Baby And Toddler Proofing Ideas For Your Home

I get emails from you guys pretty often asking how David and I have baby proofed our home for HDawg. I've held off on writing this post for a few reasons. First of all, we didn't really baby proof our previous rental home because once H was ready to tear into things, we knew we'd be moving out of the house and didn't want to make any additions or improvements, even if they were minor. Also, it's safe to say that I'm no expert on this subject matter, so I don't want anyone to take this as hard core advice, but, rather, just me sharing what we've done around our house.

So. Two caveats. One- this is not an expert post on prepping your home for a baby or toddler. It's just me sharing what has worked for us (so far) around our home. Two- I am certainly not reinventing the wheel here. These are not new ideas, per se, but just our ideas and tips for keeping our toddler happy and safe. You asked, I'll share! On to the ideas!

1. Gates, gates, gates.

 Moving into a home with two floors presented a whole new dimension of safety issues to think about with HDawg... the stairs. He's actually pretty good at climbing them, but of course we'd never want him to wander up the stairs unsupervised. At the bottom of the stairs, we placed this walk through gate. It's a pretty easy latch system that I can do one handed... six-and-a-half months pregnant with a 25 pound baby and some laundry in my arms : )

Also, as a renter, this gate simply uses tension spots to keep the gate in place. H likes to play "jail" as I call it where he grabs the bars and shakes. He thinks it's especially funny when Tucker is on the other side. Anyways, even with all of that movement, I've never seen the gate or tension points budge. It's super safe!

But the top of the stairs presents a different concern. David and I were worried that a regular tension gate like this could possibly give when pushed (even though we find this one sturdy, it's always a possibility) and that our little bambino would then go tumbling down the stairs. So we wanted something more secure, like a gate that mounts to the wall or stair rail. As renters, though, we didn't feel comfortable drilling a hole into the wooden bannister to ensure a more secure gate. So we researched a little and found the perfect solution.

First off, we purchased this safety gate for the top of the stairs. It's made to screw into a wall or bannister and the gate only swings one way (ie. into the hall, not out over the stairs). Perfect for the top of a staircase.

Then, we used this stairway gate installation kit to give us a place to screw in the gate instead of the bannister. David said it was a little tricky to get right and, to be honest, it felt a little expensive to buy, but we're really impressed with how strong it is (again, no "jail" time movement here!) and we feel a lot of relief about not messing up the bannister. In fact, we'll probably use this kit again in our future permanent home just so we don't have to permanently damage the bannister!

2. Let there be light.

Seeing is safety. Sounds pretty obvious, right? Dark corners are no one's friend, including mine or David's when we have to get up in the middle of the night for an emergency cup of soy milk for H. We've plugged in these LED nightlights (takes up less energy than a regular bulb and lasts for longer!) in various spots in our house. These nightlights are light sensitive, so they only work when we need them to. It's such a small thing, but they give so much peace of mind.

For darker spots, we use this this guide night light which casts a blue hazy glow for us to see down hallways. Again, LED and light sensitive, so they're super efficient.

3. Plug it up.

This is definitely an obvious one. Cover all empty electrical socket outlet plates with safety plugs.

4. Hide the cords.

I have this totally irrational fear of HDawg tripping over or getting tangled up in the various cords throughout our house, so David and I have been trying to devise ways to hide the pesky things. In our living room, we went with the "tuck and tape" approach for the lamp cords.


We simply taped the cord down the leg of the table (with masking tape, so fly, right?) and then tucked the cord underneath the rug. The cord then runs across the room, under the rug (you can see a little bump but it's nothing that bothers me and certainly not big enough to trip over), peeks up for about six inches on the other side of the rug and then plugs into the wall. Totally McGuiver of us, right? Ha, well, we think we're smart. Until HDawg finds the taped cord and rips it off. Maybe we'll switch to duct tape then.

5. Lock up the doors.

Another duh. If your kid can turn knobs, it's time to use these door knob covers. H has access to attic space from his bedroom. Of course, this tiny door looks like the ideal play spot for this tiny tot, so he's obsessed with trying to get in there. But we're content that he'll be safe and stay on this side of the creepy attic now that we've got the knob covers on. Now I just have to figure out how to open the door with this thing on there....

6. Corral the cabinets.

Oh, the dreaded cabinets. Some of them are obviously ok for H to play in- pots and pans, plastic cutting boards, the towel cabinet in the bathroom- but others- cleaning supplies, medicine drawers, etc- are not. Again, duh Michelle! Instead of having to drill into the cabinet with any kind of lock or lever (another renter tip!) we chose these cabinet locks. While they literally make me want to claw my eyes out as I'm trying to open the cabinet doors to get ready for work at 5:45 AM, I definitely feel better knowing that H can't get into them.

So there you have it, six few tips and ideas we've used around our house to keep our tot safe. Our next big step is to strap all of our major furniture pieces (TV, dressers, cabinets, etc.) to the walls so there's no chance of H pulling them down when he's out of our eye sight. Not that I let my child run around our house unsupervised. I mean, I would never, unless Real Housewives is on ever, unless I was enjoying a really great cup of coffee ever do that! Of course.
Do you have any other sage safety advice for us momma's out there to help us contain our wild child?!


  1. For my niece, my brother just gated off her room rather than the top of the stairs. Her door is never closed so in an emergency they can still get to her quickly! And for their cabinets they just used elastics- easy for mom and dad to get off but she couldnt figure it out. She is 2 now and pretty well "trained" to stay out of the cabinets, but they just dont put any dangerous in the lower ones just in case

  2. For locking cabinets, yes they took a bit to install...but we chose tot-locks which is a magnetized version. They are kind of hard to explain, but we first saw them in use at dr's offices....they work AMAZING and there's nothing showing on the outside of your door. With the magnet lock stored up & out of reach, there's no way for Elyse to figure out how to get into the cabinets!

  3. We still need to figure out cabinets too. In our old condo I actually needed them to keep the cat out of the cabinets so he couldn't get his food! Ha! But we have the cheap cabinets that you can't screw into. :( Whomp whomp. :( Oh! And my son squeezed his way into our lazy susan cabinets! Yeah... awesome. And we actually try hard not to keep them away from too many stairs, instead, teaching them how to properly and safely go up and down. My almost 1 year old is officially going up stairs so I'm trying to teach her how to slide back down them, too.

  4. Man, the lights and taping the cords are just great advice period!

  5. These are great tips and solutions! It's a real project trying to child proof your home and it's even harder when you're renting. We aren't the owners of our home either, so we're limited in the ways we get to child proof. We have a baby gate between Owen's room and the stairs (it's in the hallway) but we have no way to put gates up on our stairs without drilling into the wall. We have wood paneling on one side and a twisty wrought iron gate on the other side. It sucks.

  6. hello,

    great post ! one of the more eye-opening findings was that achieving peace of mind was seven times more important to respondents that accumulating wealth .

  7. I have 3.5 year old twins who were determined (even prior to walking) to get into every possible thing they could. We found the magnetic cabinet door locks to be the most effective, though not unbreakable, solution. They are $$$ and you have to drill hols inside cabinets (might not be good for a rental) but they can remain in the cabinet and be "unlocked" when you no longer need them. They have been effective against two very active and focused little people.

  8. Under cabinet lighting is no more a boring light bulb hanging above your worktop. One can easily find designer lights, that suit his/her kitchen's overall looks.


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