Baby Proofing Development Levels
Not all baby proofing activities are necessary for all stages of development. For example, you don’t need to install cabinet locks when you have a 1-month-old infant. They’re not mobile and won’t be getting into your cabinets any time soon. Because of this, I’ve organized the following 4 main development levels to help you get an understanding of when each baby proofing task is necessary. Each task outlined on this site has the appropriate development stages highlighted.
These are meant to be general guidelines. If you feel additional tasks should be done to keep your child safe earlier or longer, by all means do so! If that is the case, please send me a note using the form over on the About page. It may be something I need to update so others know too!
starts at birth
Starts: At birth.
Ends: First mobile | 6-10 months.
starts at 6-10 months old*
Starts: First mobile | 6-10 months*
Ends: First independent walking | 10-14 months*
starts at 10-14 months old*
Starts: First independent walking | 10-14 months*
Ends: Around 4 years old.*
starts at 4 years old*
Starts: Around 4 years old* and up.
Ends: When you feel your child is ready
How long is my baby considered an infant?
There is often very little "baby proofing" that needs to be done to your home for your newborn infant. The reason is that in the first few months, your child is immobile and not able to get into many dangerous situations on their own. During the first 6-10 months of their life (before they're able to crawl), you'll want to focus on things like safe sleeping, bathing, feeding, and moving them from room to room. Browse through our guide and pay close attention to the tasks with the blue "Infant" tag on them. Those are the tasks that you'll want to make sure you accomplish to keep your newborn infant as safe as possible in your home.
When do babies start crawling?
The average age that a baby will start crawling is 6-10 months. Your child may begin crawling before, during, or after this timeframe, or they may skip crawling altogether and go straight to walking. On Baby Proofing Guide we use the term "Crawler" to define the time which your baby is mobile--scooting, rolling, army crawling, etc.--but not walking independently. This is when your child will first be able to explore their environment, and subsequently, find new dangers on their own. When your baby starts crawling, it's time to start the next level of baby proofing with gates, outlet covers, cabinet locks, and more. Check out the tasks on this site with the purple "Crawling" tag to get started.
When are babies considered toddlers?
Babies are considered toddlers around the same time they start walking independently. Children typically start walking independantly around 10-14 months of age. As with crawling, the exact age your child will start walking may be before or after this timeframe. Once your child begins crawling, it's time to take another look at your baby proofing techniques. Now that your baby can stand upright, you'll want to start looking for dangers that are a little higher off the ground, like doorknobs. Be sure to check out the tasks listed on this site with the red "Toddler" tags to get started baby proofing for your newly mobile tike.
When is my child considered a big kid?
The term "big kid" is used a lot in child development. Our toddler identifies herself as a "big kid" every time she learns to do something new by herself... going potty, putting pants on, saying please and thank you, etc. While those things are definitely signs that any child is growing up and gaining more independence, we consider a child a "big kid" when they're around age 4. It is around age 4 that your child will begin to establish a higher level of independence by starting pre-school or kindergarten and should be able to do most self-care responsibilities on their own--getting dressed, using the restroom, following multi-step instructions, and more. It is at this age that you'll be able to start loosening up the baby proofing a little and preparing your child to avoid dangers on their own rather than being physically blocked by all things harmful.
Although we're suggesting age 4, you know your child best. If you believe they no longer need all of the baby proofing techniques you've used for the first couple of years of their life, then by all means, you can begin removing those baby proofing barriers as you see fit.
*Ages listed for development levels are based on averages. Every child is unique and may advance from one level to the next sooner or later than average. Be sure to pay close attention to your child's transition from one level to the next and accomplish the appropriate baby proofing tasks for the next level when necessary.