How to Child-Proof Your Home

Tips and products to help you childproof your home.

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Babyproofing Basics

Falls are the leading cause of injuries for children younger than 1 year, a Canadian study found. Many of these and other injuries can be prevented by using products made specifically for babyproofing—and by employing some good old common sense, such as keeping a close eye on your child and always using safety straps.

What you need to protect your baby changes with her development, so here's a timeline to help you prepare. As you do, keep in mind this insight from Penelope Leach's Your Baby & Child: From Birth to Age Five (Knopf): "Minor bangs, bruises and grazes are a normal part of a child's life. If yours never had any kind of accident, you probably would be overprotecting him and depriving him of his rightful share of exploration and adventure."

Birth to Rolling Over (typically 4 to 5 months but can be earlier)

Don't leave your baby unattended on any elevated surface; keep plastic bags out of reach; make sure the crib mattress fits snugly and slats are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart.

Crawling (typically 7 to 10 months)

Get down on the floor and look for choking and other hazards; secure unsteady furniture to walls; block stair-railing openings that are wider than 4 inches; place a nonslip mat and spout cover in the bathtub; keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove; remove poisonous plants; keep your purse out of reach.

Cruising, Walking, Climbing (typically 8 to 12 months)

Remove hanging toys and bumpers from the crib; use a detachable guardrail on bigger beds; keep anything the baby might climb up on away from unsafe areas, such as windows.

For more childproofing suggestions, visit www.cpsc.gov or www.iafcs.com.

  1. Cord Wind-Up: Dangling cords pose a choking hazard.
  2. Window Wedge: Protects babies by limiting the height or width of window openings.
  3. Finger Protector Drawer & Cabinet: Use in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry and other rooms.
  4. Anti-Scalding Valve: Prevents burns in the tub.
  5. Toilet Lock: Can prevent plumbing disasters and even drowning.
  6. Extra-Tall Top-of-Stairs Gate
  7. Safe & Secure Sliding Door Lock With Alarm: Keeps crawling babies from pushing sliding doors open.
  8. Wide Spaces Swing Gate: Expandable from 42 to 60 inches wide.
  9. Standard Outlet Cover: For babies who can't resist putting things in holes.
  10. Sliding Cabinet/Window Lock: Locks cabinets, windows and even entertainment centers.
  11. Corner Guards: Helps prevent bumps, bruises and eye injuries.
  12. Stove Top Shield: Prevents burns and spills.
  13. Stove Knob Covers: Keeps toddlers from turning on stove burners.
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