How to Childproof your Home

That first moment when your baby pulls up to stand and takes a few tentative steps is both thrilling and nerve-wracking for new parents. Not only does this moment signal that your baby is growing up and becoming more independent, it means that a whole new world has opened up for him to explore.

While many parents understand the standards of babyproofing their homes for emergent walkers, once a toddler takes off on his own, this task becomes all the more crucial. Learning to child-proof your home for a walking toddler means not only looking at the world from the floor, but working up, up, up. In fact, for many little climbers, the higher the shelf, the greater the challenge. Here are a few advanced childproofing strategies from Pottery Barn Kids that parents of toddlers and soon-to-be toddlers should use to protect their home, their valuables and their children.

How to Childproof your Home

Sleeptime safety

Although most one-year-olds have outgrown their SIDS risk, a crib can still present a major hazard if your child is prone to climb. Keep the crib clear of any stuffed animals, pillows or blankets that can serve as a stepping stool. Also, once the child is taller than 35" or able to pull over the crib rail when the mattress is at it lowest setting, it’s time to move to the toddler bed.

The bathroom is a wonderland

Young babies often only go into the bathroom for a quick, supervised bath. Toddlers tend to get messier and need constant supervision, which means even your own bathroom time is now a party of two.

Now that she is mobile, there are a number of hazards inside the small space of your bathroom that can harm a toddler. To be safe, make sure to do the following:

  • Turn the water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding.
  • Place a non-slip bath mat both inside and outside the tub to prevent falls.
  • Cover the bathtub spout and handles with a soft cover.
  • Lock all cabinets, even the higher ones, especially if they have medication inside.
  • Place garbage cans under the sink in a locked cabinet.
  • Lock the toilet. Not only is it a drowning hazard, “washing” and flushing toys is often too enticing for a toddler to pass up.

Secure furniture

On average, every 24 minutes a child in the United States is injured as a result of falling furniture or television sets. Every two weeks, one of those children dies as a result of his injuries. This is why it is so important to anchor any furniture that a child can climb or pull securely to the wall. Minimally, this should include the child's dresser, changing table and bookcases throughout the home.

To make sure everything in your home is safe, do a simple pull test on any furniture you can find. Pull out drawers and press on shelves in an attempt to mimic a 20- to 30-pound child trying to climb. When in doubt, anchor a piece or move it into a secured location.

Hide your valuables

Reaching to the top of shelves and climbing onto anything with a ledge not only puts your toddler in jeopardy, it puts any valuable, breakable items on those shelves in jeopardy as well. While it may seem to last forever, children eventually learn to steer clear of certain areas and not touch certain things.

To preserve your valuable items and prevent cuts and bruises, it is wise to pack away the nice things while your toddler is exploring. Alternately, you can put gates around dangerous areas, so long as they are safely secured. Closed doors with doorknob locks are another good way to keep precious items out of his path.