How to Baby-Proof a House – Step-by-Step Checklist

October 19, 2021Moving Tips
Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

Having children is one of the best things you’ll have to deal with in your life, but it’ll also be a source of stress. Starting from an early age, kids are pretty curious, which can lead to injuries. That’s why it is crucial to learn how to baby-proof a house. It’s not a particularly difficult task, but it takes a while. We’ve made a step-by-step checklist to help you navigate this process.

When you become a parent, you will start noticing that everything in your home can be dangerous. You’re not wrong to worry – babies love to explore their surroundings and have no understanding of what can cause them harm. Suddenly, you will be scared of cords, electrical outlets, and table corners. But there’s no reason to stress too much if you handle baby-proofing your home properly. So, how to baby-proof your house?

How to Baby-Proof a House and Keep Your Child Safe From Any Potential Harm?

One of the most common questions soon-to-be parents ask themselves is this – how can I make my house safe for my baby? Making sure that every room is secure for kids is one of the most important things to do after you move, and it’s something you’ll definitely have to do if you want to have an efficient move and not lose your mind thinking about your child’s safety. Another important question is – when to baby proof?

Experts suggest that you do this at least three months before your due date, so you don’t have to rush to get things done after you move to a new city. That means that it can be too overwhelming to move to a new home very close to your due date – it’s better to give yourself time to handle the anxiety about moving out and properly prepare for the little one’s arrival.

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How Much Does It Cost to Baby-Proof a House and Take Care of Every Room?

How do you baby-proof a room? This relocation essential won’t cause you much trouble. It isn’t complicated, but it will affect your moving budget. New parents spend anywhere from $500 to $2,500 to make sure every room in their residence is secure for little kids. You probably aren’t happy to hear that, considering you have to move, but saving money on moving costs shouldn’t include not buying essentials for securing a child’s safety. Child-proofing prevents countless injuries, and there’s no reason to risk your kid’s health if you can easily prevent disasters.

Making every corner of your residence secure is one of the post-moving priorities

Step 1. Handle the Baby-Proofing Essentials First

Before you get to securing all the rooms after your move to the big city, you need to handle the essentials first. Even though your newborn won’t immediately start crawling and chewing random items they find on the floor, it’s better to handle everything now while you still have the energy. With babies, it’s wise to follow a common rule – what you can do today, don’t leave for tomorrow, because you likely won’t have time tomorrow. Here’s what you should do as soon as you unpack after the move:

  • Fix anything broken, so your kid won’t hurt themself.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, or check the batteries of the existing ones.
  • Get a fire extinguisher and make sure you know how to use it, just in case.
  • If your place was built before 1978, you will have to do some renovations. Older homes are a source of lead exposure that is toxic for children.
  • Cover all the electrical outlets. Use self-closing socket plugs – you can slide them back and forth, but your kid won’t know how to do that.
  • Set the water heater under 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid extreme water temperatures that can hurt babies and toddlers.
  • If you own a firearm, keep it locked and unloaded, far away from children’s reach.
Take care of the basics first - electrical outlets are one of the most dangerous things

Step 2. Prepare the Nursery

New parents love to spend hours and hours picking up the right crib or cute toys for the nursery. Although fun, this task isn’t the most crucial one when it comes to decorating the nursery – you will have to provide safety for your kid’s bedroom as well. Better safe than sorry, right? That is definitely true in this case – no need to bring the stress upon yourself after you have successfully organized a stress-free move.

The Checklist for Baby-Proofing the Nursery

Babies spend plenty of unsupervised hours in the nursery, and you will want to know that you’ve done everything you can to keep them safe and sound. Everything from the crib to the window can be dangerous if you don’t adapt it for little children. This is the list of things to do when preparing the nursery:

  • Install window guards – you can’t entirely rely on the glass.
  • Never use blinds with cords – they can be a strangulation hazard.
  • Secure the changing table (and any other pieces of furniture) to the floor, so it can’t fall over the little one.
  • Place a thick rug on the floor to cushion the falls, and put non-slip pads under it.
  • Finish painting the walls at least two months before the due date, so your newborn won’t be exposed to toxic fumes.
  • Check if all the bolts and screws on the crib are tight and that mattress is well-placed.
  • Avoid toy boxes with heavy lids that can hurt small kids.

Let us remind you of the importance of covering electrical outlets. Additionally, you should invest in a quality monitor so you can keep an eye on your little one at all times. If you want to see an example of kid-proofing a nursery, check out the video below.

Step 3. Make Your Kitchen a Secure Place for the Little One

Most homes have kitchens connected to living rooms – an open concept is popular these days, but it can cause trouble for new parents. It means that your toddler can easily crawl away from you and decide to explore the kitchen. It might be fun for them, but it will surely be stressful for you if you haven’t provided adequate safety in this part of your residence.

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Most Important Steps for Child-Proofing the Kitchen

Kitchen cabinets and drawers contain plenty of things that aren’t kid-friendly. You will have to ensure you secure everything and put dangerous stuff out of a toddler’s reach. This task might take a bit of time, but do your best to stay focused – your little one’s health is in question. Here are the tasks you should check off the list as soon as possible – don’t even wait for the crawling to begin.

  • Get cabinet and drawer locks – no need to explain why they are an absolute must-have.
  • You’ll also need stove-knob covers – this is a wise way for preventing a toddler from turning on the stove once they can stand up.
  • Find a new spot for your cleaning supplies – they shouldn’t be under the sink or anywhere close to the floor. Keep them high, so your kid can’t reach them and accidentally poison themselves.
  • Try to avoid tables with glass tops – they are less stable and can lead to potential accidents.
  • Don’t keep tablecloths on your kitchen table.
  • Don’t keep any rugs or carpets under the table – there is always going to be some food on the floor if you have a little kid. If you do decide to keep a carpet, remember to add non-slip pads under.
  • Remember to install appliance locks – kids can open an oven and burn themselves, or open a dishwasher and take out a knife. Even the fridge can contain some harmful items, so be sure to place locks on all these appliances to secure the health of your child.
Your whole kitchen can be a health hazard for a toddler if you don't secure it adequately

Step 4. Ensure Safety in the Living Room

This huge part of your place might seem secure at first glance, but don’t fall into the false sense of security. Now you might ask yourself – what can be so dangerous about a couch or an armchair? While it is true that cushions on the sofa probably won’t hurt your kid (we can’t even promise you that – some kids are really creative), there are plenty of other things that damage the health of your little one – here’s what to pay attention to:

  • If you have any furniture with sharp edges, it’s best to add corner cards to protect the kid from harm.
  • If you have avoided classic moving mistakes that leave people broke after moving out of state, you can consider redecorating – purchase furniture with round edges that can’t hurt a fly, let alone a kid.
  • Secure the pieces of furniture to the floor, as you did with a crib in the nursery.
  • Place non-slip pads under the carpet.
  • If you have a fireplace, it’s best to install a fireplace gate.
  • Skip the blinds with cords and install window guards (this applies to every part of the residence).
  • Be careful not to leave cords from various devices hanging around, like the TV or your computer.
The living area offers babies a lot of places to explore - think about your kid's safety here

Step 5. Take Care of the Rest of the Home – Don’t Stop Now

Of course, there is something to be done in every area – don’t stop now. Even though now you are done with the most important rooms, we suggest you don’t give up the task at this point – there are still essential things to be done. Whatever your reasons to move were, we are certain that you feel tired after it.

All this work on top of everything can be overwhelming, especially if you are experiencing depression after moving. However, let us give you one more moving tip – some seemingly less critical areas of the residence still must be kid-proofed, even if they won’t spend much time there or use the space. Check off the following tasks from the list:

  • Place a gate at the top and bottom of all stairs.
  • Check if you have any poisonous plants, and if you do, remove them.
  • Place door knob covers on the doors that lead to unsafe rooms.
  • Keep any choking hazards out of sight – any tiny objects that a kid can swallow.
  • Always lock your doors, especially if you have a pool in the yard – kids could fall in.
  • Store your medication out of kids’ reach so they don’t accidentally take something.
  • Install a toilet lock to prevent your little one from falling in.
Proper locks should be installed even on the toilet - kids find everything interesting

Step 6. Kid-Proof Your Car as Well

If you think that you’re done once the whole residence is kid-proofed, think again. There’s still work to do – your car needs to be prepared for young travelers. Besides getting a top-quality car seat and installing it properly in the back of the vehicle (check out car seat buyers guide to help you decide which one to buy), here’s what else you have to do:

  • Remove any small things you keep in your car that can be a choking hazard, and get rid of anything sharp.
  • Place sunshades on the back windows.
  • Always keep the door that leads to the garage locked, so the kid can’t accidentally reach the car.
  • Enable the child lock on the rear doors, so they can’t open the door from inside the car.
  • Ensure the window switches are inoperational.

Try to do this as soon as you move your car to another state and settle in – this is one of our top post-moving hacks. We know that it was probably stressful to handle car shipping cross country (whether you used an open carrier or have decided to use an enclosed trailer), even if you had the best auto transport company to help you out. But that will be nothing compared to the driving anxiety you’ll feel if you try to drive your kid in a non-proofed car. Trust us – that kind of driving stress isn’t good for anybody.

Have you done everything you can to keep your toddler secure in the car?

Step 7. Once You’re Done, Make Sure You Do a Double-Check

Congrats, you have successfully prepared your surroundings for the arrival of a kid. After spending months organizing a move and preparing for the newborn, you must be more than exhausted. But, we still have to suggest you do a double-check just to be 100% certain that everything is in order. After that, you can sit back and relax – at least, until the due date.

A double-check is in order - it's best to be certain you haven't skipped anything

Now You Can Enjoy Your New Home, Knowing Your Little One Will Be Safe and Healthy

After all the house-hunting you’ve been through, we believe you will be happy to finally enjoy your place and focus on the usual activities of soon-to-be parents, such as decorating the nursery, buying toys, or trying to decide what is the best spot for the crib. As you have seen, kid-proofing a living area can take a while but is absolutely essential and something to devote your full attention to in the few months before the newborn’s arrival.

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