Ask the Moms: How Do You Make Your Home Safe?

We are (hopefully) days away from moving into our 1st (purchased… in 78 years) home! It’s also the first place where I will need to child proof. It has stairs and my little love is into everything! I believe in child proofing for obvious safety reasons, but at the same time I don’t want everything to be protected with duck tape. I want my child to learn what is acceptable and safe to play with, and what is not.

How do you child proof your home and make it safe?
Here are some things I can think of that I might need for the house.
  • Two gates for the stairs- or maybe just one? One at the top most definitely.
  • Cabinet locks
  • Blind holders (things to hold blinds in so they don’t dangle)
What am I missing?

Where do you keep household cleaners and medicine so it’s safe and out of reach?

I’ve briefly looked at a few options for different products. It seems like, as with everything, there are so many different brands and types. For example, look how many options they give you for baby gates at Babies R Us! I might as well close my eyes, spin around 3 times, point my finger at one and call it good.

I think I want one that mounts in the wall (?) so I don’t have to worry about it. It’s going to be there for a long while, I imagine. And one that is easy to open so I don’t have to step over it with a baby on my hip! Knee pedal, foot pedal, elbow pedal? Oh Lord I need to hire someone to do this stuff.

(Also accepting applications for house painter, chef and babysitter.)

I would love to hear from you, because after all, real moms know best!
What do you recommend for a baby gate? How do you make your home safe?

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

24 thoughts on “Ask the Moms: How Do You Make Your Home Safe?

  1. I like the hands free gates that have a foot pedal control. It makes it easy to open when you are carrying a little one as it is a hands free operation. We got them for a shower gift which was nice as they are $50 each!!

    The other things we have are –
    1.)child lock on our bathroom door 2.)knob covers for the stove
    3.)corner guards sharp tables

  2. weh avent really done anything. lauren didnt start walking until she was 18 months old, and by that time, she understood what she could and couldnt play with. we do have those plastic handles on the front door, because even when its locked, it still turns.
    my parents had the cupboard locks, but she broke those almost immediately.

  3. We have a lock on our refrigerator, less for safety and more so little fingers don't help themselves to whatever is in there and make a mess.

    I just keep cleaning products and medicine in the top cupboards. Sharp knives are in a locked drawer, the only one that's locked.

    For the most part he knows what he is allowed to touch, he also knows not to climb on furniture etc.

    People who come over are always surprised at how little we've babyproofed, but I prefer to actively teach boundaries for most things. Obviously stairs, sharp knives, electrical outlets and dangerous chemicals don't come under that!

  4. With Mia (my middle child) we didn't baby proof anything other than putting up a baby gate to block her from the kitchen. I kept a close eye and when she got into something she wasn't supposed to be I corrected her and showed her a place that was good for her to play. It rarely took more than two times. I have a feeling that my littlest one (who is not yet crawling) will need a whole lot more babyproofing.
    I think the amount you need to baby proof depends on each child's temperment. If your child seems to be into a lot of stuff then do more. At least start with the cupboard locks, and door knob things you already posted. Definatly a gate for the stairs and maybe a toilet lock if you leave the bathroom doors open. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy babyproofing and congrats on the new house!!!

  5. At the top of our stairs we have a built in gate- I really recommend that for the top of stairs, my daughter can move the adjustable ones. Look for something that isn't noisy too, my friend has a metal one that wakes her daughter up when it closes. Ours is wood with plastic hooks and is quiet.

  6. We have baby proofed alot of our house. If you have knobs on your doors, it's great to have covers for those. Def need baby gates. We have one for each of the bed rooms. Just depends on what you want. Maybe one for your kitchen if you don't proof the cabinets. Just keep the knives far back on the counter. My FAVE type of baby is this one I reviewed on my site here http://babeelove.com/2009/07/evenflo-simplestep-pressure-gate-review/. Every inexpensive & comes with an extra link for wider areas.
    Have fun & Congrats!

  7. I think the least amount of baby proofing you can do is better. You aren't getting a house for your baby, and you didn't have your baby to completely change your life, but to enhance it. We have the top left baby gate and it's 'okay'. I haven't used any others though. It works by pushing the button and then levering down the top bar thing. I have small hands, so maybe that's the issue, my husband never has a problem with it. The only time I seriously have a problem is when I'm trying to hold baby and something else at the same time. It's one handed operation, though. We don't use outlet covers or anything else. We redirect her and offer her other things to do and she might try repeatedly, hey, she's a baby, right? but she's only 14 months, so maybe someone with an older kid can say. Oh and you probably want a gate at the bottom, too, in case he learns to crawl UP the stairs but not down!

  8. We didn't baby proof as much with our first as we have with our boy. If your child gets into everything, I'd say two gates is a must, both wall mounted. Don't get the lattice kind, as kids can climb up those gates. I like gates by “The First Years” and have a foot pedal one and solid plastic one. I love them both.

    If your new home as closet or pantry doors that are bi-fold, I'd definitely get bi-fold door locks. We got ours from “One Step Ahead” online.

    Definitely drawer locks, knob covers for the doors, corner protectors. WE have our meds in a high cabinet and the cleaners under the sink locked up. The outlets are covered, the oven door needs to have a LOCK (unfortunately learned that one the HARD way), and maybe even the fridge.

    Everything for us is trial and error. Good luck. And congrats on the house!

  9. OMG, I never knew how much stuff I would have to baby proof–can you say EVERYTHING!! I had 2 babies in a row though (11 months apart) and they are a tag team… What one won't do, the other will. Before I had kids I had a different outlook… and some people's children can be redirected, mine don't respond to that, they are very intelligent and persistant!! So even if you point out something else, they go right back to where they just came from, no matter the circumstances!
    I have all the cabinet locks (worked great), outlet covers (babies love to stick fingers in, or plug things up), a lock on the bottom drawer of the stove because my daughter would try and sit in there & get the pans out, they never really bothered the fridge (until now she does at 3), put corner things on the fireplace so there was no cracked skulls, had to lock up the drawers too, and knives stay on top of the counter, never in a drawer, you will be surprised how much they can figure out!! REALLY! they also make stove guards, so they can't reach a pan (my controls are on the top). Also there are covers for the buttons on the tv (yep I had them too), And they will stand in any chair, on any box, any piece of furniture (I am afraid they will fall, so sometimes I have to take it out of the room), I keep the door knob covers on for every room, and I always keep the babies where I can see them unless they are in their cribs sleeping (still in cribs for safety!). I also had gates for all rooms without doors. You may not have to do all this…I didn't want to be the one screaming NO all the time, it enabled them to move through the house freely and touch anything and explore without getting hurt (or me getting upset, LOL). Since you only have one child so far, he may be one of those “easy” babies that doesn't require much baby proofing (a lot of times they will pick up on what the older one has done, or figure more out together). I didn't mean to offend or upset anyone, just telling my experiences. One time “Nana” left the room, my daughter climbed on a chair, got on the counter, got down the cake, and was sitting in the floor feeding it to her Bubby with a fork when she came back! She has also grabbed razors, scissors, and other things in a split second, thankfully I was right there to get it from her!!

  10. I definitely DO NOT recommend the gate pictured in the lower left of your post. I tried one and promptly took it back.

    We have some cabinet locks, and could probably stand to have a few more, as I'm tired of either taking away open packages of food or cleaning up the aforementioned food from the floor.

    I really don't think covers for the stove/oven are necessary, as your child would have to be alone long enough in the kitchen to mess around with them enough to do anything, and I agree with you- you can't and SHOULDN'T protect everything. They need to learn what to touch and what not to touch.

  11. Our boys are only 15 months apart and are extremely agile…climbing on everything,curious about everything etc. They are now 4years and almost 3 years.

    WE did do a bit with childproofing the door knobs although they figured those out pretty quick. The chemicals we put on top shelves or behind locked cabinets. We put the medicines in see through tubs on the top shelf and separated ours from theirs. The medicine cabinet was not safe for us as they could easily climb up on the sink from the toilet etc.

    The great thing is that you have the advantage of moving into a house and unpacking in a child friendly way. The easiest way to childproof I think, is just to take as many “no's” out of the equation as possible.

    As for the stairs we did very little with gates. We used them just a bit when they started first crawling, but made it a point to teach them right away how to crawl down the stairs (turn around backwards etc). That being said our stairs have always been a kind with the landing 1/2 way down and have been carpeted so not as dangerous as some. One area I was sure to keep them out of though was the kitchen when the stove was on etc. During cooking the kitchen got gated.

    Our biggest issue is that we tried to let natural consequences teach them boundaries…so if they are doing something where they may fall or get slightly hurt but no big deal (more or less a 2 year old trying to do something he shouldn't be able to do until he's 4), we would let them do it and thought they would learn as they made mistakes…but they are 3 and 4 now and we are STILL waiting for them to get their mild bumps and bruises from falling etc. My 4 year old started riding his bike without training wheels the day he turned 4 and would get himself going real fast, then put his feet up on the handlebars…I really don't know how I haven't just wrapped them in bubble wrap and put them in the basement where it's safe until they turn 18. But this is a perfect example of temperament like one other poster said. Some kids have this NEED for risk taking and if we protect them too much it's not good either…that's where you get the kids surfing on cars when they are teenagers rather then rock climbing or something more organized.

    I wouldn't go crazy with the childproofing right away or it may end up being a big waste of money and some good teaching opportunities missed. Gate off the stairs, put the breakables, chemicals, and medicines up high, and then see.

    Good luck!!

  12. Ooo I'm really interested in this post! We are in the process of baby proofing (it has proved to be a long process for us…we are doing it slowly here and there b/c Caleb can't crawl yet)

    I think those baby gates that swing open look cool, and seem more user friendly ๐Ÿ™‚

    We moved our bookshelves completely downstairs that were in our livingroom, pretty much anything that has a remote possibility of falling on Caleb is outta here and downstairs. Probably a little extreme…oh well though ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Like other commenters, we baby proof in response to our kids' behaviors, not as an overall precaution. We put outlet covers in when my first was a toddler because she was obsessed with them and very strong-willed, and it wasn't a chance I was willing to take.

    My girls have never shown even the slightest interest in our knife drawer, so it doesn't have a lock, but it would if one of them suddenly became overly curious.

    We don't do toilet locks, but we do put up a baby gate at nap when the 2yo is in her room by herself so that she doesn't have access to the toilet and tub.

    We keep cleaning supplies on the top of the shelf in our laundry room.

    We use a baby gate at the bottom of the steps only because they're never upstairs roaming without me at an age when we have to worry about the steps. I've never had a foot pedal one, but that would be SO handy. I agree with you about wall-mounted for the steps!

    One thing I am going to add is window locks upstairs. It's just been on my mind lately, so I'm going to go with my gut on it.

  14. Like a few others said, don't go overboard. Do a few basic things and then feel it out and see what he will do. I like the cabinet locks that do not require drilling into my cabinets. They hook around the knobs and I can take them off and bring them with me when I travel to ease the stress of being in someone's house that is not child proofed. I am big on teaching boundaries rather than letting my kid run wild. I don't think that totally baby proofing everything in sight teaches children how to act in other people's homes. If they learn from you that the stove or drawers in a No-no than they won't try at someone else's house. Your baby fits into your life, not the other way around.

  15. we had a gate like the one on the top right(i think). personally, i wasn't a fan of mounting it in the door frame. those “temporary” ones hold really good. easy to open when you're carrying a baby too!

    right now, we have one of the old school wood ones at the bottom of the stairs and it works great.

    not a fan of those cabinet locks, but they would work. we have the hook ones that loop over both knobs. won't work for drawers though.

  16. We use the “Evenflo Secure Step” baby gate from Baby's R US. It's lasted us through both boys. It's sturdy, attaches to the wall, and you can open it with just ONE HAND!

    JUST FYI, we just use my hair scrunchies (U know, from like early 90s ๐Ÿ™‚ to secure our kitchen cabinets. Only buy the cabinet locks for the one or two cabinets that contain chemicals/cleaners.

  17. Don't forget socket covers. We have a mounted metal gate at the bottom of our stairs which is very sturdy (great for our little monkey) and can easily be patched once it is no longer needed and taken down. We also have cabinet and drawer locks (the ones you have to drill and cannot see from looking at them) on kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers that contain items we don't want the little to get a hold of. And we keep our medication in the cabinets above the stove (so high I can barely reach it:)

    A friend gave us a really cool childproofing kit when my first was born (7 yrs ago) that had a little bit of everything in it and we are still using it. I guess some could go overboard with babyproofing but the main objective is keeping babies safe and I think it is better to be safe than sorry ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. The only baby proofing we've done (even with having two kids 13 months apart) is outlet plugs (both kids like to plug things in) and a baby gate outside Aidan's room for when he sleeps so he doesn't get up in the middle of the night and wander the house. Our gate is the cheap $10 one from WalMart similar to the bottom left one.

  19. I spent a bunch of money on this stuff and my daughter figured out how to break or use all of it within days…We don't have stairs, though. I do see the need for a gate and you are right to get something that mounts to the wall since you know you'll be in the kid stage for a long time.

    We keep cleaners on a high shelf above the washing machine and an upper cabinet in the kitchen. We try to keep everything she can get into above her reach.

    My philosophy is that I want her to explore, so I keep breakables, plants, cleaners, etc, where she can't get them. She's never been interested in the fireplace or outlets, so we haven't dealt with that. And sharp corners are a thing of life, unfortunately, so we pray and cross our fingers that she doesn't bash her face on them ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I would put gates at top and bottom of stairs… it's amazing how quickly they can make it up a few stairs! Outlet covers are a biggie in our house. We also try to keep things out of reach that we don't want them to touch… rather than saying “no no no no no” all day long. We say no enough… we just try to minimize the number of times we have to. A lot of this will be “learn as you go” – you won't realize you need something until Lucas finds it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. I didn't read through all the comments so I don't know if anyone said outlet covers? That's the first thing I bought.
    Can't wait to see pics of your new home! How exciting!

  22. On baby gates–the adjustable wooden ones (that stay up with tension, not screwed to the wall) are EVIL. Just my experience anyway. They are a pain to put up, a pain to take down, and they pinch little fingers and big fingers alike.
    We got a plastic one that can be tension mounted or screwed to the wall…we've opted for the former because we rent, but I quite like it. It's a solid gate (no getting arms/legs/heads stuck between the bars) and I like that too.

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