting him explore a little and are not watching him 100% of the time.)

    Also, those plastic outlet plugs were useless for us. I have a very inquisitive son and he had them figured out in 5 seconds. Don’t underestimate the importance of these…kids are really interested in them. We ended up putting safety outlet plates on ours, since our kids were so persistent.

    For the kitchen type area, these were our favorite gates:

    It is pressure mounted, and the gate will stay open if you want it to (this was a plus for us at night when our kids were sleeping…we didn’t want the constant banging of the gates as we walked in and out of the kitchen. The auto close ones sometimes don’t latch all the way so I found I had to check them/use my hands anyway)

    For large openings we used this, which was bolted to the wall. It’s pretty easy to fill in the holes:

    We also used this one around our fireplace. It can also be a superyard, but we never used it like that once it was bolted to the wall.

    We also had several of these:

    Babyproofing can be expensive, but we found it well worth it for the peace of mind and freedom to let our kids roam once they were really mobile.

    Good luck!

  10. The idea of zones is great and doable until he starts walking. At that point I’d recommend babyproofing every cabinet etc in the kitchen… because you’ll likely want him in there with you when you are cooking etc. It is an option for the living room to just gate it off and have it off limits, but let him i there sparingly with your supervision so in addition to the rooms where he has free reign you can also start to ‘teach” him what is dangerous. I bet your porch wll become even more of a favorite place once you can be out there with Mazen this spring/summer!

  11. I am no expert but I have an active 11 month old. My advice would be to make baby zones like you meationed. Our nursery and master bedroom and living room are all baby proofed so I can let her explore and know there is nothing she can get into. My kitchen is not. My advice would be is to wait to see what baby goes for. My daughter doesn’t bother with our glass door buffet table or the drawers on the TV cabinet. So I didn’t babyproofing those. She does like the kitchen cabinets so I filled the cabinets within her reach with plastics and things she can play with and explore. I personally don’t believe in babyproofing everything because I feel then baby won’t learn boundaries and all that good stuff. That’s just me though. it’s working so far…but she’s still tiny.
    I found the furniture straps with the zip ties instead of a strap easier to use.
    Good luck on your new adventure!

  12. I would suggest gates for the rooms you don’t want him in that don’t have doors, such as the kitchen. For the rooms you don’t want him in, I would recommend door handle things, we have them on our office, bathroom and closet doors. I would outlet cover all outlets, you never know. Also I would get the cabinet locks for bathroom and kitchen, as you never know when the escape artist will make his move. 🙂

  13. I’m sure you will hear lots of different advice and opinions. Here’s my 2 cents as the mom of a 22 month old.

    First of all, yes, you can definitely just baby-proof certain zones of your house as long as you have a way to contain him in those zones reasonably well. It really helps to have at least once place you can be pretty confident that they’ll be safe while you go to the bathroom, take out the trash, or just get something done without watching constantly. But we have in no way baby-proofed our whole house, we just don’t let her spend unsupervised time in the other rooms. We’ve got our kitchen and dining room (where we spend a fair amount of time) gated off and reasonably well baby-proofed so that she can hang out in there while we’re cooking and not watching her directly, and I’ll do quick tasks in other places while she’s in there, but really, toddlers can’t be left alone very long anyway.

    Gates – we live in a split level house with lots of stairs, so we don’t gate them (it’s be logistically impossible) and instead have just gated off the previous-mentioned kitchen/dining room area so she can only get to the stairs when she’s supervised. We’ve just used pressure-mounted gates since they’re not at the top of the stairs, and they are pretty secure. We have a KidCo one and a Summer Infant one, and the KidCo one is much nicer although they were similar in price. They’re both the kind where you pull a latch with your thumb and then pull up hard to lift the gate – part of the childproofness of that style gate is that you have to be tall enough and strong enough to lift it. It’s easy enough for an adult to do one-handed but no toddler can do it even if they figure out the latch.

    We bought gates, outlet covers and various cabinet door latches for bathroom and kitchen cabinets. We latched all the bathroom cabinets even though she doesn’t generally spend time in bathrooms without supervision – it just seemed like there was too much risky stuff in there, and we don’t go in the cabinets every day so it’s not too much of a hassle. Yes, in the kitchen it’s annoying but you get used to it. Different styles of latches work better or worse depending on your cabinets. We have a brand new IKEA kitchen with a couple of cabinets and a lot of drawers, and we didn’t want to wreck it with babyproofing gear so we got latches for the outside handles of the cabinets (what works depends on the style you have) and bought luggage straps that we threaded through the drawer handles, so each bank of drawers is secured to itself until we unbuckle it. Fortunately, we also have a kid who likes buckling, so if she notices that we’ve left one undone, she tries to fix it for us or asks for help rather than seizing the opportunity to go in the drawers, (usually).

    You don’t have to do it all at once. He’s not going to go from immobile to capable of doing everything all at once, and you’ll figure out as you go along what else you need to do. You might end up with one of those kids who doesn’t really mess with the kitchen cabinets anyway, so in that case why bother latching everything, especially if you’re not going to spend much time with him uncontained (in a high chair or whatever) there.

    Finally, remember that none of this is ever going to be perfect. Some things are really helpful and pretty obvious, like putting in outlet covers and keeping knives and cleaning supplies out of reach or locked up, but kids can fall down and hurt themselves on toys designed just for them. So just do what seems reasonable, keep an eye on him when that’s reasonable, and life will go on.

    Ok, I think my comment is longer than your original post, so I’ll stop now. 🙂

  14. If I’m keeping it real, with our first Son (now 5) the only baby proofing we did was with a baby gate. No outlet covers, cabinet locks, or anything. Maybe he was just an easy child, or maybe our house back then was small enough to have an eye on him at all times, but 1 time of telling him “Ah ah ah” or “No” or “Caca” and that’s all it took.
    We now have a 6 month old (on Sunday!) and live in a much larger home and to be honest I’m not quite sure what we’ll do this time around?

  15. The best advice I got about baby proofing was actually to wait and see what your kid is interested in. We initially did all outlets and secured major furniture to the wall (and put the tv in a spot that couldn’t be touched), and moved objects out of the way of our kid. But surprisingly she wasn’t interested in kitchen cabinets or drawers at all, so if we had spent hours installing the closure things on all of those, what a waste it would have been! Other than the very basics, we tackled issues as they came up. So when she became more mobile and started bumping her head on our table, we put on a few table corner things. We preemtptively got stuff for power strips and fancier/more covered outlet protectors, but she was never interested in them and we gave up on them quickly since they were a hassle to use. Gates of course for stares. We used Safety 1st ones, but it really just depends on the make up of your stairs and what will work with your configuration.

    I guess I just think there are so many “products” out there that really aren’t necessary if you aren’t leaving your kid alone much (which ours wouldn’t allow us to do anyway!) And then see if your kid happens to be a big climber or outlet poker or whatever and go from there. It will save you money and hassle! I had a very high energy, inquisitive kid, but she still ignored alot of potentially “dangerous” stuff. Don’t get too wrapped up in the One Step Ahead catalog before your son is actually mobile.

    And finally, I don’t think it’s really necessary to completely babyproof every room. If your living room would be too much of a hassle, maybe put up small easy stuff, and just don’t leave him in there alone.

  16. First thing, take a deep breath! You’re going to be ok 🙂

    My daughter is now an active, running and climbing 14-month-old. We didn’t babyproof until she was crawling at around 7 months, and even since then we’ve addressed things as they’re needed.

    First on the list was gates on the stairs. I highly recommend the KidCo gates as they are known to be well-designed and good quality. You can use a pressure-mounted walk-thru gate on the bottom but you are supposed to use a hardware-mounted one at the top. I just installed one of these recently and it was a bit of a challenge but the holes in the banister/wall are not so big. It will be easy to patch them in a few years when we are done with this phase.

    Outlet covers are a must. Plus, I would suggest moving cords out of the way or hiding them behind furniture so they are less tempting to tiny explorers.

    Any tippy furniture should be strapped to the wall! I had a scary incident with a dresser a while ago when I opened too many drawers at once. Luckily my daughter was nowhere nearby! I would also recommend straps or wall mounts for flat-screen tv’s.

    As for zones, I would suggest using gates to block off certain dangerous areas if possible, like your kitchen. I don’t think it’s feasible to block off whole areas of the house, as your child will eventually want to find out what’s happening in there, but it really does make life easier to have “safe” play areas set up so little one can explore without you constantly having to redirect him or scold him.

    If you really find yourself in a tizzy, there are babyproofing companies/experts who will come do an analysis of your house and even install everything for you. It might just be worth the cost since all the installation takes a LOT of time and it’s a hassle when you are busy with a little person all day!

    Good luck!

    1. It’s interesting how different everyone’s perspectives are. We never thought of the kitchen as a dangerous room, but as the center of our home. We spend a lot of time in there so we worked to make it as child friendly as possible. We put rubber mats down to cover much of the tile in case of falls where the baby liked to practice pulling up on the island, kept knifes out of reach, put the trash and chemicals under sink with a cupboard lock. Othrwise we encouraged baby to explore the cupboards and play with pots, pans, and Tupperware that was at her level. We also made a drawer full of fun things just for her and emptied out of lazy Susan so it made a fun play cave for her. I’m sue it wouldn’t work for everybody but this has helped us get to continue spending a bit more time in the kitchen even with a little one round and we will do the same with number two.

  17. I would babyproof the entire house, but you can do it over time! Just start with the rooms you use the most now. And I am sorry, but I also think you have to use the annoying cabinet magnets (or locks). 🙂 Kids will hurt themselves wherever they can! And obviously I don’t know anything about your family planning, but if there are more children in the next years you just have to babyproof everything once.
    Babyproofing is a lot of work, but it will save you some nerves in the long run!

  18. I’m sure my thoughts on this are way different than others, but this is what we did… We did use the outlet covers and baby gates on the stairs. That’s it! From the get-go when he started moving and getting into things we would just tell him he couldn’t touch the plants or pull the tablecloth down, etc. and after a few times he just didn’t even attempt those things. I also watched him play in his room a lot before leaving him unattended in it to see what he got into and if I saw something that he kept going for than I would put it up. I’m sure we should have bolted things down but there are just some things I choose to relax about and that was one of them. Kids will get hurt no matter how much we try to prevent it and you just have to be okay with what you’ve done. If you don’t feel like you’ve done enough – than do more but if you are comfortable with just using outlet covers and baby gates than do that.

  19. We use these for cabinets we don’t want our daughter to access (2 in the kitchen and in our master bathroom):

    We use these outlet covers because we hate pulling those plugs out of outlets:

    We use this gate at the top and bottom of our stairs. We like it because it isn’t as easy to open as most but you can still do it one handed. Also, it was important to me that it could be mounted to the wall.

    Besides that, we just try and keep breakables out of reach but we let her explore to her hearts content (with supervision).

  20. This sounds crazy, but we really didn’t baby proof anything! (And we have two boys ages 4 and 18 months.) We put on outlet covers, door knob locks in our storage room, and made sure there were no cords that hung down. Otherwise, we just taught our boys what they could/ could not touch from the start. I have to say, it was a lot of work, but so worth it. This way also helps when you are in other places that are not child friendly- they already know the rules!

  21. Do you have a local company that will come to your house and tell you what you need and install it? We did that. We also did the whole house, outlet covers, corners covers, baby gates top and bottom, drawer locks. I was very annoyed with the drawer locks in the beginning, but we are used to them. Other things I didn’t think about are to bolt the bookshelf in his room to the wall and pin cords against a wall (for baby monitor and sound machine in his room that hang down). Also fire extinguishers around the house (3). We didn’t do toilet locks and just close bathroom doors.

  22. I think you will just have to figure out what works for you depending mostly on temperament of the child regarding baby proofing zones/whole house. My First DD was so calm, rational, sensitive, laid back, easygoing, cautious i didnt baby proof barely anything. I would simply tell her ‘not safe’ if she would try to open a cabinet or drawer i didnt want her to. We also reinforced the positives: ‘you can play here’ and move them to where it is safe to play over and over again. She got it very quickly. My second DD on the other hand is completely different. She throws caution to the wind, is curious, daring, not so easy going, energetic, busy and not scared of a darn thing! We did eventually baby proof cabinets and outlets, fireplace cover things for the brick, put soft edges on sharp corners, put away breakable decorations and knick knacks. We do have our living room that is a bit out of the way that isnt baby proofed. We just use it for adults only. But other than that, we kind of made sure majority of the house is safe for her. I stay home with them and they basically go with me everywhere i go in and out of all bedrooms, bathrooms. It isn’t really feasible to quarantine them to only a few rooms of the house. As for furniture to walls. We really only have bookshelves bolted, not much else. Then again our girls aren’t really climbers! It is all so relative to the specific child. You might find Maze learns quickly and is OK with following your instruction easily. I wouldn’t do the whole house just yet. You can always do more later. Good luck!!

  23. I agree with phasing it out. When M starts crawling (or even scooting/worming), look at the world from his perspective.

    1) outlet covers
    2) remove springy door stoppers or at least the rubber tips–baby chew toy danger!
    3) KidCo gates top & bottom
    4) secure the dangerous cabinets–leave some open with baby-safe items like plastic containers
    5) keep bathroom doors closed at all times–block off toilet area if necessary (we use big plastic clothing bins since they’re big and heavy)
    6) avoid using the fireplace if you have one–even if it has a glass cover!!!
    7) baby proofing is a learning process–adjust and update as necessary
    8) supervise your baby at all times–you shouldn’t need to baby proof your entire house

  24. For my 9 month old son we just made safe areas for him to play. The thought of having to do the entire house was very stressful for us, so for our sanity we just did the areas where we play as well as his room. It has worked great for us!

  25. Hi there Kath, I am not even sure why I haven’t seen this blog before, I guess because I always read Katheats and never have paid attention to this one, or just thought it was the same as the other one, but I love it. How funny of you to be thinking of babyproofing, I stared my blog a with all things childcare in mind, and this is one of my topics I want to get to along with many others. So when I do write my post, I would love to reference this entry in it if that is ok,

    Anyway now to my opinion. I have been working in many different situations of childcare since I was 10 and consider myself to be not an expert but someone who knows a lot about the subject. You have a good start on the baby proofing already. The tub spout is a great idea, just incase they lean forward or slip, it will protect them from getting hurt, the outlet covers are a must, and having a toy room or room designated just for Mazen that is safe is a great idea. I totally agree with the gates at the bottom and top of the steps, it is a must. My suggestions are One Step Ahead Walk through gates: They swing both ways and can be mounted or tension set, and another favorite of mine that the parents I nannied for used was Summer Infant Baby gate, All you do for this one is tension mount it, meaning no holes, and you pull up on a lever to open it, super easy. I could even do it with a baby in my hands sleeping.

    Baby proofing the whole house is up to you guys. First things you need to ask yourself is how often will you be in a room, how often will Mazen be left alone, or just where you can see him but you are going in the other room a sec. Now as far as the living room if he is never in there than I wouldn’t worry about it. The kitchen is a fun place, a family that I nannied for didn’t like to leave their child in the high chair while I was cooking or cleaning, so they had drawers with toys that the baby could play with, or tupperware and pots and pans. Stuff that they weren’t worried would hurt him, and it kept him busy. It was also a lot of fun because I could interact with him. I would suggest that you have that situation if you hate the baby locks. I also suggest if it isn’t already to put a floor mounted bracket on the stove, but I think most homes already have those. I sugest toliet locks and closing the toliet always, I would suggest in his room to bolt the diaper changing table, bookshelf, and dresser to the wall if he has them. I would put all toys with small breakable pieces away, put all glass things out of reach, avoid pointy sharp furniture, If you have big heavy furniture like TV stands or bookshelves in play areas I would bolt them to the wall or floor, keep blind cords out of reach if you have them, all cords to wall outlets should be tied up with zip ties if they are to long, or hide them behind furniture. Have a safety ladder to get out incase of a fire, and a fire extinguisher. Make sure you have an open area that is visable so that you can keep constant eye contact, also an open play area helps him to move around safely. The big one in the screened in porch is to watch him around the door, and screens if they are floor to ceiling, he could easily stand himself up and the screen give way, and make sure you have a safety lock on the door, so he can’t get out. Hope these things help.

    Gates at, summer gate can be found at or buybuybaby, or amazon
    For Safety locks I suggest safety first spring and release, or Tot lock

  26. As mom to a now 6 and a nearly 3 year old, let me assure you that unless you have an extra set of hands during all meal prep times, it will be virtually impossible to keep M out of the kitchen. Many, many months went by when I had a whiny preschooler and baby clinging to my every move in there 🙂 We had locks on the cabinets with chemicals and those with the mixer, blender etc. There was a drawer and a cabinet with kid-friendly items in them so the kidlets could “cook” alongside me. That’s a time-tested favorite that worked wonderfully (some of the time – haha). As M grows, you’ll get to know whether or not he’s a thrill-seeker in the bathroom (thus the need for toilet locks) or a really active climber and learn what “extra” safety items may be of value. (Mine were neither, thankfully!) Good luck!

  27. Once M is on the move, it will become obvious pretty quickly what needs to be baby-proofed, and what is okay. And while he’ll be really into something one week, he’ll be onto something new the next, so a lot of things are very temporary. I would, however, recommend making as much of the house safe as possible. I get SO much more cleaning and things done because I’m able to let C roam quite a bit on our second floor, since the whole thing is safe for him. I can throw in laundry, fold clothes, pick up toys, etc. while he is exploring. You dont want to have to follow M around hovering over him all day! Since you are home full time (like I am), there is a lot of time spent in the house, and many opportunities to find cords, open drawers, and pinch fingers.


    Good luck! 🙂

  28. You definitely need to baby-proof the kitchen! That little guy will want to be near you when you’re in there, and a toddler’s favorite pastime is playing with plastic kitchen containers and pots and pans. I’m way too old to advise you on how to do the proofing, however, since my baby’s almost 47 years old.

  29. The biggest question is do you really plan on keeping him out of the living room for 2+ years? You don’t need to put bumpers on the coffee table, but I think the whole house should be welcoming to the child, not rooms that are “off limits”. As for the kitchen, when mine were young I just locked the below the sink cabinet where I kept the cleaning things.

  30. Drawers, once my baby started crawling she started to pull herself up on things, especially drawers. They can easily shut their fingers in drawers.

  31. Eventually you will have to baby proof basically everything. There will be a lot of times in the near future when you are cooking and he’ll want to be right there with you (and you will learn to cook one-handed). We just rearranged all our cabinets so that the dangerous and breakable items are up high, and put all the pots and pans that my son can’t do much damage to in the lower cabinets. He pulls every one out all the time. We just remember to give them a quick wash before we use them!

  32. I’ve been really happy with our Retract-A-Gate ( It’s easy to manage one-handed and fully retracts. When the baby is sleeping, we can go up and down the stairs without having to open and close a gate and we don’t have to worry about trying to squeeze the laundry basket, etc. through a small opening. Also, you can purchase extra sets of the clear mounting brackets, allowing you to move the gate to different doorways throughout the house. This has been really helpful when we want to limit access from two rooms to one.

    I would recommend baby proofing the kitchen. My son started solids five months ago and I am amazed at how much time I spend preparing his meals now that he is eating three meals a day plus snacks. It’s really nice for him to be able to toddle around while I cook or do dishes. Thanks for writing this post–I’ve learned a lot from reading the comments!

  33. I would say outlets and a gate are the most important-but for the most part, you will be able to teach your little guy that certain areas are off limits, and how to do other things safely. That being said, there will always be accidents, no matter how “baby proof” your house/yard/life is! 🙂

  34. I am a big believer in babyproofing but also teaching your child the limits so he will know what to do in another person’s home.

    You need to babyproof your kitchen. Before you know it he will only take one nap a day and it won’t be realistic to cook only while he’s sleeping. Plus you’ll want him to “help”. Buy these magnet locks instead –

    the inside mechanism is far better quality and will last forever compared to the kidco ones.

    We don’t have locks on every cabinet and drawer, but anything dangerous or easily breakable has a lock. i keep most of them open now, but they were very useful for a long time and still are when i don’t have time to clean up the pots and pans he takes out etc. make sure to give Maze one cabinet and drawer that he always has access to so he can entertain himself while you’re cooking. R takes out all of his spoons etc and then puts them back and does the same with spices.

    In the kitchen you also need an oven lock and stove knob protectors. We don’t have either installed yet but R JUST reached the height where we can touch both so we will be doing this soon.

    I would change all the outlet covers in your whole house to something like these if you plan on having more than one child – my friends’ kids could all take out the kind you have above by the time they were 2, and outlets can be dangerous for a LONG time. they are irrestible. we have changed all outlet covers that are within R’s reach.

    We have these gates and I LOVE them They aren’t screwed into the wall but they do leave a mark, at least on our walls they did. I go up and down all the time and got used to opening them very quickly. They are good as the kids get a bit older because even if they can pull the button they can’t lift the door high enough to clear the base.

    in your living room the only things i’d really worry about are sharp corners. It is not hard for me, in other people’s homes, to keep raffi away from breakables. from a young age I taught him not to touch those things so now he looks at me before trying to touch them. however sharp coffee table corners are another story. he is always THISCLOSE to bumping his head in other people’s homes despite me being right there. in our home we have the foam corners on our coffee table and a couple of other dangerous places. They are ugly but we know it will be a temporary thing. many of our friends just switched to ottomans instead of coffee tables.

    Last, we did not bolt any furniture to any walls except in his room. the rest of the house has very heavy furniture that would be practically impossible for me to tip on my own, never mind a 25 lb kid. however his room furniture is not solid wood and seems slightly unstable so we have secured them to the wall.

    I hope this helps. Feel free to email me directly for any more babyproofing questions. We definitely babyproofed as we went along. Mazen will tell you what needs protecting.

    Oh, and RE: gate vs. no gate for the stairs. we have them and it allows me to do my thing while raffi plays independently without having to constantly run over to make sure he isn’t close to the stairs. he still goes down them most of the time on his own (unless i’m in a rush) and knows how to go feet first, but he can’t get to them without me by his side.

  35. Toilet locks on all toilets. They can fall in and better to be safe than sorry. Cabinet and drawer locks. Even if it’s just Tupperware or pots and pans. Do you want to be picking them up off the floor all of the time? (Knife drawer obviously.) Don’t forget to put and and all chemicals up as high as you can and make sure there’s a lock on it. Medicines high up too. I never did the outlet thing. I’ve heard they are easy for kids to get off. Also, and throw rugs you might want to put don’t with dbl sided tape so Mazen doesn’t slip/trip/or fall.

  36. I love this post and these comments! So helpful. I have a 5 1/2 month old so babyproofing is in our very near future as well.

  37. The more you baby proof, the easier and more enjoyable your life will be. I didn’t baby proof my house at first; then I went to a friend’s house who WAS baby proofed, and it was amazing! The kids could just PLAY without the constant, no, no no oh my gosh whoa, wait, NO! Or the constant taking away, picking them up, moving them, saying their name– it gets old for you and for them. I would just do the whole house. When you have friends over who also have kids, you will be glad you did for them too :). I will say the degree to which you need to baby proof depends on your kid’s personality. My kid is not one where you turn your back for a minute and they’ve climbed the book shelf. But I know LOTS of kids who do just that. Good luck!

  38. I didn’t read all the comments, but I am a HUGE fan of the magnet cabinet locks!!! They can be turned “off” when you don’t need them and they are very easy to operate!! I am SO glad that we got them!!!

  39. We did the areas we didn’t want him to get in to: bathroom cabinets, under the kitchen sink with the cleaning supplies, every outlet. Our house is an open floor plan with one story, so there were no rooms we didn’t let him into (no formats), so I can’t imagine a space where baby couldn’t be. And I think as baby gets older, you will have him in the kitchen more: soon you’ll be eating lunches together, and once he gets moving he probably won’t stay in the high chair for cooking AND eating. I liked him playing with pots and pans instead of having more toys in the kitchen, but that may not be everyone’s choice.

    1. One more thing: absolutely bolt all the furniture that presumably could tumble if baby could use it to pull up or climb over. We bolted bookshelves and our china cabinet and called it a day. And at about 13 months, I was getting dressed three feet from him, and he used the nightstand in our bedroom to pull up, and it fell on him. We were very lucky that he did not break ribs (it fell in his chest) and that it fell on his chest and not his face. Entryway tables, night stands, entertainment centers: one day you will turn your back and he WILL do something he’s not supposed to. Absolutely you can redirect, but you can’t redirect if he’s already hurt.

  40. I did it the very easy way. I just put the outlet covers on and then moved anything in lower cabinets that could be dangerous or broken up higher. Tupperware, kitchen towels, pots and pans, etc went in the lower cabinets. That way when you’re cooking he can get some fun stuff out to play with all by himself. My living room was de-cluttered and breakables put away or up high on shelves. Since I don’t have knicknacks (hate to dust them), it was very simple.
    For gates, get the kind that open or make sure you can step over them comfortably. I borrowed a gate and it was too tall but I stepped over it all the time anyway. Can’t tell you how many times I ended up on the floor.

  41. I think babyproofing is important but your best tool is being attentive and vigilant. It depends on the kind of kid you have. My first we did a lot and she left it alone. My second, oh my dear sweet middle boy. He is a climber for one for two he figured out how to either remove locks or break them, figured out how to remove outlet covers (then they became choking hazards so they had to go) and removed door knob covers within 45 seconds of us putting them on. So for him our biggest tool is bolted furniture and watching him at all times. Went through three gates before we found one he couldn’t climb/open/take down. So ju\st remember it’s a constant evolving process and will change with each new ability.

    I would for sure babyproof the kitchen as toddlers love to help mommy cook! We do things like give him a mixing bowl with some water and a whisk, or other things he can do to “help” without actually helping or doing anything dangerous. You don’t just want to protect him and keep him safe you want him to be a part of his environment and learn to be a part of the whole system. It’s no fun to just keep them trapped in one area of their home and never letting them be a part of the family and the fun times that are happening. This is is home too and he has to learn how to live in it and be a part of it!

    Soon he will be mobile and you will experience a whole new world of fun! It is possible to keep him in just one room I suppose, just no fun in that and he misses out on so much. Not only does he miss out but you will miss out as well! You will be missing out on experiences!

  42. We baby proofed in stages as well and will probably have to rethink things when the twins start crawling as Summer has never shown in any interest in getting into cabinets, electrical outlets, climbing on furniture, etc. We did use those outlet covers in all outlets within her reach and put gates at the top and bottom of the stairs (neither of which I’d recommend b/c the brands we bought are cheap and NOT user friendly at all). We also just removed anything dangerous like cleaning supplies, etc. to places out of Summer’s reach and didn’t worry about securing cabinet doors. I think it’s smart to bolt the furniture in his room but rooms in the won’t ever be in, I wouldn’t worry about it now. When he’s moving and all over the place, you could reevaluate. If he’s a climber and curious, you could always decide to do it later.

    The fun will soon begin! 🙂 I had a lot of people tell me enjoy the immobility b/c when they start crawling, life gets crazy. But honestly, I love the crawling stage. Yes, you have to keep an eye on them at all times, but it’s so neat to see your baby moving, growing, and learning. Plus, they can get to their own toys. I get so sad watching them grab for something out of reach. Looks so frustrating!

  43. I did minimal baby proofing. Outlet covers and putting a lock on the cupboard beneath the kitchen sink. Neither of mine showed any interest in outlets, the cupboards, climbing on furniture that could tip over or putting things in their mouths. I did move some breakables to a higher place because it was easier than constantly telling them “no.” I broke two of those while cleaning! 😉

    They both spent a lot of time at their grandparent’s homes. The grandparents did absolutely no baby proofing (it never occurred to me to ask them to do that) and there were no incidents of any kind.

    I think you just have to pay attention to your child. I kept mine occupied, especially when I was doing something that I couldn’t keep my eye on them 100% of the time.

  44. hey kath – you’ve been in our house before so i hope you can visualize this!

    we baby proofed a zone and it is working WONDERFULLY. we baby proofed the kitchen + the living room. there’s a baby gate between the kitchen and the dining room and another in the big hallway. this means we didn’t have to put a gate at the bottom of our stairs or try baby proofing the office, which would’ve been impossible.

  45. Do what makes you feel comfortable. Probably keeping stairs, glass, cleaning supplies and sharp kitchen utensils away from them is a good idea. He likely won’t be spending much time alone in a room though, so you don’t need to go too crazy. Babies are pretty smart too, you can teach them that a fireplace is hot and not to touch the outlets, but you’ll obviously want to be there until they learn that well. It also depends on how you feel about messes. We let our son play have access to the pots and pans and safe cooking utensils, but while we’re in there the kitchen becomes disastrous quickly. I’m okay with that, but not everyone is. Keep in mind they are probably going to bang their head on things and drop things, but that’s part of life.

  46. I have three children, and never fully child proofed. We always put gates at the top and bottom, and We moved our books up to higher levels so they couldn’t rip out pages, and that’s it. We’ve always preferred to let them explore and teach them that way. We also let them go up and down the stairs often with us hovering over them so they can practice doing it safety. Our thought is that we thought they needed to learn how to be in a regular house environment. We go to our families and friends homes that aren’t childproofed, so it’s important for them to learn how to be.

  47. Thank you so much for posing this question! I am coming ‘home’ to the US in April with what will be my 5.5 month old, and I will need to get a lot of the safety stuff there to bring back to Asia. Was just starting to work on my massive Amazon cart loot, so this is good info and good timing! Have heard those tub spout covers are good. Shoot – I have hit my head on the spout as an adult, and it hurt like hell! 😉

  48. The only thing that I’m not sure has been mentioned is to make sure that no blind cords are reachable AT ALL. Put them on a winder as high as you can.

    I don’t recommend barring him from the living room. (Or any room) Sure, you can make it the room you’re least likely to hang out in, but I do believe a child should be able to enjoy his whole home. You can put some breakable things away for a while, but in general, vigilance and teaching do work.

  49. My son is 2.5 years old.
    We only used outlet plug covers and a fridge door safety lock. We had Table Desk Corner Protector but my son removed them. He’s rather quiet, so it was good enough. I have a lot of things on the coffee table or in the bookcases. In the first time he wanted to touch them but finally, he didn’t care! Of course, I just let things unbreakable and not dangerous 🙂 I observed that kids who live in an “empty” house, touch everything in another home, and inversement.

  50. Word of advice…be careful with Safety First stuff! Half of the baby-proofing devices we bought either broke, or were flimsy…or my son figured them out or broke them!

  51. We had a gate at the top of the stairs and doorknob covers for the basement and bathroom doors, but other than that, we didn’t do much. We didn’t bolt anything to the wall or floor or use outlet covers or cabinet locks. We didn’t keep cleaning supplies under the sink or glass in the lower cabinets, so it didn’t matter if they empited the tupperware cabinet or the drawer of sippy cups. That said, I had fairly normal kids – they did some exploring and climbing, but not so much that I couldn’t turn my back for a second and they usually wanted to be in the same room as me anyway, so I’d catch them if they started going for something unsafe. I had a few friends with kids who go into EVERYTHING and were the type of kids to stick a knife in an electric outlet. They had to do more babyproofing. I’d do a few things and then see what Mazen’s temperament is.

  52. I only did one babyproofing thing…gates at stairs. Other than that, I just watched my son at all times. It meant a lot of up and down, but its such a short period of time that it didn’t seem like that big of a deal.

  53. I think babyproofing is a little overdone these days. I put cabinet locks on the one under the sink with chemicals. Otherwise i just went with disicpline and didnt allow my kids into the other cabinets. And those plug covers are a joke. Somehow I struggle to get one out if i need to use the plug but my 18 month old can pop it out in seconds. And unless they have a piece of metal wire (or something similar they shouldnt have anyways) they are goint to stick in the outlet, its not going to cause them harm, their fingers cant actually fit in there. The only other thing I do is a baby gate at the top of the stairs. After having my oldest fall down an entire flight (under my moms supervision), I am ultra paranoid about that now.

  54. My daughter is 14 months and we live in a single level 1200 sq ft apartment so we’ve tried to make everywhere baby friendly and the spaces she is in the most baby proof. I recently started letting her play on her own-with me in the adjacent space- in her room so we mounted her bookshelves with standard anchors and keep the blinds pulled with cords out of reach when she’s in there. She LOVES being in the kitchen. The fridge and pantry are favorites to play in and I don’t discourage her. The only low cabinets with locks are the ones under the sink and she plays in the other cabinets with mixing bowls, pans and cutting boards. I think outlet covers are really important and are so easy to install.
    Any electronics and DVDs that are on low shelves should be moved if you value them. Our tv is low and we used out coffee table to block it for a month now she doesn’t even think about touching it. The drawers in the living room are for her toys and she loves that.
    The things to really watch out for are everyday things-coins, bobby pins, rubber bands, etc. it’s the thing you didn’t even realized you dropped or fell. Oh yeah, and the plastic stopper on door stops – yep they pop off.
    A little common sense and watching what your babe is interested in is all you really need 🙂

  55. You will definitely need to babyproof all of the kitchen cabinets that are within reach. I do have a low drawer that isn’t babyproofed and only has items that are safe for my son to play with. He loves going in there and taking things out and making a mess while I cook. I switch up the items in there sometimes so he doesn’t get board. I also have two recycling bins. One on the floor and one one out of reach. In the floor bin I put things that my son can play with…cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls, orange juice containers (without the lid). He loves playing with that stuff. In the out of reach bin I throw any glass, cans or other items that could harm him.

    It will be impossible to keep him from your living room but you shouldn’t have to do too much. Put corner protectors on sharp glass and mount any tall heavy furniture.

    For stair baby gates I would definitely wall mount and get one that will automatically close behind you. They are very important baby proofing items.

    Good luck!!

  56. Haven’t yet popped out the baby yet but love all the product advice for the registry! I can tell you what I see at work in a very busy pediatric ER though:

    – accidental poisoning: Poison control is a fabulous resource and will send you free stuff. Never call medicine candy and keep it and potential poisons out of reach completely. Even yucky tasting stuff kids will taste.
    – large furniture toppling on kiddos: large TVs, dresser drawers make great steps, heavy and unbalanced objects.
    – choking: every day monitoring really. Get at your child’s eye level and look. Foods that have traumatized me are hot dogs and grapes lol!
    – falling out of windows. No joke, it happens all the time.
    – pool drownings, enough said
    – blind/curtain cords strangle
    – head injuries: happens all the time and is part of learning 🙂

    I think my mindset is going to be not to live in fear or you’ll go crazy. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend going to a class for CPR for infants and children with first aide. Great tools!

    Have fun!

  57. SO, at age 2 Jess went upstairs to the bathroom, climbed up on the sink, opened the wall cabinet and ate 2 baby tylenol. I know because she then told me and I counted what was in the bottle! Not sure what I was doing, but she was a much “easier” baby than her brother. I highly recommend putting latches on the important kitchen cabinets, low down with toxic chemicals…leave 1 or 2 free for him to open and bang pots. A lovely game. Basically, anywhere you go he will go.
    Don’t store grapes in the lower refrig baskets. But don’t make yourself crazy…everything doesn’t have to be tied down.

    ps could you or have you done a post on highchairs? We’d love to hear your opinions, thanks! Chris

  58. Hi, Kath – no pressure, but if you ever did a post on how babyproofing went and what you decided upon, that would be great!

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