Tips for babyproofing on a budget

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A baby's world is full of wonder, but it's up to parents to find and fix any danger. But babyproofing the house can sometimes mean breaking the bank. 

We went through a home with a professional baby-proofer to find the hidden hazards so you can decide where to spend, and what to skip, starting at the front door.

First up are the locks.

“Most homes are gonna have a [low] dead bolt," Daniel Leeds pointed out. "They can easily [unlock it] and go for a walk.”

Leeds of Full House Babyproofing says adding a lock out of baby's reach should only cost about $10.

The simplest way to limit costs babyproofing the rest of the house is to simply limit where your baby can go.

“If there's a room where there’s not an efficient way to make it safe, you can block that room off,” Leeds said.

When it comes to blocking areas, a pressure gate might be cheapest but there are certain spots where that's not a good idea.

Pressure gates are built with a bottom ledge, making them a trip hazard. Blocking a stairway with one of these could add - not reduce - the danger. 

So buying a gate appropriate for blocking a stairway is a spot to spend more money.

Electrical outlet covers, however, are a spot to save. Leeds says houses built after 2008 should have built in mechanisms to prevent a child from being shocked. Plus, the plastic covers used to block electrical outlets can be a choking hazard for little ones. 

Moving on to the windows, many parents are concerned about blinds but it's not just the cords that can become a noose. The strings between the slats are even more dangerous.

“I can create a loop right here and that's where most kids get in trouble,” Leeds demonstrated by putting his hand through the rope between each blind.

The fix comes by raising the blinds and wrapping the cord around cleats -- which cost around a dollar.

Leeds says one of the most dangerous things in a home is unsecured furniture. Recent stories of kids being crushed by dressers have this issue on every parent's mind. Just by pulling out two drawers, a little bit of pressure can bring a whole piece of furniture over. But the fix only costs about $5 - $10 a set.

He demonstrates how to use mounting straps.

“This goes into the furniture, this goes into the wall and you can take the slack out of it,” he says. “Furniture straps are not very expensive. A couple things you need: you need a stud finder and you need a screwdriver and maybe a drill, that's about it.”

The key is to properly secure heavy furniture and televisions to the studs - not just anywhere in the wall. You also might want to beef up the "tip over" kits required by law from manufacturers. Bigger brackets run around ten bucks or under.

Leeds warns about remotes as well.

“Button batteries are extremely dangerous," he said.

But don't stress about securing everything. Sometimes all you have to do is move an item. A child can grab a towel on an oven handle and pull it down. Just move it and the problem is solved.

It's all about knowing the risks can so you can choose where to spend.