Parenting a toddler is full of challenges, some of which may feel quite different from the ones you experienced when your child was a newborn or infant. One of these is likely the task of toddler-proofing your home. It's vital to make sure your home environment is safe and secure because your child is now mobile, curious, and ready to explore.
So, how do you keep your home safe for your little explorer? Here are some tips for areas and items in your home that need toddler-proofing.
Outlets and Cords
Outlet covers or caps will protect your child from electrical shocks. They can be easily found online or in stores. But you'll also want to make sure cords are kept out of your baby's way — just loop them and secure them with a tie. It's also easy to use heavy-duty tape to secure cords to the floor. Blocking both cords and outlets with furniture is another easy option.
You'll definitely want to make sure your child can't access cleaning products or any other chemicals you may have in your home. Cabinet locks (available at most stores where they sell baby and kids' products) are an option, as is simply keeping things in high or out-of-the-way areas. You can also order a sheet of Mr. Yuk stickers to place on hazardous products. These stickers feature a grimacing face to warn kids that an item is not safe to consume or play with, along with a national, toll-free poison control phone number to call in case of an emergency.
You don't have to worry much about items like chairs and couches, but you'll want to make sure to toddler-proof big, heavy items that a child could pull over. These include dressers, bookshelves, sideboards, and more. These should be secured to the wall using wall mounts or straps. It's especially important to ensure that the furniture in your child's room or playroom is secured in this way.
Doors, Stairs, and Windows
You can always get yourself a good old-fashioned baby gate to block access to doors, stairs, or other areas of your home that are unsafe for a toddler. Window locks and guards are also useful, especially if you have low windows or sliding glass doors.
Dangerous and Breakable Items
Make sure dangerous items — like knives, scissors, and other tools — are kept far out of your toddler's reach or in locked containers. Some parents also like to put away breakable items like vases or figurines while children are small and learning what they can and cannot touch. Others will also put padding or softening materials on hard surfaces of the home. This can prevent injuries to unsteady new walkers.
Some parents like to toddler-proof during pregnancy or while the baby is still a newborn. This approach ensures you won't be scrambling to cover the outlets once you have a crawler or walker, but it may be too early for others. Another option is to give your child a "yes space" in the home: a designated area where everything is safe and appropriate for your child to touch. It may be the corner of a room or even an entire room — it's up to you.
Toddler-proofing can be a hassle, but the peace of mind you'll get from knowing your child is safe in your home will be worth the effort.