Step-by-Step Guide to Childproofing Your Home

Man helping his baby learn to walk

Thomas Barwick / Getty Images 

Once you bring your baby home, caring for them—and making sure they're protected—becomes an all-encompassing concern. Childproofing your home is important part of keeping your baby safe. This is especially key because accidents are the leading cause of injury and death for young children.

Fortunately, by using simple childproofing measures, such as cabinet locks, doorknob covers, and gates for stairs, along with supervision, you can prevent many accidents and tragedies. Learn the best ways to childproof your living space to keep your little one safe.

How to Childproof Your Home

Child Proofing 3 Toddler Exploring Kitchen
Child Proofing Home. tiburonstudios / Getty Images

While all accidents can't be avoided, doing your best to make your home safe will help to prevent many of them. There are many steps to follow in order to fully childproof your home, including the following:

  • Set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees F.
  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and near bedrooms.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas in your homes if you use gas or oil heat or have an attached garage.
  • Install covers on electrical outlets.
  • Place cushions on the corners of furniture.
  • Cut window blind cords or use safety tassels and inner cord stops to help prevent your child from strangling in window blind cord loops.
  • Secure furniture and large appliances to the wall, so that your kids can't tip them over if they climb on them
  • Check the floor regularly for small items and toys that younger children can choke on. This includes marbles, balls, uninflated or broken balloons, small magnets, small Lego pieces and other toys with small pieces.

Is your home childproofed?

Featured Childproofing Products

  • KidCo Electrical Safety Assortment Kit
  • Safety First Essentials Child-Proofing Kit
  • KidCo Electrical Safety Kit Assortment
  • Safety First Family Room Child-Proofing Kit
  • Safety First 46-Piece Home Solutions Family Room Child-Proofing Kit
  • Safety First Outlet Plugs
  • KidCo Anti-Tip Furniture Strap
  • KidCo Soft Jamb Door Stop - eliminates the removable rubber tips that kids can choke on

Securing Doors to Unsafe Rooms with Door Knob Covers

One of the first steps in childproofing your home involves making sure that your kids can't get out of the house and can't get into rooms that aren't childproofed.

Door knob covers make it hard for little hands to get a grip, turn, and open doors. They should be placed on all of the doors leading out of your home and on bathroom doors. It is also a good idea to place them on closet doors and on the doors of any other room that you don't want your child to get into.

Keep in mind that lever type door handles are much harder to childproof. Lever handle locks are available, but they can only be opened one-way, so are only really good for closets, etc.

Featured Childproofing Products

  • Safety First Secure Grip Door Knob Covers
  • Safety First Lever Handle Lock
  • Mommy’s Helper Lever-Lok

Cabinet Locks

Just as you don't want your child to open doors to get to unsafe areas, you don't want them to open bathroom or kitchen cabinets that may hold unsafe products.

To secure your cabinets, the big options are usually an interior latch that you screw into your cabinets or an external lock. Each has their drawbacks, with the big problem with internal latches being that they often stop working. The downside of an external lock is that you have to remember to put them back on each time you open your cabinets.

To be extra safe, you might use a 'layers of protection' childproofing method and install both.​

Featured Childproofing Products

  • Safety First Cabinet Flex-Lock (as pictured above)
  • KidCo Cabinet Lock
  • Safety First Cabinet Slide Lock
  • Another Safety First Cabinet Slide Lock

Internal Cabinet and Drawer Locks

An internal cabinet and drawer lock can be more difficult to install than an external lock, but you don't have to remember to reattach it each time that you open your cabinets and drawers.

Featured Childproofing Products

  • KidCo Finger Protector Cabinet & Drawer Locks
  • KidCo Adhesive Mount Cabinet/Drawer Lock
  • Kidco Swivel Cabinet & Drawer Lock
  • KidCo Drawer and Cabinet Lock

Stove Guard

Your stove can be a big hazard to your kids, who can get burned by food that is cooking on the stove or turn on the burners and get seriously burned.

In addition to using the back burners when cooking and turning handles away from the front of your stove, a stove guard can make your stove safe.

Similar to the stove guard, plastic guards can keep your kids away from electronics in your home, like your TV, VCR, or DVD player.

Featured Childproofing Products

  • Adjustable Stove Guard
  • TV Guard for Large Televisions - isn't it annoying when your kids turn the TV on and off while you are trying to watch your favorite show?
  • Parent Units VCR Guard
  • Safety First Power Strip Cover

Appliance Locking Strap

Appliances in your home pose their own safety hazards. In addition to opening the oven and getting burned, your kids might open the dishwasher and pull out a knife and get cut, or pull unsafe items out of the refrigerator.

An appliance latch or lock can help you to secure all of these kitchen appliances.

A toilet lid lock is also a good idea so that your kids can't open the toilet and drown.

Featured Childproofing Products

  • Safety First Safety 1st Oven Lock (as pictured above)
  • Parent Units Refrigerator Guard
  • Safety First Toilet Lock
  • KidCo Toilet Lock

Swing Stair Gate with Extensions

Securing the stairs in your home to prevent falls is another essential part of childproofing your home.

Gates should be installed on both the top and bottom of every staircase in your home.

Featured Childproofing Products

  • KidCo Configure Gate (like the one pictured above) - great for odd landings at the bottom of stairs
  • Evenflo Wide Spaces Swing Gate
  • One Step Ahead Wide Spaces Swing Gate
  • KidCo Safeway Baby Gate
  • Safety First Swing 'N Lock Gate

Adjustable Gate

In addition to keeping your kids off the stairs, baby gates can help to keep your kids from entering rooms through wide doorways.

An adjustable, portable mesh gate can also make it easy to set up a temporary barrier when you are visiting friends or family members that don't have a well-childproofed home.

Featured Childproofing Products

  • Evenflo Extra Wide Soft Gate
  • Kiddy Guard Gate from Regal Lager
  • Kiddyguard

Window Gates and Guards

Installing a window gate or guard is important to prevent falling through the windows. Remember that they should be strong enough to prevent a fall, but also meet the latest standards so that they can be easily opened in case of a fire.

A window guard can be a good idea even if you are on the first floor so that your child can't get out of the house through a low, open window.

You should not depend on a screen to keep your kids from falling out of a window.

Featured Childproofing Products

  • Guardian Angel Window Guard (as pictured above)
  • KidCo Window Wedge - prevents windows from being opened wide enough to allow falls
  • KidCo Window Safety Kit Assortment - an assortment of window wedges, blindwinders, and sliding window locks

Fireplace Gate

Many homes have fireplaces, and although it is nice to have a fire going on a cold night, it is important to keep your kids safe from the fire.

A fireplace gate is a great way to keep your kids out of your fireplace and at a safe distance when you have a fire going.

Remember to also keep your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected regularly, use a fireplace screen, and don't leave your kids unattended when a fire is burning.

Featured Childproofing Products

  • KidCo Hearth Gate
  • KidCo Hearth Gate 24" Extension
  • Hearth Kushion
  • Kid Kusion Fireplace Bumper Pad
  • Prince Lionheart Fireplace Guard Safety Item

A Word From Verywell

Parents want to keep their children safe, but the truth is that you can't avoid every accident. However, with some diligent childproofing, you can make your home as safe as possible. That said, the most important way to protect your child is to keep close supervision until they are at an age and maturity level when they can safely be left unattended.

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1.  National Vital Statistics System, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC. 10 Leading Causes of Death by Age Group, United States – 2017.

By Vincent Iannelli, MD
Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years.