Baby Proofing the House: Cost and Practical Tips
We rounded up the cost of baby proofing a house as well as practical tips on how to go about it. Read our guide for detailed information.
When babies begin to crawl, it’s usually an amazingly wonderful feeling for any parent. It’s a major milestone achievement for a baby. The very first time a baby actually crawls, most parents get excited, and you will probably see them running around with a camera trying to capture every moment.
But, crawling comes with a set of its problems. When babies begin to crawl, they start noticing their surroundings. At this stage, they are curious and want to explore and discover everything around them. Sadly, this discovery stage can be disastrous and can actually lead to fatal accidents.
A recent report online shows that every year, almost a million children are rushed to hospital after having accidents at home. As a parent, it’s your duty to take care of your child’s needs such as clothing, food, health, and cleanness. However, to be able to do this, you need to ensure that your toddler is safe always. Safety should always come first.
You have to make sure that your house is conducive to your baby. Baby proofing your house will help your toddler go through the discovery stage without any harm. In fact, most parents will worry about their children’s safety and would want to protect them from strangers, violence or even abduction. But most people forget that the main threat to their children’s safety could actually be looming inside their homes.
A study by the U.S disease control and Prevention revealed that every year, almost 2.3 million children get injured accidentally and that more 2500 children die due home accidents. These numbers are a clear indication that baby proofing your home is extremely important.
It is not humanly possible to always keep an eye on your child every second. Sometimes they can wander off just for three seconds, and that’s enough time for something terrible to happen. Before you get children, your home will be designed in such a way that its adult-friendly. There is nothing wrong with this kind of set up. However, when you bring a baby into your home, anything within their reach could potentially harm them.
Baby proofing a house is an initiative that involves taking safety measures to secure your home and make it a safe place for a toddler. Before a baby begins to crawl, you need to identify potential risks that could cause harm to your baby. You can remove the risk factors, or prevent. This way, you will create an environment safe enough for children. In short, baby proofing is a process of creating a baby-friendly house.
Naturally, children are curious. They are constantly discovering new things around them and at the same time exploring as they grow. Once a baby begins to crawl, which happens at around eight months, they automatically become mobile. This means that they can move from one point to another and access things that are within their reach. As this stage progresses, they begin to pull up on items such furniture as they to try to stand up. This is the stage that opens up a whole new world for them. A world of possibilities, learning, exploring and discovering.
Sadly, they cannot differentiate things that are safe for them from the ones that are potentially harmful to them. At this stage, you have to pay attention to the safety of your home. You have to limit the things that your can child access. However, baby proofing does not mean you take away everything. Nope. It is important to embrace your child’s developmental stage and guide them to safety. Allow them to explore and discover, but baby proof your home to make it safe for them crawl, walk and eventually run around.
Baby proofing your home comes with a lot of benefits for your baby.
Safe for Your Baby
This is one most obvious benefits of baby proofing your home. It keeps your children safe and protects them from potential harm. As an adult, your home environment may appear safe to you. You know where to step, what not to touch, what can cause you harm and things that are safe and the ones that are risky. As a result, it’s easier for you to walk around your home and not get hurt or accidentally slip something poisonous into your mouth.
Babies, on the other hand, are innocent and inexperienced. They do not have experience of things that can potentially harm them like an adult. It gets more complicated with their curiosity and their discovery nature. They will want to move around, discover their environment and learn things. As you try your best to keep a watchful eye on your child, baby proofing your home can help you keep your baby safe and give you some peace of mind.
The safety of your baby should be your utmost priority. Baby proofing your home will ensure that your child is safe as they maneuver their way around the house. This means that, if your home is baby-proofed, most of the items that could cause harm have been removed, or they have been baby-proofed such that they cannot harm the baby.
Baby proofing your house reduces the risk of injury to your baby. It’s worth noting that most injuries for children under the age of five years happen at home. Making sure that your home is safe for your children should be a conscious decision. Baby proofing your home keeps your child safe from potential dangers. It means that you have taken action to secure your home to make it safe for your children.
It Gives You, As Parent or Guardian, Peace of Mind
If you have a toddler in your house, you will soon realize that they can be quite a handful. They are always mobile, moving from one place to another, touching everything within their reach and worst of all, slipping all sorts of stuff in their mouth. Watching over your child can be a full-time job and quite hectic for most people especially first-time parents.
You will constantly keep worrying about your child, running after them and putting things away from their reach. All this can become overwhelming to you as a caregiver or parent. Baby proofing your home will sort out most of these safety concerns around your child. In fact, it will give you peace of mind and presumably help you relax around your child.
As mentioned before, it’s not possible to watch over your child every second. It’s true that as a parent, you are supposed to be extra watchful. But given the playful nature of children under five years, it’s possible that sometimes they can wander off and get out of your sight. If this, happens, you do not need to freak out and imagine all sorts accidents happening to them.
When you baby proof your house, you will be more at peace knowing that your baby can walk in any part of your house safely. You do not need to keep on running after them or restricting their movement for fear of getting injured or accidentally slipping something harmful into their mouths.
Saves You Money
You heard right! Baby proofing your house can actually save you money. Babies are extremely active and now and then they will break and destroy precious items in your home. If that expensive flower vase is within their reach, they will definitely break it as they try to lay their tiny hands on it.
If you baby-proof your house, you will manage to prevent these kinds of losses. You won’t find yourself spending money to replace broken or destroyed items in your home. Neither will you lose your cool every time your baby goes near something that can easily be broken or damaged.
Protects Your Valuables and Belongings
In addition to saving your money, you will also be protecting your valuables and belongings. Baby and young children do not understand that something is delicate, fragile or valuable. If they land their hands on your treasured photo frame, or an expensive ornament, there is a possibility that it will be broken into pieces.
Or, if they get close to your bookshelf, they might end up tearing pages of your valuable books. All these damages will be done innocently, and the baby will not even be aware of the damages they have left behind. Additionally, broken pieces on the floor pose a danger to your baby.
Baby proofing your home will protect your valuables and belongings. You will not have to get upset every time your baby breaks or destroys something. This is because, by baby proofing your home you have kept anything that is valuable or easy to break out of their reach. Your belongings will be spared, and your baby will be safe as well.
Reduce Messy Situation
As mentioned at the start of this guide, babies and young children are at the development stage where curiosity is their way of discovering the world around them. They are also extremely mobile. If left to wander off in the house, your baby can create an unimaginable mess. For example, if your kitchen cabinets do not have locks or are not baby-proofed, your baby can fill your kitchen floor with pans, pots, stored food items, soaps, etc.
Or, if your baby gets hold of liquid cleaning detergent, they might pour it all over or even worse, drink it. If you have not baby-proofed your home, you might end up spending most of your time cleaning messes all over your house and getting upset because of the messy situation. Baby-proofing will protect you from the kinds of situation. More so, you will not have to restrict your child’s movement around the house because you are scared they will make a mess.
Baby proofing your home does not mean you will not be watching over your child. Neither does it mean that you will not teach your baby safety rules. Baby proofing your house are techniques that will keep your baby safe during that particular period when they are discovering stuff around. It’s a way of protecting your child from harm’s way as they learn and discover things that could be dangerous to them and how to be safe.
Baby proofing your home is not only a good move for your child but also for you. When you baby-proof your home, you make it baby friendly. This means that your child can move around the house freely and safely. They can explore, discover, be curious and grow. They will be able to play and crawl in areas that would have otherwise been unsafe for them.
On the hand, you will have peace of mind knowing that your baby is safe most of the time. Most importantly, you will be able to give your baby freedom to move around.
Areas in Your House That Will Require Babyproofing
It’s an exciting and an overwhelming feeling for any parent when their baby starts to crawl or walk. This means that your baby is now officially mobile and achieving their major milestones. But, this stage in your baby’s life opens a whole new to them which is full of dangers and risks.
It’s your duty as a parent or guardian to make sure your baby is safe while around the house. This means that you have to identify potential areas and items that could end up being a danger to your child. An inspection around your house will determine what is safe and what is potentially dangerous to your child.
In fact, child proofing experts advise that you should put yourself in your child’s position. This means that you get down on your knees (yes! It may feel awkward, but it’s for baby’s safety) to match your baby’s height and go through your home identifying anything or places that could potentially injure your baby.
At this position, you will get a better view of your home’s surroundings, and you will be able to see every corner of your room. You will be amazed at how many items and places that could be dangerous to your child. Make sure that you move from one room to another in the same position to keep looking for potentially dangerous areas and items. This includes the stairs, the landing, and halls.
As you walk around, ask yourself if what you see is safe for your baby. Is it within their reach? Make sure that you note down areas and items that you perceive they will be a danger to your baby.
Here are some of the areas in your house that will require baby proofing.
The Fire Place
A fireplace is a cozy place that keeps us warm and relaxed in our homes. Unfortunately, its one of the area in our house that has so many hazards surrounding it. The sharp edges of the stony or wood hearth pose a danger to babies. They can easily trip and fall and injure themselves on the sharp edges of the hearth. It would be essential to add a soft pad along the edges to prevent severe injuries.
Some artificial fireplaces have small rocks that can be a choking hazard to your baby if they got hold of them. If yours has these kinds of stones, it would be advisable to get rid of them. Kids also trip and fall in the blazing fires. To avoid such a disaster from happening, you should consider installing heat-resistant gates that will be used when the flames are burning. Also, make sure that the gates stay locked even when the fireplace is not in use.
Windows serve an important function in our home. They provide ventilation by allowing free flow of air. However, when it comes to babies, open windows are potentially dangerous. It is possible for a child to fall out of an open window that has no screens that offer protection. A child can fit in a window space that is more than four inches.
To avoid this kind of an accident, it’s advisable that you open window less than three inches always. For more protection, it would be a good idea to install window guards especially if your windows are low or you have a window seat.
You can also choose to baby proof the windows with a less costly option by installing a window-shopping device that is usually attached to the inside of the window frame. This device will stop the window from opening more than four inches. If you have casement windows, it would be safe to remove the crank and store it in a safe place where you can easily access it when needed.
Window Blinds and Shades
Corded window shades pose a danger of strangulation to babies and young children. In fact, Window Covering Safety Council give out a warning concerning the dangers associated with corded window blinds and shades. It is possible for a child to have their neck caught in the looped cord of corded window blinds and get strangled.
As a result of this kind of danger, the WCSC recommended the following safety precautions for parents with babies and young children.
Do not place furniture or any climbable item close to windows. Move anything that can be used by a child to climb up to the window.
If your windows have cords, make sure that they are not within reach for children and babies. Put the cords away where the children can’t reach them.
If possible, its best to consider installing new cordless window coverings to eliminate the dangers of corded blinds altogether.
You can also eliminate the corded blind hazard by cutting off the loop and use free tassels. Or, you consider adjusting tasseled pull cords to a very short length such that a child cannot access it.
Ensure that you tighten the continuous-loop pull cords installed on drapes and blinds to make them tight and then anchor them using a tension device.
To limit the extent of movement of the inner cords that are usually on blinds and shades, you should consider installing cord stops and adjust them.
Bookshelves are a potential catastrophe in our homes. In fact, there have been many reported cases of toddlers who have been crushed to death by a falling bookshelf. Naturally, children are curious. If they see something that interests them on top of the bookshelf, they will try climbing it to reach to the item.
Sadly, if the bookshelf is not secured to the wall, it will come crashing down on your toddler. Chances of surviving such a horrific ordeal are minimal. The weight of the bookshelf itself when empty is enough to cause serious injuries.
To avoid being a statistic, it is best to attach straps to the back of a bookshelf or any other heavy furniture and secure it to the wall.
Since they will still try climbing up the bookshelf, it’s recommended that you place your heaviest books and other items on the bottom shelves. This way even if they try climbing up, nothing will hurt them.
The television can actually be ranked as the number one danger in our living rooms. As mentioned above, toddlers love climbing on anything that interests them. The television being the center of attraction in most living rooms becomes the fascinating spot for toddlers. Your toddler may pull the TV down as they try to climb and sadly, it will come crashing on top of them.
You could try purchasing straps and attach them to the back of the TV and secure it on the wall. Or, for a safer alternative, it’s best to mount the flat –screen TV models to the wall. This way your toddler will be safer, and there will be no risk of the TV falling on them.
Exposed Power Strips
When babies are crawling, they can get access to just anything around the house including the power strip. If a power strip is exposed and within their reach, a baby can easily unplug the cord and try to insert metal objects inside. This can easily lead to electrocution and death.
To baby proof your power strip, hide them behind furniture. If it’s not possible to hide power strips, you should invest in power-strip covers.
Glass Coffee Tables
Glass coffee tables look elegant in our living rooms. However, the table edges can cause serious injuries to a baby who is crawling and trying to hold on to the table and furniture to stand up. If your toddler is learning to walk, they can easily cut their forehead or injure the area around their eye when trying to maneuver their way around.
If your glass table is non-tempered, meaning it shatters easily when broken, then you should consider putting it away in rooms that your baby cannot easily access. To be on the safe side, it would be better if you invested in a coffee table with a tempered–glass top. You can then cushion the edges of the table with soft pads.
The kitchen is full of dangers, and so, it should always stay off limit to your toddlers as much possible. However, it’s still good to make sure that it’s baby proofed to be safe. The kitchen lower cabinets are easily accessible to children. In most homes, the lower cabinets its where you will find items like cleaning products, such as dishwasher detergent, drain openers, furniture polish, etc. All these products are toxic, and the can lead to devastating effects if your child accidentally sipped them.
To secure your kitchen cabinets, you can either install magnetic locks on them or traditional latches. Also, use a childproof locked box to store any toxic products, or you can opt to store these products in a higher place that’s out of reach for children.
Lock Your Dishwasher
The chances of your child ingesting dishwasher detergent are very high. Always run your dishwasher immediately you add detergent. Don’t leave your dishes in the machine for a long time. Also, when using the dishwasher, make sure you place knives with blades pointing down.
Most models of dishwashers nowadays have lock settings as a safety feature, so, check if your appliance has this kind of lock system. If it doesn’t, you should consider installing an appliance lock that will fit your dishwasher machine.
Microwaves should always be out of reach for toddlers. Mounting your microwave up as high as possible is the safest approach. If your microwave sits on the kitchen counter, do not leave it on if your child is in the kitchen. More so, don’t leave hot food inside the microwave when your child is in the kitchen. Always turn off your microwave off before you leave the kitchen.
Remove Stove Knobs
If your toddler gets hold of the stove knobs, they can easily turn them on which can lead to a disaster. When cooking on the stove with your toddler around, it’s advisable that you pull off the stove knobs. Alternatively, you make use of stove guard (metal or plastic shield) which is normally attached to the front of the stove making it impossible for a toddler to access the stove knobs.
Stove guards are safer to use as compared to knob covers. When cooking, it’s recommended that you use the back burners to reduce the chances of a toddler pulling or accessing the cooking pots or even the flame.
Toddlers can easily open ovens. If the oven is hot, your baby is likely to suffer serious injuries. In addition, if your child manages to open the oven door, they could easily hit their head on the oven door and suffer injuries. Something as a simple as a dish towel hanging from the handle of the oven can attract your toddler, and they will attempt to pull on it.
To baby proof your oven, you can check your oven settings to see if there is a way you can lock the oven. If lock settings are lacking, the other safe alternative is to install an oven latch on the oven door. You can also restrict your child’s movement to the kitchen by installing a baby gate across the kitchen entrance.
A recent study by children experts shows that most toddlers can access the kitchen counter. This means that they can easily reach to kitchen appliances sitting on the counter. They can pull some of these dangerous and heavy appliances which could end up falling on them, injuring them or even worn worse, burning them.
To be safe, always make sure the cords of your kitchen appliances placed on the counter are not sticking out and that they are out of reach for children. Imagine your toddler pulling on the cord of your coffee maker that has hot coffee in it. This can be very dangerous to your child as they risk getting burnt by hot liquids.
As mentioned before, if you have a toddler in your home, one of the safest ways of baby proofing your house is installing a baby gate across the entrance of your kitchen. In addition, you should not leave a stool or anything that can aid your child to climb on the kitchen counter.
The refrigerator is another kitchen appliance that is likely to capture your child’s attention. You should consider installing a latch on your refrigerator if your toddler can pull it open on their own. More so, make sure you know the contents of your fridge.
Always make sure that anything that can be a choking hazard to your child or poisonous is kept on the top shelves of your fridge where your child cannot reach. This includes foodstuff like grapes, a poisonous medication that has to be refrigerated and wine bottles that are easily broken.
When it comes to your bathroom, there are potentially many things that can be dangerous. The tub faucet is one them. Your toddler can wander off into the bathroom and accidentally turn on the hot water and end up with serious burns.
To protect your child from bangs and bruises by the tub faucets, you should consider covering the faucets with rubber spout covers. Also, if you can adjust the temperature settings of your water heater, you should always set it at 120 F.
If you are not in a position to adjust the temperature settings of your water heater, especially if you live in an apartment building, you should consider installing an anti-scald device on your tub faucets. This type of a baby proofing device is designed to stop the flow of water once it hits dangerous temperatures.
According to recent studies, doors have been reported to be the cause of amputations in children below five years which involves fingers and thumbs. It is possible for you to end up rushing your toddler to the emergency room with a bleeding finger after a door slams on it. A simple game of running around the house could end up with a serious injury by the doors.
To baby proof your house, you should consider installing door stoppers that are designed to keep the doors from shutting. Alternatively, you can drape a heavy cloth or towel over your door to prevent the door from shutting.
The toilet is one the places where your child can easily stick their head inside, and fall over. As a result, they will not be able to get up, and they might easily end up drowning. A report by child’s experts shows that drowning cases are very common in children of ages between one and four years which lead to unintentional injuries and deaths.
To avoid your child from becoming a statistic of drowning incidences, you should always ensure that your toilet seat lid is always down. In addition, install a latch to secure the toilet and remind everyone in the house including visitors to use the latch.
Cost of Baby Proofing Your House
When you are planning on baby proofing your house, some factors will ultimately determine the amount you will spend on this project. Whatever amount you spend on baby proofing your house will be worth even penny. Every year, there are reported cases of 76,000 children of ages between 0-14 years admitted to hospitals as a result of unintentional accidents at home. Out of that number, 40% of the children are below five years.
The numbers above are an indication that you need to invest in baby proofing techniques to secure your home and make it safe for your children. We have already discussed the important areas that should take priority when baby proofing. The cost of baby proofing your house will vary greatly from one house to another.
If you choose a baby proofing professional service, expect to spend an average cost of $1270. Most homeowners spend about $300 to $1500 on professional baby proofing services. However, you should note that this cost can vary tremendously depending on various factors such the size of your house, the age of your children, the number, and type of furnishings in your house.
If you choose to DIY, you will only spend on materials and the cost will be lower. A baby proofing professional will charge you a flat fee of about $35 to $75, or an hourly rate of about $48 to $90 on consultation and evaluation of your house. After this, they will inspect your house and pinpoint out the areas that will require baby proofing.
While it’s recommended that you involve a baby proofing professional, most baby proofing products are actually user-friendly, and you can easily install them by yourself. You can lower the cost of baby proofing your home by installing most of the safety products through DIY. For an average home, expect to spend about $450 on DIY baby proofing. This is mainly the cost purchasing baby proofing items.
Average Cost of Baby Proofing Requirements
|Baby proofing requirement||Description||Average cost|
|Safety gates||This involves installing pressure –release or mounted gate. |
Cost of the gate
Extra tall gates
|Banister guards- these are designed to protect a child by preventing them from getting stuck in between the banisters. They can either be plastic or Plexiglas||$20-$55|
|Electrical baby proofing||They include outlet covers, cord covers, plug covers, strip covers, and cord shorteners. They help protect your baby from getting electrocuted. They are baby proofing devices that are necessary for you especially if you have a toddler.||$2.50-$15 per item|
|Safety latches and locks||They are used on cabinets, drawers, refrigerators, and bathroom. Make sure that you purchase locks that are strong enough to withstand constant use. They should be easy to install and use.|
Magnetic locks or loop locks
$3-$6 per item
$5-$10 per item
|Bathroom baby proofing items||This include:|
Upgraded new spout covers which have digital thermometers
Toilet locks used to prevent your child from accidental drowning
|Furniture and television straps||Used for securing, television-heavy furniture pieces such a bookshelf and dressers, to the wall to prevent them from toppling over onto a child.||$6-$30 per item|
|Blinds cord wraps||They are used to prevent children from accidentally choking on hanging cords||$3-$6 per pair|
|Door stops and holders||They prevent doors from shutting suddenly thus protecting your baby’s fingers from getting slammed.||$7-$15|
|Corner bumpers||They are installed at shard corners and on edges of furniture and fireplaces. They prevent injuries to a baby as they maneuver their way around the house.||$10-$20|
|Stove guards and knob covers||Attached to the front of the stove to make it impossible for a toddler to access the stove knobs.|
Knob covers- 5pc set
Professional Costs for Baby-Proofing a House
|Baby proofing services||Average cost|
|Baby proofing a two bedroom house, or an apartment house||$300-$600|
|Baby proofing a two story house||$600-$1500|
Baby Proofing Tips
✓ When hiring professional baby proofing services, make sure that they include all areas that they will cover and baby proof. Before they give you a quote, a baby proofing professional should evaluate your house and identify areas that require baby proofing.
✓ The National Safety Council should be of great help to you if you are planning on baby proofing your house. It provides guidelines and tips on how to baby proof, how to prevent accidents such as falls, drowning, burns, suffocation and choking. It would help you a great deal if you consulted with them before baby-proofing your home. This way you will know what to do and how to do it.
✓ If you are looking for professional baby proofing services, you can check with the International Association for Child Safety for a recommendation. Alternatively, you can look up for these services on the Bay Proofing directory. In fact, the Baby Proofing directory has guidelines on how to baby proof your entire house- from one room to another. It would be resourceful if you looked at their tips on baby proofing.
✓ Before hiring baby proofing service professional, you should call them and schedule an interview. During the interview ask for references, insurance, and license details. Make sure that you call the references and ask details about the professional and the quality of their babyproofing services. It will be an added advantage if the International Association for Child Safety has certified the baby proofing company.
Baby proofing your house does not mean that your parenting skills are questionable. In fact, it’s a brave step when you take your baby’s safety into your hands and implement safety measures to ensure that your baby is secure and safe from risks.
Baby proofing your house is a process of identifying potential hazards in your home and addressing them. Repots have shown that a big percentage of injuries in young children especially under the age of five years are as a result of accidental injuries at home. Most of these accidents and injuries are preventable through steps that make your home baby friendly.
Generally, baby proofing your house focuses on areas that are likely to cause harm to crawling toddler. Baby proofing techniques include using locks and latches to secure cabinets and drawers, safety gates, edge cushions, furniture and television straps and many others. If you are not sure on the right areas to baby proof, you can always consult professional baby proofing services.
As a parent or guardian, your child’s security lays in your hands. You should make an informed decision to secure your home and allow your child to explore and discover their surrounding without fear of injuries.