How to Childproof a Bedroom

Two Parts:Preventing Accidents in the BedroomSetting Up a Crib

There are so many things to think about when a new child comes into your home, but setting up a childproof bedroom is one of the most important. Children spend most of their unsupervised time in their cribs or their bedrooms, so it’s particularly important that these areas be free from hazards. Start by setting up a crib that’s safe for a child, and then adapt the remaining items in the bedroom in a way that will prevent unnecessary accidents.

Part 1
Preventing Accidents in the Bedroom

  1. Image titled Childproof a Bedroom Step 1
    Use cordless window coverings. Blinds, shades or curtains that are raised by pull cords are dangerous to children because they can easily get wrapped around a baby’s neck. Cordless window coverings, such as “honeycomb”-style blinds, are not only safer for children, but provide great insulation for your home as well.[1]
    • If you have cords on your window blinds, shades or curtains, cut them off or use cord shorteners, safety tassels, or wind-ups to keep them out of reach.
    • Since November, 2000, all window blinds sold in the United States are required to come with attachments on the pull cords to prevent a loop from forming between the slats if a child pulls on them. If you purchased window blinds were bought before this date, you should call (800) 506-4636 to order a free retrofit kit.
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    Use window guards and safety netting. Window guards have bars that are about 4 inches (10 cm) apart, and will keep children from falling from an open window. They screw into the sides of the window frame itself. Safety netting will prevent falls from balconies or decks.[2]
    • Check regularly to make sure that the guards and netting are still secure.
    • You can find both window guards and safety netting at most retail hardware stores.
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    Consider the way the window opens. If a window opens from the top, then it will be out of reach for a child to push his way through the screen. If it opens from the bottom, you should put a window guard on it to make sure it only goes up 3 inches, or the distance of an adult fist.[3]
    • If you have a window seat, or a window that reaches low to the ground, it’s particularly important that you install a window guard to prevent accidents.
    • For casement windows, you should remove the crank and put it somewhere you can find it, but your child can’t.
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    Cover outlets and use outlet plates. Using outlet plates are recommended over outlet covers, which a curious toddler will notice you removing whenever you need to access the outlet. In an outlet plate, sliding covers allow an adult to access the outlet when needed, while protecting a child against accidental injury.[4]
    • If you have a lot of wires in your child’s room, it’s a good idea to conceal them in a wire guard when you’re childproofing the room.
    • Reserve the plastic outlet covers for rarely used outlets, or outlets that are typically out-of-reach.
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    Use commercial guards. Round and levered doorknobs can easily be fitted with door knob covers and locks that will prevent a child from opening a door and accessing the rest of the house.[5]
    • A “door monkey” will allow a door to open a few inches, but will prevent a child from leaving.
    • Make sure your cabinets won’t slam on tiny fingers by installing pinch guards. These are U-shaped pieces of foam that prevent a door from closing.
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    Make your own door guards. If you’re hosting a child in your home, you may not have access to commercial door guards. You can always use a simple washcloth or similar material to keep a door closed.[6]
    • As you close the door, hold the washcloth between the door and the door frame on the same side as the door handle.
    • You’ll be able to close the door, and the washcloth will stay in place. The extra pressure against the door will prevent a child from opening the door.
    • When you need to get in or out, pull the washcloth tight with one hand, and turn the knob with the other. You should be able to open the door without too much effort.
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    Use cardboard as a door cover. Cut a piece of cardboard about 3 inches wide and long enough to wrap around your doorknob. Press it around your round doorknob, and tape the two ends of the cardboard together. Duct tape or another strong tape will be most effective.[7]
    • When the child tries to turn the doorknob, the only thing she’ll be able to grasp will be the cardboard. The cardboard will spin around the knob without turning the knob.
    • This strategy won’t work on levered knobs.
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    Put a smoke alarm in every bedroom. Best safety practice is to post a smoke alarm in every bedroom in your home, including a child’s room. If you have multiple stories in your home, you should also make sure that at least one smoke alarm can be found on each floor.[8]
    • It’s a good idea to check the batteries monthly, and replace your smoke detectors once a year.
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    Install carbon monoxide detectors near the bedroom. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is extremely toxic. Every home should have at least one CO alarm to alert you for its presence, so that you can leave the house safely.[9]
    • Carbon monoxide alarms can be purchased at most hardware stores.
    • Change the batteries in your CO alarm at the same time you change the ones in your smoke detector. Some smoke detectors come equipped to alert you to both smoke and CO.
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    Take care when using space heaters. Make sure your space heaters are never placed close to a bed, window coverings, newspapers, or other household furnishings. Heaters should always be kept at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from anything potentially flammable.[10]
    • Avoid putting a space heater where your child or a pet could accidentally knock it over.
    • Carefully read the product manual that comes with your space heater before using it. Unsafe use of any heater can cause hazardous conditions.
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    Secure heavy furniture to prevent accidents. Toddlers can easily mistake bedroom furniture for jungle gyms. As a result, a child can tip over a heavy chest-of-drawers, resulting in injury. To keep this from happening, anchor the heavy bedroom furniture (such as bureaus, changing tables, etc.) to the wall or to the floor.[11]
    • You can find strong nylon straps (such as Mommy's Helper Tip-Resistant Furniture Safety Brackets) that anchor furniture to the walls. These are screwed into your wall studs, and attached to your furniture
    • Brackets and braces can also be used to secure furniture in place to prevent it from falling.
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    Keep piggy banks out of your child’s room. Coins present choking hazards to children, who may not know not to put coins in their mouths. If you’ve got a ceramic piggy bank in your child’s room, realize that it could easily break open, resulting in spilled coins as well as broken ceramic shards.[12]
    • Plastic coins also present choking hazards. Watch out for coin-sized game tokens that older siblings might accidentally leave in a younger child’s room.
    • Children can choke on smaller pieces of crayon, whether crushed underfoot or broken in two. To prevent children from accidentally getting crayons stuck in their throats, use only larger sized, chubby round crayons.
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    Keep latex balloons out of the bedroom. Balloons (either uninflated or popped) can become choking hazards for children younger than age 8, and so it’s recommended to keep them out of children’s bedrooms. A child who puts a popped balloon into his mouth can easily suffocate.[13]
    • Anything that fits through the core of a toilet paper roll can be considered a choking hazard.
    • Any plastic bag, including dry cleaning bags, ziplock bags, and grocery bags should be kept out of reach of a child.
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    Find a toy box with no lid. Toy boxes lure children to open them, but heavy lids will easily fall on an unwary child’s head, arm or fingers. Keeping children’s toys in a toy box without a lid will prevent these accidents from happening.[14]
    • If you need to cover the toys to keep them out of your child’s visual attention, use a piece of cloth or a lightweight covering.
    • Plastic lids are ideal for toys boxes, because they can be snapped into place. If a child accidentally gets access to the box, the lid won’t be heavy enough to cause injury.

Part 2
Setting Up a Crib

  1. Image titled Childproof a Bedroom Step 15
    Make sure the crib is designed properly. Safe design on a crib means that the slats are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. A good rule of thumb to see if the slats are safe is whether or not you can fit a soda can in between them. If a soda can can fit between the slats, so can a child’s head.[15]
    • Look for the Safety Certification Seal of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). This certification label should appear on your baby’s crib.
    • Its mattress should fit snugly, with no more than 2 adult fingers of space between the edge of the mattress and the slats of the crib.
    • Make sure the crib doesn’t have any decorative cutouts in the headboard or footboard that a baby could get caught in.
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    Make sure your crib is in good repair. Check all surfaces to make sure they’re smooth, sanded (if wooden) and free from sharp or jagged, and splinters. The sides should latch securely. All screws should be close fitted to the surface, and there shouldn’t be any missing that might be found by your child.[16]
    • Make sure the crib doesn’t have an missing or broken slats.
    • Check to see that the sides can’t be released by a child inside the crib.
    • If the child is tall enough to stand, make sure the crib’s mattress is kept at its lowest position to minimize risk of falling out of the crib.
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    Keep only the minimum number of things in the crib. Blankets, soft toys, comforters, and pillows (adult pillows, throw pillows, or infant donut pillows) shouldn’t be kept in the crib, as they may result in accidental suffocation for very young children. The mattress should be firm and flat.[17]
    • If your baby needs certain items to fall asleep, take them away once she’s soundly asleep.
    • Avoid using crib bumpers. A child can climb up on top of crib bumpers and fall out of his crib once he’s old enough.
    • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep in warm sleepwear with feet instead of a blanket, to prevent risk of suffocation.
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    Keep mobiles at least 7 inches above a crib. A mobile is entertaining and helps develop vision in young babies, but you need to make sure it’s positioned at a safe distance from the baby’s grasping fingers.[18]
    • When a baby begins to push up on his hands and knees, or by 5 months, you should remove the mobile altogether.
    • Once a baby can reach the mobile with his fingers, it becomes a strangulation risk.
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    Ensure the crib is placed safely. You’ll want to make sure that the area immediately around a child’s crib is free of anything that the child could accidentally grab ahold of, such as lamps, wall decorations (including stick-on decals that could fall off the wall and into the crib), cords, and furniture your baby might climb on.[19]
    • Make sure the crib isn’t located near a heating source, such as a vent or radiator.
    • A child spends a lot of unsupervised time in his crib, so extra attention to safety ahead of time is needed.


  • Make sure that you have an accessible, well-stocked first-aid kit in your home. Check it regularly, and replace any items that you may have used.
  • Post emergency phone numbers (including poison control, primary care physician, etc.) in a central area of the home, easily accessible in case of emergency.

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