Here’s What You Absolutely Need BEFORE Your Tot Starts Walking

Your tot is almost walking. Congratulations! Also, it will be years before you can sit down and switch off again. Mama, it’s time to toddler-proof. Here’s what you need to have before your little one takes their first tentative steps.

Baby gates

Your tiny walker will be drawn to any stairs in your home like a moth to a flame. So make sure baby gates are first on your shopping list — and double up; gates should be fitted at the top and the bottom of the stairs. One of the best-reviewed baby gates on the market is the North States Easy-Close Baby Gate, a tension gate that basically squeezes itself into the space (meaning no assembly required) and has wall cups to prevent any movement back or forward when your baby pushes or pulls on the gate. Which they will, constantly. The Easy-Close swings open both ways to make your life a little easier, and has a triple locking system for peace of mind.

North States Easy-Close Baby Gate, $67.03 at Amazon

Another great (and well-reviewed) option for those extra-wide doorways is the Regalo extra-wide span walk-through baby gate, which expands to fit openings up to 56 inches wide. Just make sure you measure your doorway first!

Regalo Extra Widespan Walk-Through Baby Gate, $64.99 at Amazon.

Safety locks for windows and sliding doors

Your kid’s curiosity will step up a notch as soon as they start walking. The clear safety locks from Safety Innovations can be used on windows, sliding glass doors, sliding shower doors and mirrored sliding closet doors locked to keep your baby safe. Plus, they’re super-simple to apply: just peel off the backing paper and attach to your window or glass door.

4-pack safety locks by Safety Innovations, $12.95 at Amazon


Strap locks for everything else

Windows and sliding doors aside, your home is full of things your kid wants to explore. Go for a multipack of strap locks, which are designed to keep your kiddo safe from the oven, fridge, freezer and all sorts of other appliances, cabinets and drawers that could pose a hazard. Worth a special mention is the toilet. If you don’t want your phone, your remote control, your car keys and everything and anything else to end up down the pooper, slap on a strap lock.

Child Safety Strap Locks (16 Pack) by Eco-Baby, $16.97 at Amazon


Cordless window coverings

If you have a baby in the home, cordless window coverings are the safest option. If your shades or blinds do have cords, they should be inaccessible to young children. The window covering industry’s Best for Kids™ certification program requires manufacturers to meet specified criteria and submit their window covering products to a designated third-party testing laboratory. “Best for Kids” products either have no cords, no operating cords and inner cords that are not accessible, or if accessible inner cords are present in products with no operating cords, the accessible inner cords cannot create a hazardous loop.

If you can’t replace your corded window coverings, you can order free retrofit kits from the Window Covering Safety Council.

Outlet covers

You’ve probably already covered electrical outlets at crawling height, but it’s worth giving your home a once-over to identify higher outlets that can be reached by your toddling tot. The Safety 1st outlet cover comes with a cord shortener, meaning you can keep excess appliance cords off the floor (it stores up to four feet of cord).

Safety 1st Outlet Cover with Cord Shortener, $4.98 at Amazon

Old socks

This is no joke. As soon as your little one is able to explore on two legs, they’ll want to go everywhere — and closed doors are simply obstacles to overcome. Closing the doors to all rooms that are off-limits is your first step, but that won’t stop a determined toddler. Cover the doorknobs with old socks to make them difficult for those little hands to grasp.

Of course, these products are only your starting point. Here’s what else you need to do to keep your toddler safe.

  • Secure all heavy items (furniture, mirrors, TV sets, etc.) to the walls to stop them from tipping over.
  • Move valuable and breakable items well out of your child’s reach.
  • Always turn pot handles on the stovetop toward the back wall.
  • Store all cleaning products, medicines, knives and other sharp utensils out of sight and reach.
  • Get rid of fridge magnets, or move them out of reach — they’re potential choking hazards.
  • Move your child’s crib away from the window — and anything else they can reach out and grab.
  • Pool safety is paramount. Install a four-sided isolation fence that’s at least five feet high.
  • If you have a hot tub, fit a locked cover.

If you think you’ve covered all bases, have one final sweep of every room your child has access to. The easiest way to spot any home hazards is to get down on your hands and knees and see things from your kid’s height. Remember, your little one will pull at everything within reach.

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