Childproofing checklist: Before your baby arrives

Childproofing checklist: Before your baby arrives

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Whether it's finding a class in infant CPR or choosing a car seat, there's a lot to think about even before your child is born. Where to begin? Use this checklist to make sure you're prepared to welcome a newborn into your home.

For more about child safety, see the complete guide to all our safety articles, FAQs, and other features, including two other safety checklists: Before Your Baby Crawls and Toddlers and Beyond.

Around the House

Carbon monoxide

  • Install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors if you use gas or oil heat or have an attached garage, and check the batteries twice a year.

Fire prevention

  • Install and maintain working smoke detectors; check monthly.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
  • Plan a fire escape route.
  • Keep nightlights away from curtains and bedding; use cool nightlights that don't get hot.

First aid

  • Assemble a first-aid kit for babies.
  • Post emergency numbers next to your telephone.

Poison control

  • Put childproof locks on all cabinets containing poisons, medicines, and cleaning supplies.

Lead paint

  • If paint is flaking or peeling, have a certified Lead-Safe professional remove or seal it.


  • Cover sharp furniture edges with padding or bumpers.


  • Put nonslip pads under area rugs that don't have nonslip backs.

Water safety

  • To guard against accidental burns, set your water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius).
  • Use an infant bathtub with contours or other features that make it slip-resistant.


Below are some things to look for and do when you set up your baby's nursery.


  • Has sturdy bottom and wide, stable base.
  • Surfaces are smooth; no sharp protrusions.
  • Legs lock securely.
  • Mattress is firm.
  • Mattress fits snugly.
  • Avoid soft, fluffy bedding such as pillows, comforters, or sheepskins.

Changing table

  • Has a safety strap.
  • Table is sturdy, with a 2-inch guardrail around all four sides.
  • Top of table is concave, so that the middle is slightly lower than the sides.
  • There's a place to keep baby wipes and other supplies within your reach but out of your baby's.
  • Has a carpet or rug below in case of a fall.


  • Slats are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart.
  • Corner posts are 1/16 inch or shorter (or 16 inches or higher if there is a canopy).
  • Has no decorative cutouts that can entrap baby's head.
  • Mattress is firm.
  • Mattress fits snugly (less than two fingers' width between mattress and side).
  • Avoid soft, fluffy bedding such as pillows, comforters, or sheepskins.
  • Is positioned away from windows, heaters, lamps, wall decorations, cords, and climbable furniture.
  • All hardware, including nuts, bolts, screws, plastic parts, and so on, is included with crib (don't substitute original parts with hardware store items).
  • Meets Consumer Product Safety Commission standards issued in June 2011.


  • Install window guards or window stops.
  • Cut looped window blind cords; use safety tassels and inner cord stops.


  • Install plates that slide closed over outlets.

Away from Home


  • Purchase a car seat intended for infants.
  • Install it properly, in rear-facing position in middle of back seat.
  • Keep small towels or cloth diapers in the car, and roll up and use on either side to position baby as needed.
  • Practice removing and reinstalling car seat correctly.

Nice to have:

  • Window shades to block the sun.

General Safety

First aid

  • Take an infant CPR class in your home.
  • See our illustrated guide to choking and CPR.



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