Baby Proofing Suggestions

Updated on August 11, 2009
R.M. asks from Harrisburg, PA
14 answers

My daughter is 5 months old and has started rolling all over the floor, so I figure it's time we started baby proofing our house. Does anyone have any suggestions of what to purchase? There are lots of products out there, including toilet locks (never thought of that!), door handle covers, etc. I don't know what I REALLY need vs. what would be nice to have if I have extra money lying around (and who has that?!).

I welcome any suggestions you have, particularly brands that you like. I absolutely love Mamasource with so many caring Moms out there providing support and information. What a great resource!

Thank you,


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answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi R.,
I would begin by getting down to her level and looking around. For this crawling stage, I would start with some outlet covers and cabinet locks -- just on the cabinets where you have cleaning stuff, etc. Also, a baby gate for stairs might be appropriate now if you have stairs that she can get to...
When she starts pulling up and standing, I'd get toilet locks. I never had to use door handle covers, so I don't know about those.
Mostly, now is the time to be vigilant about NOT leaving stuff around that she cn get into or put in her mouth.
Good luck!

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answers from Philadelphia on

I had the outlet covers and baby gates. (I also agree with the blind cords) What i don't think is needed is all the cabinet locks/toilet locks. If you are going to be right with her then she won't have a chance to open those. I used to put away all the breakables, candles etc and that was about it. They could roam the entire downstairs with the kitchen and stairs gated off. (with supervision of course) I don't think you have to go too crazy.

What a fun age you have!



answers from York on

Definitely socket plugs & secure all furniture to the wall! My sister's first child died when he tried to crawl up a four drawer dresser & it fell over on him.



answers from Harrisburg on

The first thing you should buy are the outlet covers, the plugs, enough for every outlet on the floor she plays on. If she's allowed to crawl around upstairs when you're cleaning or whatever then plug up every outlet up there as well.

Second, get a gate for the kitchen. Some people don't like gates for the kitchen and prefer just drawer/door locks, etc. We went that route in the beginning and it doesn't take long for them to figure those out. The safest route is a gate on the kitchen. She'll learn from day one that the kitchen is off limits and you won't accidentally trip over her carrying hot food. My oldest son is just now learning this tip as his daughter just turned one and he too almost had an accident with her. Course, he's not going to listen to me cuz I'm just his mom with 5 kids, lol!

Third, keep bathroom and bedroom doors closed. You won't have to bother with toilet locks and door locks that way. Or you can gate off hallways, stairs, basement doors, etc. You can also use slide bolts that are easy to install on your entrance doors, basement doors, and any other doors.

Fourth, get down on your hands and knees and stomach to find things that a child can get harmed with. For items that are plugged in, be sure to move furniture in front of used outlets and tie up loose cords with velcro straps or duct tape. Tie up cords on blinds to stop strangulation.

Remember, children can get into the tiniest and most unlikely cracks and crevices so be aware and be creative!

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
chat and events within 2 hour radius



answers from Pittsburgh on

If you or a family member is a fan, look at yard sales for this stuff - practically ALL of ours (except the baby gates) came from yard sales, and most in the original packaging! Now that DD is over 2, I'll give you the short list for our house that is invaluable:
1. Outlet covers
2. Door Knob covers for knobs and levers (use this in place of toilet seat locks if you have trouble getting them/expensive/whatever)
3. Some sort of door lock for cabinets with dangerous stuff

We moved all chemicals up high in our bathroom and kitchen, so the only door locks we needed were in her bathroom, and then in the kitchen for the cabinets with sharp items. Initially, I let DD go crazy with my Tupperware and rag drawers, but when cleanup got to be too much and she got old enough to find other things to do, I was about to lock those up too. We have some magnetic locks on some drawers, and the C-shaped hooks on the doors.

When we go to my parents or my in-laws, they just go nuts with the rubber bands on the door handles - criss-cross them all over and DD will play with them, but if one breaks, she freaks out and runs away, so works every time:)

Spend your money on baby gates - install one at the top and foot of your stairs, and then look into portable ones that you can move around as needed (or take to Grandma's if needed).

As your DD gets older, if she's a breakout artist and you find her on your front step, ask the folks at Ace Hardware for a sliding door lock. It's a hook that gets installed high up on your screen door or sliding door and is a nifty security feature too as it's hard to see it from outside. We also put a carbiner clip on our back deck gate so adults can pass through without a key, but toddlers can't manage them!




answers from Johnstown on

Honestly--the more proofing you do, the more expensive it's going to get. We have raised 3 girls with only making sure the blind cords are out of their reach, as well as sharps (scissors, knives, etc.). We also gated the kitchen off so I could cook w/out falling over the twins. We did not worry about knick knacks. I simply replaced all of my valuables breakables with cheap, non-breakables I got from the dollar store and moved all of my good stuff out of their reach. I did not need to worry about them getting cut on porcelain or glass should they actually get to the stuff, but I also taught them they aren't allowed to touch things that are sitting around on shelves. When the girls would show an interest in the steps, we decided it was time they learned how to do them, so their dad and I would get on the steps with them and show them how to go down backwards. I used to work for a daycare and found that the more ways you have to keep the wee ones out of things, the more attention it would draw--especially the outlet covers. I can't tell you how many times I had to pull kids away from them because they wanted to sit and play w/ the covers. At home, on the rare occasion when our girls would show interest in the plugs, we would simply tell them they were really big ouchies and then physically move the wee one away from the plug. That worked wonderfully and no one had ever gotten zapped. For the toilets, we simply pulled the bathroom door shut and no one had to worry about anything until it was time for the potty training. By that time we were right there with them when they would be going. We always kept our screen doors locked and would never let them see us locking or unlocking the doors. Our twins are 4 1/2 yrs old and still don't know how that works. Best of luck to you in what you decide!



answers from Philadelphia on

R. M The most important thing is the electric socket plugs, put them in now so that she will not notice the difference and get interested in playing with them. there are cabinet locks to put on all of you kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Make sure you store all of your cleaning products in a place she can not get to. If you do not already have a gate buy one that is able to be used with just one hand (makes things easier). you already mentioned the toliet seat lock this one is very important. The sooner that you put these things in place the less she will notice that they were not there before and want to investigate them. This is just the tip of the ice berg there are plenty more safety features out there. Good luck J.



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi R.
Congrats on baby rolling! Now the fun begins. I really only used the outlet covers and gates for the stairs. I bought door covers, which they figured out. The toilet lock also a big waste of money. Just shut all the doors. When they get big enough to figure out how to open them, that is when we put hooks up top. We did do the cabinet locks too.



answers from Philadelphia on

I would not worry too much yet. they do not get into stuff until they get a little bigger. the thing i would child proof where there is anything at her level that she could get to like household chemicals. when they get bigger make sure to keep sharp objects out of reach such as scissors,knives,screwdrivers so she will not try to put it into the electrical outlet. every kid is different. what to see what they do.



answers from Philadelphia on

I got down on the floor at baby level and looked around. then any thing I saw that was a danger I baby proofed it. I kinda just worked my way up from there(rolling-crawling-pullingup-etc.) Good luck you are in for an adventure now:)


answers from Allentown on

Hi R.,

Wait until she's walking.

Good luck. D.



answers from Philadelphia on

I would get the wall plug outlet but besides that wait. Our first son only thing he got into was the tv and dvd buttons but we taught him to leave it alone. The second we had to take all breakables of the tables and turn the toliet paper around so he would pull it. I also put a gate at the bottom of the stairs that could be removed. We have never had to put a gate at the top of the stairs because our kids don't get out of bed without us coming in. It all depends on what type of child you have. Good luck. The other people have great ideas if you child gets into those things.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My son fell down the stairs the day he learned how to crawl, so I would recommend gates a at the top of the stairs right away. It will be no time before he learns how to go up stairs, so you might as well get the ones at the bottom of the stairs up too. Gates are an absolutely mind-blowing purchase. We have 5 of them, and due to the special circumstances at each place, we have 5 different gates. I have a PhD and figuring out how to gate off each space almost was the end of me, lol. Anyway, whatever your door frame, railing, or other situation is, they make a product for it, but it can be confusing and expensive, so start now!

I also agree with the outlet protectors. Start with the cheap ones until you find out if you have a budding electrician or not. (My son could pull them out at 14 months). Also, if you are fortunate enough to have handles on your cabinet doors, get easy to operate (I like the ones that slide a large plastic "hairpin" looking thing) for the cabinets with chemicals or stuff you don't want to pick up 30 times a day. The doorknob things can wait a while. Oh, and the corner guards are great for while they are trying to learn how to walk, though the ones that actually stay on will ruin your furniture, so I'd suggest just moving out the coffee tables until she gets steady on her feet. But you've got a couple months there.

The rest of it all depends on how closely you supervise her. I perfer to make the environment safe(r) and not have to follow around so much, so we are pretty darn babyproofed around here. If you are a more closely-hovering mother, you probably need less. But if you start with gates , outlet and cabinet locks, you'll be good for at least a couple of months.

Good luck. When they get mobile, it gets interesting!



answers from Philadelphia on

We did: the outlet covers; babyproof things for the back of the doors, where the doors hit the walls--they are all 1 piece so there is no chance of the head of those things coming off and choking a little one; cabinet and drawer locks in the kitchen; "permanent," strong gates for the top and bottom of the stairs, and removable ones to use as desired between some of the rooms on the first floor (where there are no doors between any of the rooms, other than the bathroom and laundry room); and babyproof door knob things to go on top of the door knobs, so the kids could not open their closet doors or the pantry or bathrooms or laundry rooms on their own. A friend with an older child said her son put his stuffed animals in the toilet, so we bought toilet locks, but we didn't really need them as we just had the door knob things (which sometimes weren't so easy for the adults to use, too!).... Very important: secure any high furniture. We secured our bookshelves, floor lamps, etc. so they would not fall on the kids. There was a local girl who died a few years ago when the tv fell on her, and there has been a big movement about securing those, too.

We babyproofed when our oldest was about 6 months old, I think. She started crawling soon after, then pulled herself up soon after, then walked by her 1st birthday...and it happens so quickly!

Have fun!

ADDITIONAL INFO I JUST THOUGHT OF (after reading some other responses):

We had the corner guards. The ones we had worked wonderfully. It was soft thing that were eleastic, went around our tables (coffee table and end table in den/playrom), and did not damage our tables at all.

We have a tile area right in front of the den fire place, and we placed 2 comforters on top of that area.

We had gates preventing the children from going into the living room, so we did not put anything down on the tile in front of the fireplace in that room.

We really liked the kind of babyproof things we used on our drawers and cabinets. We had to install them, which is a pain, but they never broke, worked extremely well, and the kids could not get into anything.

Definately do the blind cords...that's a biggy. We also had things on our 2nd floor windows that only let the windows go up so far, unless we manually changed the settings.

How much you do may depend on whether you are home with your child all the time, or if others will be watching her at times. I had a sitter in the home 2 days a week, and I did not want to take any chances, and so we babyproofed so that we could be comfortable.

Also think about where else your daughter may be without you, like at grandparents' homes. We did some babyproofing at the grandparents' as well...blind cords, window things, etc. We had gates there as well. We also owned a travel gate (collapsable) that we kept in the car and took with us on trips, to the grandparents' shore home, etc.

Have fun with this!

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