When designing your home with a little one around, the easiest solution may seem to be padding every wall and corner. But that’s not necessary, says interior designer Genevieve Gorder, mother to 7-year-old Bebelle.

“We can’t foresee all of the pitfalls of life,” says Gorder, who lends her eye for design on HGTV, “But there are some easy things parents can do to ensure their home is safe for their newborn or young child.”

Ground rules

Have a newborn? Hang posters near the crib instead of glass or wooden-framed photographs and ensure that anything hanging over your little ones' bed or holding toys is made of soft material. For window treatments, parents should make sure the hardware screws are well-anchored to the wall and that the center is affixed.

“You can’t live in a bubble, but you have to think through all of the what ifs as you’re designing,” she says.

Avoiding tip-over

"Crucial for parents with little ones of any age," Gorder says, "is making sure TVs are properly mounted"—a growing problem that can harm children.

“Kids have got to skin their knees every once in awhile to learn not to fall. You’ve got to get a cootie to get some armor.”

A recent study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics suggested that, among children ages 1 to 3, between 2006 and 2008 there were 16,500 injuries and between 2008 and 2010 there were 19,200. Some instances of toppling TVs on children resulted in head and neck injuries, which can be fatal.

“The stands are really weak, and the weight distribution is very poor,” says Gorder, who points out mounting TVs is also astute, design-wise. 

"The base is never attractive—no one is ever like, ‘I love your TV base!’” she jokes. “It frees up a lot of surface area when you do away with the television.”

SAFE DESIGN: Gorder doesn’t believe that a safe home and a stylish interior are mutually exclusive.

Teaching toddlers

"Helping kids develop an appreciation for their home and teaching them how to be confident and smart in the space is as important as physical safety," Gorder adds. This refers to everything from keeping family heirlooms to discussing what to do in the event of an intruder entering the home or of a fire occurring.

“These are important things that children learn in school, but you also have to do it at home,” she says. It also means not padding sharp corners on counters and balustrades.

“I believe that kids have got to skin their knees every once in awhile to learn not to fall,” Gorder says. “I don’t believe in sterilizing a whole environment either. You’ve got to get a cootie to get some armor.”