If you’re expecting a baby, (or have a ‘recent arrival’ at your home) you are going to want to think about childproofing. The good news is that babies don’t move around much in the beginning. So, if you’re home isn’t 100% ready when you’re little one arrives, it’s not the end of the world

Having said that, it’s a good idea to get as much done as possible ahead of time. If there is one thing that is almost universally true, it’s that parents with babies and young children hardly have any free time. So, fitting in projects like childproofing gets a lot harder after your baby arrives.

Making The Kitchen Safe

People tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s also one of the most hazard filled rooms in the house. That combination makes it a pretty high priority when it comes to childproofing.

For starters, you should get latches for any cabinets or drawers that contain dangerous chemicals (dishwasher detergent for example) or sharp objects. In addition, you should make sure that any small appliances are out of reach.

The stove and oven can be fairly hazardous as well. Some parents get stove guards to prevent young children from turning the knobs. This probably won’t be an issue for a year or so, but it’s good to get out in front of it.

Bathroom Safety

The bathroom can be a dangerous room since there is so much water around. Young children can drown in very shallow water, and it can happen very quickly. So, you should never leave a baby or toddler alone for even a minute if there is water in the tub.

On a similar note, it’s a good practice to keep the toilet lid shut whenever it’s not in use since it can be a drowning hazard. To take things a step further, you might even get a safety guard for the toilet.  Be sure to keep all electronics out of reach. This way, your little one won’t be able to pull them into the water, which would be an electrocution risk.

Much like in the kitchen, you will want to get latches for any cabinets or drawers that contain cleaning supplies or other dangerous chemicals.

Inside The House

There are several things that you will run into throughout the house that can be dangerous for babies and toddlers. Windows, stairs, furniture, and outlets are at the top of the list.

For windows, you will want to make sure that they cannot be opened more than a few inches. That way, your little one won’t be able to open them and fall out. You should also be careful about any cords that hang down from the curtains, since these can be a strangulation hazard. Be extra careful with curtain cords or baby monitor cords around your little one’s crib. Essentially, you want to make sure that none of these are within reach for someone in the crib.

If you have stairs in your home, you will want to put up baby gates. Place these both at the top and bottom of the staircase to prevent your little one from taking a tumble.

You will want to cover the corners of furniture with bumpers. As you child starts crawling and then walking, they will be a little unstable for a while. So, you don’t want them to fall and hit their head on a sharp edge. It’s also a good idea to secure any furniture to the wall if there is a chance it could tip over. Babies and toddlers love climbing on things, and they don’t always realize that by climbing on furniture, they might accidentally tip it over.

Outlets can be an electrocution risk. So, you’ll want to put outlet cover on any outlets that aren’t in use. This is particularly important in rooms where your little one spends a lot of time.

Time For A Walkthrough (Or A Crawl)

Once you think that you’re done, and your house is as safe as can be, take a walk through. Better yet, do a little crawling in the house, so you will be seeing things from a baby’s perspective. This is the best way to spot potential risk areas that you might have overlooked the first time.

Even when you’re finished, it’s important to continue to be mindful of risks throughout your child’s early years. After all, you might get a new piece of furniture or a new appliance a year or so down the road, and that too will need to be secured.

Author Bio: Ryan Howard runs SmartParentAdvice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Ryan writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers.