When Can You Stop Baby Proofing?

kid proofed doorknob

My son started crawling at four months.

I was grateful that I listened to the advice from countless baby books that said to babyproof early because children don’t start crawling or walking when it’s most convenient.

Unfortunately, most of these books don’t say when to de-babyproof.

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When Can I Stop Baby-Proofing the House?

At 5 years of age, you can start removing babyproofing in stages. This will depend on your child’s abilities, maturity, and age. There’s no set age for removing safety measures, but a parent can usually tell when their children are mature enough to open drawers and walk downstairs without harm.

Here are when I de-child proofed certain items. Remember, there’s no set-in-stone age when you should start doing it. It will depend on your kid.

Safety Gates

baby gate

Safety gates keep children from climbing upstairs and falling downstairs. They also keep children from entering areas that might not be safe to explore.

In my family, we used safety gates to block off the kitchen, as that was much easier than putting childproof locks on all of the doors and drawers.

We kept those gates in place until we knew both of our children were trustworthy enough to stay out of the cabinets. That happened around age five.

Sharp Corners

baby eating a table corner

My living room has a brick fireplace that has very sharp corners. I purchased safety bumpers that I kept in place until my youngest was about six years old.

I could have removed them a couple of years earlier, but I felt safer with protected corners.

Anchored Furniture

Parents must anchor furniture to the wall if there is any danger of a child climbing it. A child can easily become crushed under a bookcase or an armoire.

Even as children get older, there is no reason to remove the anchoring from these furniture pieces. This is the type of babyproofing that protects everyone in the family.

Poison and Medicine

baby proofed cabinet doors

Poisons, chemicals, and medicines must be securely locked away. Ideally, they will be in a cabinet that is far too high for young children to reach.

Like anchored furniture, there is no reason to remove safety locks on items such as these even when children get older.

However, you may find that it’s frustrating to work around the safety locks for items you must use often.

If you feel you have to remove them, wait until your children are old enough to understand the dangers of these items. They should be school-aged at a minimum.

Breakable Valuables

You need to have anything delicate, valuable, and meaningful put away in a secure location as your baby learns to crawl, pull to stand, and walk.

Once your toddler can walk without wobbling, you can consider putting a few of those items back on display.

Make sure your child can also understand that these items are not toys. For that reason, you might want to wait until they are four or five.

Other Items

Here are some other items to consider de-babyproofing (in stages):

  • Small choking hazards: When your child is no longer putting everything into their mouth.
  • Sharp coffee table corners: When they are more balanced on their feet. May want to consider leaving it on in play rooms or other areas kids are active in.
  • Drugs (of any kind): NEVER!
  • Swimming pools: Never. You would be surprised how many kids are lost to swimming pools each year.
  • Guns: NEVER!
  • Power tools and other heavy equipment: When they’ve shown that they can follow proper safey procedures.
  • Valuables and things you care about: NEVER!

Pro Tip
Remember that removing safety measures will depend heavily on the kid. Some children mature quicker than others.

You may have a child you never need outlet covers for, but then turn around and have another one who’ll be trying to stick anything they can find into outlets.

Key Takeaways

De-babyproofing a house is almost more difficult than babyproofing in the first place. It’s mostly a matter of determining your child’s maturity.

What are your thoughts? How old do you think your child should be before you start removing babyproofing measures? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Around school age (5 years of age) is when you can start slowly removing some of your childproofing items. This is not a hard and fast rule, so you’ll need to tailor this to your kids.

You can remove baby gates whenever your child is old enough to understand not to do the thing the baby gate was trying to keep them from doing (i.e., keep them away from stairs or chemicals). For those reasons, baby gates might not be removed until the child is around school age, at a minimum.