When a new baby comes into your home, suddenly, many common household items seem like dangerous traps. Now you have to worry about locking toilet lids, covering electrical outlets, blocking off stairs, and securing cabinets.

It may seem like a daunting task, but if you take childproofing one step at a time, it's a pretty simple process. Childproofing experts say that most people can keep their babies and toddlers safe with just a few important devices.

Step one: Start with the things that can save your baby's life, says Jennifer Bright Reich, mother of two sons and author of The Babyproofing Bible. Start by taking an infant CPR class, she says. Next, create a fire escape plan for your family, and practice it one or two times a year. Also, make sure you have working smoke detectors with fresh batteries in your home.

Passive Babyproofing

Once you've covered the basic life-saving procedures, Reich says you can move onto what she calls passive babyproofing you do it once and it's done. This includes lowering the temperature of your water heater to 120ËaF to decrease the chance of burns. The temperature gauge should be located on the water heater itself. If your model doesn't have an actual temperature reading, here's a simple way to check the temperature of your water: Run the hot water until it's really hot, fill a coffee mug, and check the temperature with a meat thermometer

Your next stop probably involves some purchased items, so get ready for a trip to your local Wal-Mart or online baby store for safety gates, wall outlet protectors, cabinet-locking devices, and a few other safety gadgets.

The safety gates can help block off entire rooms, stairs, or fireplaces. You should always use a safety gate at the top and the bottom of the stairs, but be sure to use a wall-mounted device for this purpose rather than a pressure-mounted gate, says Reich. Gates needn't be expensive most cost around $30 to $40 but the wall-mounted versions will require installation, she notes.

More Safety Devices

You'll also need to cover your wall outlets to prevent curious kids from poking fingers, pencils, or toys where they shouldn't go. There are several types of devices available for this job, ranging from the simple plastic plugs that you insert into the wall to Reich's favorite: little gadgets that replace the existing face plate, and the covering slides to the side when you want to plug something in.

Cabinet-locking devices also come in several different versions (and at several price points), ranging from simple devices that slide through the cabinet handle to magnetized versions that require installation. Reich stresses, however, that the types of products found in bathroom and kitchen cabinets are very dangerous if ingested (especially dishwashing soap, cleaning products, and toiletries), so she stresses the importance of locking all cabinets, regardless of location.

Last but not least, consider these other devices that Reich feels are essential: a carbon dioxide detector, which you simply plug into a wall; toilet seat locks, which prevent toddlers from both playing and drowning in the toilet; and locks for the oven and fridge, which keeps little hands from opening a hot oven or a cold freezer.

Babyproofing Services

And if the thought of buying all these products and installing them yourself seems overwhelming, there's another option available: babyproofing services, such as those offered by Austin Babyproofing Company of Kyle, Texas. The company's services include a home-safety inspection, baby safety items for purchase, and installation of safety items if needed.