The 411 on childproofing your home

Apr 9, 2010 at 5:21 p.m. ET

New parents are continually amazed at the new things their child manages to accomplish. From first smiles to the first time she grabs your fingers or rolls over, these seemingly insignificant milestones of newborn discovery can be really exciting -- and scary for parents who see dangers lurking in every cabinet, closet and corner.

Baby gate

But soon, grasping leads to pulling up (on not-so-sturdy furniture), and walking leads to climbing the stairs, which opens up a whole new world of danger to your child. Here's a quick rundown on what you can do to childproof your home and protect your little one.

Lock it up

The cleaning cabinet that's full of hazardous chemicals is the obvious place to start childproofing, but don't forget commonly overlooked cabinets and drawers, like those with shampoo and makeup, that could also pose a problem.
Cabinet lock kits are inexpensive, like this four-lock starter kit from Buy Buy Baby, and enable you to lock cabinets, the stove and drawers. You do not have to purchase locks for all your cabinets; if the baby can't reach them, then don't drive yourself nuts. Make sure, though, to have locks on drawers that could pinch if the baby tries to pull them open and slam them shut.

Gates, gates and more gates

In my book, you can never have enough gates. Don't forget to install a gate at both the top and bottom of any stairs. As a new mom, I worked with a childproofer who designed a gate system that kept my child contained to one room. This is a great way to give your baby more freedom than a playpen allows without worrying about just what they're getting into.

Outlet covers

These are a must for any home. Electric outlets are incredibly dangerous to little ones, who typically attempt to stick their fingers into them. Outlet covers should be placed in every electrical outlet that your baby could reach.

Coffee table bumpers

If you own a glass table or one with pointed edges, then you should invest in a table cover. Sure, it won't be attractive, but wouldn't you rather see a bulky bumper around your table than a major bump on your baby's head? A great option is a tablecloth-style cover because it stays in place better than adhesive bumpers.

Anti-tip cables for furniture

Another important safety item you should have is an anti-tip lock or cable for your child's furniture. Don't take chances: Either mount the furniture to the wall or install a cable that could hold the furniture in place in case your child climbs on it and tips it over.

Childproofing 101

How to childproof your home shares a few easy ways to childproof every room in your house!

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