Practical advice

Toddler and baby proofing your floors

mother and child

Once babies take their first steps, it’s only a (short) matter of time until they’re off and running, often at full speed. How do such little legs move so fast? That’s when it’s time for baby-proofing.

You already know to lock up medicines and protect electrical outlets, but baby-proofing your floor matters too. Little tumbles could become major wipe-outs while wee ones work on their balance. Before that happens, take the following, er, steps to make sure your floors are safe for the littlest members of the family.

Go low with carpeting

As in low pile. This means there’s less chance that small objects will hide in the carpet. Try styles like loop—there’s a reason many families choose these for their kids’ playrooms.

Shore up your stairs

Staircases are prime danger zones for small children. But don’t stop at installing baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. Add carpeting, a carpet runner, or non-skid step pads to make your stairs safer and less slippery, says Jay Martel, founder of the Child Proof Coach based in Connecticut in the United States who is an advanced, certified professional child-proofer.

Render your rugs immovable

Area rugs that slip and slide on ceramic or tile floors are a huge hazard for toddlers (and adults). Buy non-skid rug pads to slide under your rugs, or you can DIY and grab a caulking gun, turn the rug over, and apply a line of caulk every 15 centimetres or so. Let dry and place the rug right side up. The caulk will keep it from slipping.

Also, be sure that the edges and corners of rugs are flat to the floor, says Martel. “Use double-sided carpet tape to address any slight upturns.”

Get a grip

As in sandals with grips on the bottom. The rubber soles make sliding across slippery floors less likely. Socks with rubber grips also work.

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