Help with Childproofing Home

Updated on May 19, 2008
M.L. asks from Wilton, CT
4 answers

Please Help!

My 7 month old just took apart her monitor in her crib! our house is not child proof yet and i am really concerned. does anyone know what gates are good to get (name brand) and what other items worked well in their home? I don't want to get locked out of this stuff myself!
What works and what doesn't? Anything good for monitors specifically? WHat other places/ areas should i childproof right away and what can wait? She is not crawling yet but has almost fallen out of her bouncy seat= i was so scared. She will not stay in the swing anymore and almost broke it- she leans out. I think i have a little terror on me!
Please help me and thank you!

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answers from New York on

It's time to child proof your home. If you have stairs, don't use a pressure gate. The risk is too high. It's best to have one installed (screws in the wall and all). You'll also need plug blockers for all of your outlets and a security lock for anything under your kitchen cabinet sink (e.g., chemicals). Besides that, the rest is up to you. You can put locks on all or most of your kitchen and/or bathroom cabinets. Many people suggest leaving one kitchen cabinet or drawer easily accessible and filled with things that are baby friendly (tupperware, etc.). My first born is extremely cautious so we didn't need to do a lot of baby proofing. My second, however, is very inquisitive. We had to do everything from soup to nuts (especially the bathroom, she loves the toilet paper holder, toilet seat, you name it). Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi M.,
Wow! Sounds like you have a mover and a shaker :o) And once they get going - watch out.
First things that come to mind are cabinet doors/drawers in the kitchen. Outlet plug covers are a must! Also, I found that I had to move breakables (picture frames, vases - anything I didn't want him to touch) and put them away for awhile. My house wasn't necessarily decorated the way I'd like, but my son was safe to roam. A good way to do this is to get on your hands and knees in each room and see things from your daughters perspective. What looks temptin? You don't need them now, but they make these door knob things where the kids can't open them, but you can. And absolutely you need a gate at the top/bottom of the stairs.
I'm sure I'm forgetting some stuff, but these mamas are awesome and you'll certainly get a full list of stuff to "proof" your home :o)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

These are recommendations from a professional childproofer with experience in over 2000 homes. Learn about the hidden dangers not many know about and the most effective - and affordable - ways to childproof.


Childproofing is a necessary process starting from 7-8 months to 2 ½ years, when babies start to get mobile and can get into anything. It can be a gradual process, but should start with the childproofing of anything at the child’s level, especially stairs, gates and latching all drawers and cabinets.

Always try to aim for layers of security so if the child gets though one lock, she’ll have another layer (for example, locking all cabinets but putting drugs in high places)


• Childproof everything for your own peace of mind. You never know what a child will think of – he has had to go back on some occasions to add more childproofing when a kid did something his parents never thought he would.

• Get down at a child’s level and try to see dangers from their point of view.

• Before installing any adhesive childproofing locks, clean the area with alcohol. Do not use Fantastik, Formula 409 or GooGone as the adhesive will not form a tight seal.

• Locks with screws are better than locks with adhesives.

• Kidco makes the best childproofing devices; Mommy’s Helper is also good. He does not like Safety 1st, except for their oven locks.

• Get a 3-foot roll of Velcro (available at Staples, Home Depot) and duct tape. You don’t need to buy gadgets for everything, these work well in some cases mentioned later.

• Childproof even if you have a child that behaves very well and can follow your rules; her play pals may not, and there could be huge liability issues (Note: Check with your insurance agent to get umbrella coverage for liability, to protect your assets in case of an accident. A $1 million policy can be very affordable)

• Clear all areas of chocking hazards – anything that fits inside a toilet paper tube. This includes coins, nuts, popcorn, etc.

• Place sliding brass locks – high up - on any doors you need to secure with added protection.

• Put all pens and pencils away – largest source of injuries in ERs per his experience.

• From age 2-5 expect to do another round of childproofing as child gets taller and stronger – especially with regards to windows and furniture.

• Expect to pay about $1,000 if you use professional childproofing. He charges $100 for inspection; or $100 for first hour, $75 each additional hour to install childproofing

• If you bring in a childproofer, do not tidy up. Leave as you usually live as he needs to point out your mistakes (purses on floor, guns in TV stands, etc).


• Make sure all exterior doors are locked and childproofed – put a second lock high up if necessary.

• Secure coat racks with plastic ties and eye/hooks along the whole rack. Kids will grab on to coats and pull these down!

• Watch out for purses on floors. Any number of chocking and poison hazards inside, including coins, pills.


• Keep circulation areas clear as children run in zigzag and backwards.

• Do not use pressure gates in high-traffic areas.

• Using pressure gates to separate rooms is OK. He likes the First Years foot-operated gate.


• Install a spring hinge on this door so the basement/ garage door will automatically close. This eliminates the human error factor – i.e. that you may forget to close this door.

• Place a deadbolt high up (make sure it can be opened from both sides).

• Make sure your garage door coils are child-safe with steel wire running through them as a safeguard; also make sure your garage door has an automatic back-up safety feature. Many homes do not have this. Coils will fail over time without warning and can cause fatal injury; a garage door can crush a child or an adult very easily. Our garage was like this - replacing the coils, putting in a new garage door opener, realigning the door and replacing all wheels along the track is relatively affordable ($500-$700) and can be done in one day.


• Place gate at top and bottom of stairs. Kidco gates are recommended. Make sure the gate is secured to sheetrock and a stud. (Note: Some books suggest placing bottom gate 2-3 steps up so that the child can begin practicing climbing and going down stairs. A child that doesn’t know how to climb or go down stairs is more likely to get injured if she ever encounters a stairway without protection)

• Adapter kits are available for banister installations. In some cases he drills two holes in the floor with L Brackets to secure them.

• Banisters should have no more than 4-inch spacing. He installs Plexiglas over banisters (This is available at baby retailers as well in 5 ft rolls).


• Ideally you would keep the baby out of the kitchen with a gate, but the reality is that she will live in the kitchen, spend her time in there with you, eat all her meals there etc. So you must childproof everything here.

• Read the manuals of your appliances – some may have childproofing features.

• Keep water heater at 120o F max to avoid scalds.


• Any good lock will necessarily use screws. He can’t guarantee there won’t be damage with childproofing.

• Kitchen cabinets can be secured with either latches or magnetic locks. The latter are expensive but are very effective, much more so the plastic locks with adhesives that come unglued or drawer latches that can jam little fingers. Magnetic locks may mar the finish over time as the magnet is rubbed on the surface frequently. They may also need blocks of wood to build up the cabinet and make the lock line up properly (his clients usually end up calling him for this)

• Kidco makes the best latches but they don’t work on everything.

• Place dangerous cleaning / deodorizing chemicals out of reach.

• Lock the cabinet under the sink.

• Get a foot pedal garbage bin – kids will get into garbage.

• Get rid of plastic bags all over the house. Ideally, you should not have a liner in the garbage bin. Empty the bin every day.

• Place your knives on top of the refrigerator or in a corner if you have deep counters.

• Place food processor blades out of reach.

• If you have a drawer with dangerous items use two magnetic locks as an extra layer of security, as the child will not have the coordination to use two locks at once.


• Lock the dishwasher even when not in use. Appliance locks are available. Some dishwashers have childproofing features built in as it can cause problems if a child starts pressing buttons.

• Place silverware facing down even if the instructions say otherwise.

• Dishwasher detergent is extremely caustic and will burn the esophagus if ingested.


• Secure your refrigerator with an appliance lock, although he admits that they are not ideal because they use adhesive.

• You should clear your refrigerator of any small magnets which can be a choking hazard for children; if you need to use them, opt for the credit card type that are sent out by local businesses.

• Watch out when you answer the phone and are carrying your child. The child will be facing away from you and suddenly find a lot of things accessible, on the refrigerator, cabinets, etc.

• Keep the number of poison control and the emergency room by your phone.

Oven/ range

• Get an oven lock for the oven (some have locks built in ). Safety 1st makes good oven locks . Make sure it is heat resistant. (note 1 :Not sure if he’s referring to the self-cleaning lock. If the oven’s turned on, it’s locked for a good 2-3 hours.)

For safety reasons, never store anything in the oven or leave anything on top of a range to minimize risk of fire) (Note 2: There are two types of locks a) for regular ranges which go on the side, and b) for flush mounted ranges.)

• Keep handles of pots turned inward at all times.

• Stove knob guards are useless. It’s better to remove the knobs and use them as you need them.

• Watch out for low microwaves!

Pots and pans

• Never allow your child to play with pots and pans, as by association, they will try to grab for one when they see it on the stove. Only let them play with Tupperware.


• Keep oils, spices and salt out of low cabinets as they can be harmful if ingested in large quantities.

• Be careful of water coolers in the kitchen which can be emptied by kids (causing flooding) or easily toppled over.


• Secure all cabinets

• Lock washer and dryer with appliance locks

• Keep all cleaning products out of reach.

• Watch out for buckets (keep them face down, never up or filled with water as a child can drown in just an inch of water and can get his head out because he’s top heavy).


• Use toilet locks as a child can easily drown in a toilet (he is top heavy and can’t get out if he goes in headfirst). A Mommy’s Helpers lock is easy to clip on and doesn’t damage the seat like other brands which use adhesive.

• Everything else will end up in the toilet if you’re not careful.. cell phone, glasses, etc.

• Put cleaners out of reach

• Put all medicines, perfumes, makeup out of reach

• Lock/ latch cabinets

• Use soft spout guards

• Shut off the water to bidets

• Never ever leave a child alone in a bathroom, even “for a second”


• Biggest mistake parents make: placing the baby monitor next to the crib, where baby can reach out, grab the cable, and chew on it - potential for electrecution. Get it out of the way!!

• Use the crib railing lowering mechanism even if you don’t need it and can scoop your child out of the crib. By association, your child will think that it’s a necessary step before they can get out, and instead of trying to jump over the railing, they will focus first on trying to lower it.

• Do not buy letters with small magnets in back as they can come off and are chocking hazards.

• Keep children’s books on low shelves or baskets.

• A crib tent is the best option (if only) available at this time to keep kids from jumping out (and keeping cats and older siblings away from babies). In his experience he has seen kids jump into cribs.

• Toddler beds or a mattress on the floor is another alternative.

• He mentioned Regatti (sic?) cribs as easy to break/ get out of and does not recommend them.

• Bellini furniture will easily topple over if all three drawers are opened, per his own experience (Note from me: Legacy (Childcraft Industries) apparently has cabinets designed for children that are not easily tipped over – you can request a catalog at their site.

• No garbage can in kid’s room


• Clear out your bedside table of medicines, coins, other choking hazards. These will be the first to be opened as they are the lowest.

• Get rid of all dry cleaning bags!

• Put eyeglasses and jewelry away.

• Empty your change into a 5-gallon water jug each night.


• A Superyard will keep your little one “contained” in a safe area until he’s 14 months old (Extenders are available to make it larger)

• Cover the chimney hole with plexiglass cut larger than the hole and attached with velcro .

• There are a number of gates available which can close off areas like the chimney. For example, an inexpensive $20 gate (crisscrossed wood) can be placed across the opening.

• Corner guards don’t work, as toddlers take them off in minutes. A better solution is Toddler Shield which are elastic and wrap around corners, sold in cream or black (Note: Measure the circumference carefully as Toddler Shield is expensive and not returnable to many retailers)

• Be open to rearranging furniture. If you can’t get rid of a lamp, for example, make sure the child can’t access it by catty-cornering heavy furniture against it so it can’t topple over. Or place lamps high up on furniture.

• TVs can be tipped over. There are no ideal locks but if you get the type that practically latch the TV to furniture, put at least 4 on.

• Don’t forget the hearth, as it has sharp corners. There are protectors available.

• Secure bureaus to wall.


• If you have a china cabinet, try unscrewing the handles and placing them inside the drawer/ cabinet. Open with a butter knife. (Note: I left the screw head out a bit, about 1/8 inch - you can push it in and pull it out - so you can slip the butter knife underneath - put your thumb on the screw head at the same time to get a better grip and keep it from sliding. I also found that using a strong suction cup such as the bottom of a toddler plate did the trick but don’t let baby see this!)

• Toddler shield best edge protection, although glass tops are hard. Clear the table before putting it on – he’s had clients break things left on top!

• Move table to side as kids run very wild.


• Windows should open 4” maximum. Some windows have this feature; you can also install locks.

• Casement windows – he can’t recommend any specific lock due to liability issues. He doesn’t consider them effective.

• Keep furniture away from windows.

• Use window guards where necessary (yes, they’re not pretty, but they’re white) (Note: provides information on different guards available for all types of windows and sizes.)

• Cut blind cords as follows: close blinds; cut cord flush with bottom; use a cord shortener to wind the cord or better, attach Velcro to the tip of the cord and high up, so you can wind the cord and stick it to the wall. You’ll tend to remember to use this more than the shortener.

• Make sure any childproofing on windows can be quickly removed in case of an emergency.


• Get a large piece of peg board and secure to back of your desk (creating a false back or front, depending on the angle), thus blocking cables from view. The child will not realize there is something behind there.

• Secure bookcases to the wall using an earthquake steel cables (Note: He did not mention where to buy these. appears to be the manufacturer of these cables)

• Commercially available childproofing straps are not strong enough for heavy furniture (note: a large bookcase can contain about 300-500 lbs of books)


• Again, biggest mistake parents make: placing the baby monitor next to the crib, where baby can reach out, grab the cable, and chew on it. Get it out of the way!!

• Electrical cables are chewing hazards. There are protectors available to shorten them; cover them along the baseboard; organize them into one long tube; you can also use twist ties to tie them along the furniture leg.

• Get sliding outlet plates, not ones with diagonal gizmos or recessed areas that make plugging AC adaptors difficult.

• Do not use old-fashioned electrical plug-in covers, as they’re chocking hazards.

• Get rid of pole lamps which can be knocked over.

• Run cables behind furniture when possible.

• Place heavy furniture in front of outlets.

• Use sconces or ceiling lighting; there are no ideal table lamp. Regular incandescent lamps can be somewhat safer than halogens which are hotter.


• Keep a fire extinguisher in each level (There are different types on the market, make sure the one for each area corresponds to the type of possible fire).

• Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms (some come with both) on all levels and bedrooms. For nurseries, one with the parent’s recorded voice is recommended as kids tend to sleep through alarms.

• Have an emergency preparation plan – do fire drills with your kids on a regular basis.

• Have two means of escape from each floor. Get an emergency ladder and keep it close to a window, easy to find.

• In case of fire, only one parent should fetch the child. The other should make sure exit is clear.


• Huge risk – get rid of them, fill them in!

• Place a high fence all around and keep locked at all times

• ENORMOUS LIABILITY in case you have kids visiting.


• Pet gates are not necessarily child proof or child safe

• He uses a 6 inch Hook and eye, attached to the door and to the frame, such that a bedroom or bathroom can be left cracked open 4 inches at all times, enough space for a cat to come in and out, but to keep out a child (they can choke on pet food, get into the water bowl or try to eat the cat litter)


• Watch out for cleaning lady and the many cleaners she brings along.

• Check that windows are not opened.


• Watch out for purses on floors! Any number of chocking and poison hazards inside, including coins, pills.

• Place washcloths or top of doors to prevent jammed fingers.

• If going to Grandma’s make sure drugs are out of reach (as well as her purse)

• Coolest tip: Bring duct tape and place squares of it on all outlets and to tie down electrical cords, window cords, etc. The hotel may hate you for it but you’ll be gone and they can remove it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi M.,
I have to tell you that my first daughter would get to every item imaginable. It was like she was on wheels. I would find her picking up every speck off of the floor. Even after I made all areas of the house safe, I found that I would have to vacuum almost every day. If she didn't find something teeny-tiny on the hardwood floor - she'd find something tiny on the rug. It was amazing to me that I had to swiffer the floors and vacuum the rugs so much more often. And, my house was very clean to begin with...
A few times during the week, I would take out some safe, plastic bowls and cups. I'd put them on the floor and fiddle around with them as if they were for me to play with. Within seconds, she would crawl over and play with them for at least 15 minutes.

When I wasn't working, I'd take her to in-home playgroups. Three or four of us alternate houses once or twice a week. One mom would watch the kids for a few minutes
while someone got to sit and have a cup of coffee or tea. On
occasion, we'd go to a museum or a park (May-September). The group of us enjoyed meeting at a house. We met for almost 2 years. The families have moved away. We still keep in touch!

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