How to Childproof Your Home: Tips and Costs
Childproofing your home involves implementing safety measures to secure potential hazards. The cost varies depending on the extent of modifications and the products chosen.
Childproofing the home is an essential step to protect children from avoidable accidents. Although it’s an added expense, its long-term benefits outweigh the upfront costs — childproofing expenses typically range between $500 and $2,500, but one emergency room visit can cost anywhere from $623 to $3,087. According to SafeHome.org’s 2022 Annual Childproofing Report, 4 in 10 parents said proper childproofing measures could have prevented their child’s injury at home.
The best time to start childproofing is before your child is born or by the time they reach six months old. For those expecting or with young children, MoneyGeek compiled a childproofing guide that outlines the costs and steps to create a home where children can safely explore and learn.
What Is Childproofing?
Childproofing or babyproofing is the process of modifying an environment or object to eliminate potential hazards and ensure a safe space for children to explore, learn and play. It should be a continuous, evolving process that adapts to growing children's changing needs and behaviors.
Childproofing benefits include:
- Accident Prevention: It allows children to explore and learn with reduced risk of falls, burns and other household accidents.
- Economic Benefits: Fewer injuries mean avoiding unexpected medical expenses and potential savings from reduced emergency room visits.
- Reassurance: Addressed hazards offer a sense of security, making parents more comfortable letting their child safely explore their environment.
Common Household Accidents
Be aware of the risks at home to implement effective childproofing measures. Here’s what to watch out for:
Fire and Burns
Often occur in the kitchen or near barbecue grills and other heat or flame sources.
Suffocation and Choking
Risks arise from unsafe sleep environments, certain foods and small objects within reach.
Pools, spas, hot tubs and small amounts of water in buckets can pose a risk.
Stairs, slippery floors, high windows and tipping furniture are common culprits.
Access to toxic substances, medicines and household cleaners can lead to accidental poisoning.
Uncovered outlets, frayed wires and access to electrical appliances can pose a risk.
Cost to Childproof a Home
Childproofing a home could cost from $500 to $2,500, depending on the extent of modifications and the products chosen. The cost most homeowners pay to childproof their home is $1,500.
On the higher end of the spectrum, a professional childproofing consultation typically costs around $200. The consultation involves a home walkthrough to identify potential risks and suggest necessary safety measures.
Depending on the products purchased, the cost can be significantly lower for those who prefer DIY. Basic childproofing items like outlet covers, cabinet locks and corner protectors can cost between $3 to $40 per item. More extensive modifications like safety gates, window guards and fencing can range from $25 to over $150.
Childproofing doesn't have to break the bank. Follow these budget-friendly strategies:
- Prioritize Essential Items: Begin with critical safety items like outlet covers and cabinet locks.
- Opt for DIY: Use online tutorials to handle basic childproofing tasks yourself.
- Shop Wisely: Wait for sales, compare prices and read product reviews for value.
- Invest in Quality: Durable products might cost more upfront but save in the long run.
Essential Childproofing Products and Costs
Choose and install the appropriate safety devices to mitigate the risks of accidents and protect your children effectively. Here’s a list of childproofing products, their costs and installation guidelines. Remember to read product reviews and check for safety certifications before purchasing.
Prevent children from inserting objects into electrical outlets.
$3 - $15
Plug securely into unused outlets.
Prevent children from opening doors and accessing restricted areas.
$4 - $15
Snap securely around door knobs.
Toilet Seat Locks
Secure toilet lids to prevent children from opening them.
$6 - $25
Attach the locks to the toilet lid according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Shield sharp furniture edges to prevent injuries.
$7 - $17
Adhere to furniture corners after cleaning the surface.
Blind Cord Wraps
Wind up long blind cords to prevent strangulation hazards.
$9 - $16
Wind the blind cord around the device and secure it.
Secure doors, windows, or cabinets to prevent children from opening them.
$9 - $16
Install according to the manufacturer's instructions, typically involves screws or adhesive.
Cabinet and Drawer Locks
Secure cabinets and drawers to restrict access to harmful objects.
$9 - $40
Adhere or screw into the inside of the cabinet or drawer.
Provide additional lock security on doors.
$10 - $32
Install in the door, above or below the handle, usually requires drilling.
Power Strip Covers
Encase power strips to prevent electrical contact.
$10 - $40
Place over the power strip and secure according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Secure furniture to the wall to prevent tipping.
$11 - $20
Attach one end to the furniture and the other to the wall stud.
Lazy Susan Locks
Secures revolving cabinets to restrict access to potentially dangerous items.
$12 - $28
Install according to the manufacturer's instructions, typically involves adhesive or screws.
Adds an extra layer of security to doors, preventing children from exiting or entering rooms.
$12 - $40
Install above the door handle or on the side edge of the door, depending on the lock type.
Protect children from slipping through railings.
$16 - $40
Attach securely to railings according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Reduce the risk of falls.
$25 - $90
Install according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Restrict access to potentially dangerous areas like stairs.
$25 - $130
Install with pressure mounts or hardware mounts.
Encloses areas to restrict access, commonly used around pools.
$25 - $150
Install according to the type of fencing and manufacturer's instructions.
Room-By-Room Child Safety Guide
Creating a child-friendly home involves meticulous attention to each room's unique features and potential hazards. Here’s an actionable guide to ensure the safety of various spaces within your home.
The living room presents risks like furniture tipping, sharp edges and electrical hazards. Childproof this area to prevent accidents such as falls, cuts or electrical shocks as children play, explore and unwind.
- Secure Furniture and Appliances
- Anchor heavy furniture and TVs to the wall to prevent tipping.
- Use braces, brackets or wall straps to secure unstable or heavy furniture to the wall.
- Keep TVs on low, use sturdy furniture and ensure you push them as far back as possible.
- Move furniture away from windows to prevent children from climbing and accessing potentially dangerous window areas.
- Cover Sharp Edges and Corners
- Use corner and edge guards on potentially hazardous furniture as children begin to walk and climb.
- Hide Electrical Cords and Small Objects
- Keep cords and small toys out of reach to avoid tripping and choking hazards. Secure remote controls and other small objects.
The number one room for household accidents, the kitchen is filled with sharp objects, toxic substances and other potential dangers. Take these steps to childproof your kitchen:
- Install Cabinet Locks and Stove Guards
- Be sure to secure cabinets containing harmful substances or breakable items.
- Install stove guards and knob covers to prevent access to hot surfaces and potentially dangerous cooling appliances.
- Store Hazardous Items Securely
- Keep cleaning agents, sharp objects, medications and vitamins in locked cabinets or out of children’s reach.
Return potentially dangerous items to secure locations immediately after use.
- Label Poisonous Substances
- Place distinctive labels like Mr. Yuk stickers on all poisonous substances and educate children on their meaning.
- Be Mindful of Small Objects
- Regularly check the floors and accessible areas for small objects that can be easily swallowed and lead to choking.
The bathroom is the second most dangerous place in a home, yet many overlook the safety of a toilet lid lock. Toilets, bathtubs and buckets can be a source for drowning — the leading cause of injury-related death for children aged 1 to 4. Follow these bathroom safety precautions to reduce risks:
- Secure Toilets and Bathtubs
- Install a toilet lid lock and always keep it down and locked when not in use.
- Always drain bathtubs immediately after use.
- Consider using a bathtub spout cover to prevent bumps to the head.
- Set the Water Heater at a Safe Temperature
- Adjust water heater settings to 120 degrees F to prevent scalding from hot water.
- Use heat alert mats to test water temperatures.
- Install Non-Slip Mats
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on bathroom floors to prevent burns and falls.
- Secure Medications and Cleaning Products
- Store medications and cleaning products in locked cabinets or out of children’s reach.
- Be mindful of the placement of purses, which may contain harmful items.
Bedrooms can harbor hazards like unsecured furniture and fire risks. Follow these tips to ensure your child’s well-being throughout the night.
- Use Cordless Window Coverings
- Opt for cordless blinds or secure cords out of reach.
- Install CO Detectors and Smoke Alarms
- Place carbon monoxide and smoke detectors near sleeping areas and on each level of your home. Check the batteries monthly.
- Secure Furniture and Install Window Guards
- Anchor dressers and other heavy furniture to the wall.
- Prevent falls by installing window guards on windows located above ground level.
- Ensure a Safe Sleep Environment for Infants
- Provide a safe sleeping space for infants with a firm mattress and no loose items.
- Ensure infants sleep on their backs.
Doors and Stairs
Doors and stairs can be particularly hazardous for young children who are still developing their motor skills. Here’s what you should do:
- Install Safety Gates and Door Stoppers
- Place safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs and in areas where children should not enter.
- Use door stoppers and finger guards to prevent finger pinching and slamming.
- Be mindful of closing doors gently to avoid finger injuries.
- Secure Banisters and Use Outlet Covers
- Ensure banisters are sturdy and have no gaps that children could slip through.
- Use safety plugs over unused outlets.
Garage and Outdoor Areas
Garages and outdoor areas often contain tools, chemicals and other potential dangers. Ensure children can play and explore safely outdoors with these tips:
- Lock Up Hazardous Materials and Secure Tools
- Store chemicals, tools, pesticides, automotive products, refinishing products and paint in locked cabinets or out of reach.
- Keep sharp tools in a locked cabinet.
- Secure the Pool Area and Create Safe Play Areas
- Install fences with self-latching gates around pools and spas.
- Ensure play areas are free of sharp objects and poisonous plants.
- Teach Yard Boundaries and Respect for Animals
- Educate children on the dangers of straying too far and the importance of treating animals with respect.
Enhance your home safety with these universal precautions:
- Regular Safety Checks: Regularly review and update safety measures as children grow and develop new skills and curiosity.
- Educational Approach: Teach children the meaning of safety labels and the importance of avoiding certain areas and items.
- Visitor Awareness: Educate visitors on home safety measures and ensure they follow them. Remind them to keep their belongings like medications and small objects out of children’s reach.
Childproofing and Homeowners Insurance
Childproofing measures could impact your homeowners insurance costs. Although minimizing the risks of home accidents might reduce your insurance costs over time, certain additions or improvements can have varying effects on your premium. Regardless, it’s hard to put a price on your family’s safety.
Reducing Risk of Insurance Claims
Filing a claim for household accidents through your homeowners insurance provider often results in a more expensive premium. Childproofing measures reduce the likelihood that you’ll have an accident to report, thereby keeping your premium low.
Upgrades That May Increase Premiums
Child-centric additions, such as trampolines or playgrounds, can raise premiums due to their associated risks. Renovations that boost your home's replacement cost, like kitchen or bathroom upgrades, may also lead to higher premiums.
Discounts for Security Upgrades
Some insurers apply premium discounts when you install home security features like deadbolt locks, alarm systems and a Ring doorbell camera. Consider incorporating these measures into your broader childproofing efforts to offset some of your expenses.
Regularly review and update your homeowners insurance policy and communicate any household changes to your insurance provider. They can assess current coverage and help make necessary adjustments to ensure the policy adequately protects the family and the home. You may also use MoneyGeek’s online home insurance tools and resources to help guide your decisions:
Bolster your child safety expertise and practical know-how. Here’s a curated list of resources, certified childproofing professionals and recommended readings on child safety:
1. International Association for Child Safety (IAFCS). The IAFCS is a network of child safety professionals and babyproofers. This globally recognized organization offers a directory of certified professionals who can help make your home a safer place for children.
2. Childproofing Experts. Childproofing Experts offers a list of certified childproofing experts and consultants who can provide specialized advice and solutions to ensure your home is safe for kids.
3. "The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety" by Debra Smiley Holtzman. This is a guidebook for parents that offers step-by-step instructions on how to childproof each room and area in the home; it also gives safety checklists and product recommendations.
4. American Academy of Pediatrics Home Safety Checklist. The AAP Home Safety Checklist offers a comprehensive safety checklist covering various aspects of home safety to help parents ensure a hazard-free environment for their children. Visit this site to get the free AAP Safety Checklist.
5. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – Safety Education. The CPSC Safety Education provides a wealth of information on safety guidelines, recall information and safety alerts on consumer products to help parents make informed decisions.
6. HealthyChildren.org – Safety & Prevention at Home. This website from the American Academy of Pediatrics offers articles, tips and advice on a range of safety and prevention topics to help parents protect their children from injuries and accidents at home.
About Nathan Paulus
- Cleveland Clinic. "A Guide to Childproofing Your Home." Accessed September 27, 2023.
- Consumer Product Safety Commission. "Childproofing Your Home: Several Safety Devices to Help Protect Your Children from Home Hazards." Accessed September 27, 2023.
- National Safety Council. "Childproofing Your Home." Accessed September 27, 2023.
- Nemours KidsHealth. "Childproofing and Preventing Household Accidents." Accessed September 27, 2023.
- SafeHome.org. "Annual Childproofing Report: 2022." Accessed September 27, 2023.
- University of Arkansas. "Childproofing Your Home." Accessed September 27, 2023.