The 5-Step Guide to Babyproofing

Creating a safe and secure environment for your baby requires extra due diligence.

Baby crawling in playroom

When it comes to babyproofing, you've thought of everything, right? (Outlet covers? Check. Safety gates? Of course.) But according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, accidental death rates dropped among all age groups in 2009, the latest year for which data is available—except among babies younger than 1 year. Below are the leading causes of accidental death for babies, listed in order, along with advice to keep your child out of harm's way.

1. Suffocation

More than 900 babies younger than 12 months died in 2009 from suffocation.

Stay-safe tips: Remember the ABCs of safe sleep, says Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C.: "Babies should sleep A-Alone, without blankets, bumpers or pillows; B-on their backs; and 'C-in a crib.

2. Motor Vehicle Accidents

In a 2012 survey from AAA , three-quarters of Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technicians reported that parents misuse the LATCH system—designed to make car-seat installation simpler—more than half of the time.

Stay-safe tips: It's essential that the base of the seat not move more than 1 inch in any direction. Have your work checked for free and glean tips from local pros at SeatCheck (

3. Drowning

"An inch of water can be as dangerous to an infant as an 8-foot pool," says Carr.

Stay-safe tips: Never leave your child alone in a bathroom, tub or around water. Get in the habit of emptying buckets or basins of water immediately after use.

4. Burn/Fire

Scalds from hot liquids and steam are often overlooked as a baby hazard.

Stay-safe tips: Enjoy coffee or tea in a travel mug with a lid and don't carry your child while cooking. Be sure to change the batteries in smoke alarms twice a year.

5. Poisoning

Infant deaths from poisonings are rising.

Stay-safe tips: Program the Poison Control Hotline number into your phones: 800-222-1222. In addition to cleaning supplies, keep your medications stored up and away, says Carr. And follow your pediatrician's dosing advice strictly when giving your baby medicine.

Keep Reading: The Latest Baby Safety Advice