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10 Ways to Babyproof Your House

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The world can be a dangerous place for a baby on the move. Before your little one takes off crawling, you'll want to do some serious babyproofing to make your house a safe place for your curious new explorer. Get started by tackling these 10 baby hazards. Then get down on your hands and knees to see the world from your baby's eye view, and make sure you haven't missed anything. And finally, prepare yourself: Expect to spend the next couple of years watching that little crawler-walker-runner's every move!

1. Plug Electrical Outlets

plugging an electrical outlet

No little one can resist sticking her fingers in those tiny, dangerous holes in the wall. Plug up the temptation with plastic outlet covers—the ones that require two hands to pry off. Or go even safer by replacing your current electrical plates with ones that have spring-loaded outlet covers. Arrange furniture in front of outlets to further diminish the temptation.

2. Babyproof You

a dad playing with his baby

You'll probably need to change your habits once your baby can grab and move—everything within reach is game for her, so it's your job to keep things out of the way.

Water glasses, dinner plates, and silverware need to be set far back on the table, so your little one can't pull on them from your lap. Keep your cell phone out of reach too or your babe might send it flying. Swap out your dangly earrings for studs and skip the necklaces entirely for awhile. If you wear glasses, you might want to switch to contacts until your baby has outgrown this grabby phase.

3. Barricade the Stairs

a baby leaning on a baby gate

If your little one can crawl to the stairs, she can tumble down them as well. Install baby gates at the top of staircases at the minimum. A gate at the bottom is helpful to prevent adventurous climbers from starting to scale the stairs and tumbling backward down them. Baby gates can be useful for blocking off-limits rooms or areas as well.

4. Remove Plants and Planters

a group of indoor planters

Some house plants are poisonous when eaten, so you'll want to move those tasty-looking-to-a-baby treats up to a very high shelf or ledge. Relocate any large floor planters to an off-limits room even if the plants they house are harmless—your baby might just decide to fling around or feast on that dirt one day.

5. Keep Floors Clean

a baby helping mom clean the floors

With that tiny baby zooming along the floors, it's important to keep them clean and free of any hazards. All objects smaller than a tangerine need to be up and out of reach of your little one, who will put anything and everything in his mouth. Instigate a no-shoes policy in your home, which will help prevent fertilizer residue and germs from making their way indoors. Also sweep, mop, and vacuum regularly.

6. Steady Furniture

a baby crawling on the floor

Your baby will soon use the furniture as her own personal walker, so make sure all heavy pieces are stable and not at risk of toppling over on her. Use furniture straps or brackets to secure bookcases, dressers, and side tables to the wall. Apply corner guards to coffee tables, TV stands, windowsills, and anything else with sharp corners.

7. Lock Up Hazardous Products

Absolutely everything that presents a danger to your baby if ingested—from toxic household products like cleaners, dishwasher tablets, paint, and laundry soap to all medicine and vitamins to alcohol—should be relocated out of baby's reach and secured in a high, locked cabinet.

8. Install Cabinet Locks

closeup of a cabinet lock

Your little one will soon be displaying an amazing ability to open drawers and cabinets, and also to empty them. Cabinet locks are essential for keeping your crawler out of places he shouldn't be. Consider creating a baby-friendly cabinet in a safe spot in your kitchen—away from the stove—and fill it with plastic containers, wooden spoons, and stacking cups for your baby to empty to his heart's content.

9. Banish Small Toys

a chocking hazard warning label

Your older child's toys are likely a wonderland of choking hazards for your baby. Anything that can fit into a toilet paper tube presents a risk, so stash all small objects in a room that's off-limits for your baby. Teach your big kids about the dangers of leaving their tiny toys in an area where their curious, crawling sibling could find them.

10. Clear Away Cords

electrical chords lying on the ground

Household cords can present a serious danger to babies, because they can quickly get tangled up in them and choke. Remove all hanging mobiles from baby's crib when your little one can sit up. Appliance and other electrical cords need to be covered, contained and out of reach of your baby, who might pull or chew on them. And all cords from window treatments should be wrapped up and secured tightly to the wall.

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