Toddler girl walking from dad to mom in the living room.

Childproof Checklist

11 Tips for Childproofing Your New Home

Bringing home a new baby or moving into a bigger house with toddlers running around is an exciting new chapter. But before letting the kids loose to explore their new environment, taking precautions first is vital.

Thousands of children tragically pass away each year from preventable household accidents like suffocation, drowning, fires and falls. And the truth is that many of these accidents are preventable – often through simple childproofing tasks.

At LGI Homes, a significant priority is ensuring customers feel at ease in their newly constructed properties. As parents, we recognize no priority surpasses the health and safety of your loved ones. That's why we've compiled this list of eleven ways to ensure your new home is a safe space for your entire family.

1. Install Baby Safety Gates
Open floor plans may boast visual appeal, but with new crawlers and unsteady toddlers, unchecked spaces can pose severe risks. Install safety gates at the top and bottom of all stairways to prevent falls, a leading cause of emergency room visits for little ones annually.

Gates are also great in door frames that allow access to non-childproofed home parts, creating a barrier between kids and potential dangers. Buy pressure-mounted models to skip the hassle of drilling.

2. Secure Furniture and Appliances 
While it's tempting to style that dresser under the window or place the TV console in the corner to delight your inner interior designer, remember this: little ones will use furniture as their jungle gyms. So, take a few minutes to anchor heavy bookcases, dressers and other flimsy appliances to studs to prevent painful accidents later on.

Those sleek new appliances also invite curious kids to climb and open doors. Apply cheap (but potentially life-saving) child safety locks to keep little fingers safely out of dishwashers and fridges. You'll protect them from harm for a minimal outlay while allowing swift access for adults.

3. Cover Electrical Outlets
Childproofing can make you view your home in a whole new light. For instance, unused outlets will likely blend into pristine walls when touring a new construction home. But after you move in, curious kids see these as enticing invitations to explore. Inserting tiny fingers or objects into outlets poses a scary electric shock risk, resulting in trips straight to the ER.

The simplest fix? Insert inexpensive plastic safety covers into each unused outlet to keep curious kids safe. Should an outlet be needed to power appliances, the covers pop off for adults while protecting little ones. Take a quick inside and outside walk-through to identify and cover unused outlets so you can relax knowing they won't be a hazard for young kids.

4. Use Corner Guards
It's incredible how something as innocuous as a coffee table can transition from a handy furnishing to a hazard when introducing wobbly little ones into the environment. Toddlers are still calibrating their sense of balance, making bruises and cuts from impacts with sharp corners practically inevitable.

But the good news is it only takes a few minutes to simultaneously prolong the life of your furniture and your little ones' well-being. Apply foam or plastic corner guards onto furniture boasting sharp angles that your tiny crusaders will inevitably crash into. By spending a little more, you can get corner guards that blend in seamlessly with your decor rather than being obvious (but necessary) eye sores.

5. Lock Away Hazardous Materials
It's alarming but true – child poisoning fatalities are rising nationally year over year. And the culprits are likely already in your home without you realizing. Everyday cleaners, medicine, tools and more pose scary risks within tiny hands' reach. Just a sip or swallow can require emergency intervention or worse.

But a few simple prep steps can prevent tragedy. Begin by taking inventory of potential poisons scattered throughout your rooms. Assemble these items, then store cleaners, medications, alcohol, sharp tools and other safety threats in latched cabinets mounted beyond kids' reach. Add inexpensive child locks as an extra barrier for cabinets at standard heights.

6. Install Window Guards
Picture this – you peer out the window, smiling at little ones giggling and leaping through new-home grass. Then, imagine glancing back to witness tiny legs darting right onto the windowsill. It only takes seconds for playtime to pivot to danger.

Thankfully, solutions such as window guards exist to prevent accidents around windows. Properly installed window guards provide peace of mind by eliminating falling hazards while enabling windows to open fully for ventilation. Plus, leading brands offer telescopic arms and quick-release brackets, making taking them on and off again a cinch.

7. Secure the Perimeter
Of course, window guards aren't for everyone. Some families may prefer keeping windows shut and limiting ventilation in favor of security. If that's you, keep windows locked to prevent young hands from opening them when unaccompanied.

Pay attention to your home's entry and exit points, too. Ensure exterior doors remain locked so your smallest family members avoid wandering into danger unaccompanied. For crafty escape artists especially, it might be worth installing sliding bolts or small latches placed well beyond the reach of tiny hands.

8. Take Care of Water Safety
Bathrooms harbor unseen hazards that sadly prove fatal at alarming rates. Drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children ages 1-4, with devastating cases escalating in homes nationwide. Yet simple precautionary steps safeguard your precious little ones.

Begin by adjusting your water heater to under 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Scalding from boiling water can cause severe burns in the blink of an eye. Also, never leave small children alone during bath time—it only takes seconds and inches of water for tragedy to strike. Lastly, toilet locks and latch bath faucets should be applied to provide peace of mind between supervising moments.

9. Remove and Safely Store Small Choking Hazards
Parents witness firsthand how swiftly innocent objects transform into impromptu toys at the mercy of tiny fingers. Unfortunately, curious young children also explore partly through tasting these discoveries. It only takes a few seconds for your child to ingest something, so it's better to get preventative rather than be caught reactively later.

So, take a few minutes to scan floors, end tables and other surfaces for minuscule objects that seem harmless but could quickly turn problematic in children's hands. Ensure coins, batteries, pen caps, pebbles from houseplants, detachable game pieces and mini toys remain far from the wandering hands of investigatory youngsters.

10. Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to protect your family against unseen home hazards. Since the dangers are impossible to see, smell or hear, the detectors serve as your faithful alert system, warning if smoke or lethal gases build up.

Position units in high-traffic communal areas to detect risks before reaching critical rooms like bedrooms. Also, remember to test each detector monthly to verify they're working correctly and replace batteries when needed. These devices don't cost much, but they could save precious lives. So, make installing them a high priority on your list.

11. Ensure Fire and Heat Safety

Flickering flames may impart a cozy ambiance, but any exposed flames pose risks with curious kids roaming your new home. Ensure fireplaces boast sturdy screens or guards to prevent accidental burns and use safety gates to cordon off hearths.

The same goes for any heating elements or naked flames in your new home, including space heaters or candles. Barricade these devices if they are at floor height, and never leave children unattended near open flames, even briefly. It takes just moments of diversion for tragedy to ignite. Finally, mount guards around radiators, secure any window or shutter cords safely out of reach and keep flammable materials far from fiery danger zones.


Creating a Safe Haven for Your Family in Your New Home

As thrilling as moving into a new home feels, nothing is more important than prioritizing ensuring your family's safety. Taking the time upfront to childproof with protective measures grants peace of mind that your curious little ones can explore their new environment free of potential hazards. So add childproofing to your moving-in checklist to ensure your home is safe from the get-go.

If you'd like to delve deeper into homeownership's initial weeks and months, check out LGI Homes' homeowner resources section, where you'll find an extensive and always-growing collection of articles that will help you maximize the benefits of your transition.

Whether you're just browsing or in the process of purchasing from us, we at LGI Homes wish you years of creating lasting memories together in your thoughtfully constructed new home.