Babyproofing your home
Babies love to discover the world around them! So it’s important to babyproof your home to keep your baby safe. Household injuries are one of the top reasons children younger than age 3 visit emergency rooms.
Babyproof before your newborn comes home. Look for dangers like sharp furniture edges or tiny objects, like coins, toy parts or uninflated balloons, that she can swallow or choke on. Check for new dangers as she grows — especially when she starts walking!
What safety products can you use to babyproof your home?
You can get safety products at hardware stores or stores that sell baby gear. Use them throughout your home:
Gates and locks
- Safety gates. Use gates to keep your baby out of rooms, like the kitchen and bathroom, that can be unsafe for your baby or to block the top and bottom of stairs. Top gates should screw into the wall.
- Doorknob covers and locks. These keep your baby from opening doors. Make sure you know how to use the locks so you can open doors quickly in an emergency.
- Safety latches or locks. Keep cabinets and drawers locked so your baby can’t get to dangers, like cleaning supplies.
Smoke, fire and electricity protection
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These alarms warn you if there’s a fire or a leak of carbon monoxide (a harmful gas). Install these alarms outside bedrooms. Make sure there’s a smoke detector on each floor of your home.
- Outlet covers and plugs. These prevent your baby from touching electric outlets and getting shocked.
Furniture and window protection
- Corner and edge bumpers. Attach these to sharp edges so your baby doesn’t get hurt if he falls against them.
- Anchors or brackets. Heavy objects, like bookcases or TVs, can fall on a baby. Anchor them to the floor or fasten them to a wall so they can’t tip over.
- Cordless window covers. Use blinds and window covers that don’t have cords. Babies can get strangled if they wrap the cord around their necks.
- Window guards and safety netting. These protect your baby from falling out of a window or off of a deck.
Babyproof any room in your home where your baby may be.
- Use a bassinet or crib that meets current safety standards. Visit U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) at cpsc.gov to learn more.
- Keep crib bumpers, loose bedding, toys and other soft objects out of the crib. They put babies in danger of getting trapped, strangled or suffocated.
- Use night lights that stay cool when turned on. If curtains or bedding touch a hot night light, they can catch on fire. Baby’s fingers can get burned, too. Check the package label.
- Lock things like cleaning products, pet foods and plastic bags in a cabinet out of baby’s reach. Bleach or other household cleaners can be harmful to your baby. Babies can choke on pet food or suffocate if they cover their faces with things like a plastic bag.
- Lock up sharp utensils and appliances. Keep knives and forks in a locked drawer. Keep appliances like food processors in a locked cabinet.
- Unplug and turn off appliances, like toasters and stoves, when you’re not using them. Stove knob covers keep your baby from turning the stove dials and burning himself.
- Use a rubber cover on the bathtub faucet. This softens a bump if your baby’s head hits the faucet.
- Fasten a toilet with a toilet lid lock. This way, your baby can’t open the lid and fall into the toilet water.
- Lock up cleaning products, medicine and electric appliances. Cleaning products and some medicines can harm your baby if he touches or swallows them. Keep all medicines in baby-proof containers so your baby can’t open them. Appliances like hair dryers can cause electric shock if they get wet.
Last reviewed October 2012
Most common questions
Are plastic baby bottles that use BPA & phthalates safe?
Scientists are debating whether BPA (bisphenol A) and phthalates pose a risk to children's health. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expressed concerns about chemicals used in plastics. BPA is used to make plastics clear, strong and hard to break. Some baby bottles, dishes and toys contain this chemical. Some research has found that bisphenol A can affect the brain, behavior and prostate gland in infants and children.
If you're concerned, buy BPA-free plastic baby products. You can also use baby bottles made of glass, polypropylene or polyethylene. If you use plastics, avoid plastics numbered 3 or 7 (look for the number in a triangle typically found on the bottom of containers). Use plastics numbered 1, 2 and 4. If plastic baby bottles and infant cups contain BPA, discard them if they have scratches. Don't put boiling or very hot liquids, such as formula, into plastic bottles or containers that contain BPA.
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