When you're renting an apartment, you are always careful to not cause intentional damage to the property -- you could lose your damage deposit when your lease ends. However, when you have a baby, you need to find solutions to keep baby safe from harm. Many of these require cosmetic altering, leaving nail holes, tape residue, or scratched paint in their wake. Here are some ideas for baby proofing your rental apartment without causing any property damage. 

Start safe. 

When you are going to bring a baby home, many parents start looking for apartments in the area with more space to store baby gear and a to create a nursery. Your baby-proofing job will be easier if you start with a safe canvas. Choose a home with good locks on the windows and doors, secure screens, and carpeting or area rugs. You can also contact the owners about the possibility of lead paint. Does the rental come with window treatments? Check to make sure that long cords are able to be stored on the treatment -- otherwise, express concern over the hazard to your potential landlord and explain you'll need to install a hook to keep the cords out of the way of baby. If there is a staircase or balcony, check the distance between railing posts to make sure baby does not have the chance to fall. 

Don't forget to ask the landlord if other residents on the property smoke. If they do, make sure the ventilation of the common areas and the apartments themselves is adequate and that all windows open. Second-hand smoke increases the risk of a baby dying from SIDS. Check smoke alarms to make sure they are all functional. 

Make it safer.

After you've chosen a suitable apartment, now you have some other baby proofing tasks again. Here are some ideas:

Secure your cupboard doors with elastic bands. If the cupboard holds medications or cleaners, consider using a padlock to completely prevent against accidents. Normally, you can secure a cupboard with attached clips or magnet closures, but these will damage the cupboards. External measures are the best compromise.

Get pressure mounted baby gates to block off bathrooms or stairs. More permanent gates are available for parents, but these need to be mounted to the wall, which is not suitable for rentals. However, sometimes pressure gates are not safe for staircases, so you may want to contact your landlord about the need for a more permanent solution. 

Check the door handles. Some handles can be covered with plastic to prevent escape. However, other handles are more tricky. If your landlord does not agree to installing a chain lock on your door, you might want to place sensor that notifies you if the door has been opened. This way, your child cannot leave the house undetected. 

Avoid buying tall bookshelves or dressers if you are not able to secure them to the wall. Babies can pull these over on top of themselves. Instead, use freestanding, wide shelves and three-drawer dressers or wardrobes that have wide, secure bases. 

If the windows don't have reliable locks, lay dowels or tension rods in the slider to prevent your child from opening them. A screen is often not enough to keep a child from falling. 

Make safe choices. 

The other part of baby-proofing is working well with your space. In your rental, make sure that you don't place a crib or dressing table underneath a window. Secure flatscreen TVs to their bases to keep them from being pulled down on to a child. Making basic, safe decisions when furnishing your home can make the difference when preventing tragedy.