Welcoming a new baby into your household requires a lot of preparation — perhaps none so important as properly baby-proofing your house. Babies are incredibly vulnerable human beings, so it’s your job as their parent to keep them safe from every possible danger.

But, where do you even start preparing a home for a new baby? What do you need to do? Is there a baby-proofing checklist you can turn to?

Don’t worry — we’ve provided a breakdown of the basics you should know about baby-proofing here. By reading this article, you can take the first steps to providing a safe and welcoming environment for your child, whatever age they may be.

Why You Should Baby-Proof Your House as Early as Possible

When you’re expecting a baby, there’s a lot on your mind. You know you will have to baby-proof your home to keep your child safe, but because your baby won’t be moving on their own anytime soon, you may think you can wait until that time to look for baby-proofing ideas.

However, this kind of thought process is dangerous for your baby. No one can say exactly when a baby will start crawling, walking and climbing — which means you don’t want to wait too long to baby-proof your home and risk injury to your son or daughter. As you’re completing your to-do list for first bringing your baby home, make baby-proofing an important step to include.

When done properly, baby-proofing your home can be completed in one weekend. Although you will need to update your safety measures as your child grows up, having the basics in place will give you peace of mind. After all, trying to baby-proof your home once your baby is moving will be much more stressful.

As you put together your checklist of things to buy for your new baby, make sure to include baby-proofing supplies, as well.

How to Baby Proof a House

Oftentimes, when parents are preparing for their new arrival, they turn to a baby-proofing checklist or baby-proofing kit to make sure all necessary steps are taken. Of course, because everyone’s house is different, you’ll need to think about what additional safety measures are needed in your home as you consult your “baby-proofing your home” checklist.

However, there a few general things you’ll want to watch out for as you’re preparing your house for your baby:

General Safety Tips

Safety guidelines that apply to you will also apply to your baby. If you’ve been putting off important safety measures, now is the time to complete them.

Make sure all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working. If you don’t have any, buy some. Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, and make sure that all hazardous substances, paint and medicine are stored in airtight containers on high shelves. Set your hot water heater below 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid scalding your baby.

When you’re safety-proofing your home for your baby, starting with these general safety measures won’t just keep your son or daughter safe — they’ll keep you safe, too.

Outlets

Babies are curious creatures, which means they will start investigating their surroundings as soon as they are born. They do with their five senses, including their sense of touch — leading to little fingers grabbing all sorts of things.

All houses with small children will need outlet covers to prevent a child from being electrocuted. Just as important as installing these outlet covers is making sure to replace them after you have used an outlet. Make sure your outlet covers fit snug when you first install them.

Cabinets

While your baby will not be moving independently right away, they will before you know it. When that time comes, they will start opening your lower cabinets and drawers. Even though you will have safety latches on all of your cabinets, you’ll also want to move any dangerous materials (like cleaners, plastic bags and anything sharp) to higher cabinets to protect your child. Safe things to put in bottom cabinets include pots and pans (as long as they are secure), plastic containers and paper products. The same rule applies to bathroom cabinets.

As you are baby-proofing your kitchen cabinets, make sure to get stove-knob covers to keep your baby from turning on the burners, to place choking hazards high out of reach, and to always unplug small appliances when not in use.

Sharp Corners

Babies are not the most graceful of beings, which is why falls and collisions with furniture are fairly common. Therefore, you’ll want to cover all sharp edges with cushioned corner guards or edges. Apply these to coffee and side tables, fireplace hearths and any other sharp-cornered edges.

Falling Hazards

Babies like to grab, so make sure anything dangerous is out of their reach. Anything resting on furniture (like TVs) should be attached securely so a baby cannot pull them down. You’ll also want to use heavy-weight picture hooks to prevent your pictures from falling off the wall onto your baby.

Cords

While you will want to unplug any small appliances that could serve an electrocution risk, it’s also important to hide the cords when they are not in use. Cords can quickly become wrapped around a child and pose a choking hazard, so make sure you secure any cords within a baby’s reach with electrical tape.

Similarly, you should use cordless blinds in every room. Corded blinds hold a very high risk of suffocation for curious children.

Doors

All doors should have finger-pinch guards for the hinges, to avoid little fingers being damaged by sudden closings. In addition, any doors leading to rooms you want children to stay out of should be locked every time you leave them. You could also install baby gates for any doorknobs that don’t have locks.

Toilets and Bathtubs

No matter how many safety measures you employ as you baby-proof your bathroom, remember that children should never be left alone in this room. Babies can drown in as little as two inches of water, so they should always be supervised to prevent any sort of disaster. On the same note, you will want to install baby locks on your toilet to prevent your child accidentally falling in.

Make sure to also remove dangerous items from the bathroom countertop and store any medications high out of reach.

Baby-proofing your home can seem overwhelming on top of everything else you are doing to prepare for your baby, but with a proper baby-proofing checklist and plenty of time, it can be done. Don’t be afraid to recruit friends and family for advice and assistance installing safety measures. Remember, it will all be worth it when you finish baby-proofing your home long before your baby can actively get themselves into trouble around the house.