I used to think that baby proofing a home meant going to extreme, even absurd lengths to protect babies from harm. I saw it as one of those ways companies take advantage of well meaning parents. I’m sure there is some of that exploitation going on, but one thing I’m positive of is once baby is mobile he will get into everything. I say he, because between my son and my daughter Lawson is definitely the one who gets into the most trouble.
Both of my twins are constantly exploring and scavenging. They find cords especially irresistible. They open whatever they can and have a keen sense for destruction. I first noticed this when I realized every time I assemble a toy for them, they seem to instinctively tear it apart. They also will put absolutely anything in their mouth. Unless you want to watch them like a hawk and spend your days constantly pulling things out of their hands, baby proofing is an absolute necessity.
Why Baby Proof?
I wanted to be able to take the babies into my office and watch them while I work, but I found that the room was not at all conducive to leaving babies on their own. I was always needing to get up and move them away from some equipment, or putting Blu-rays back on the shelf, stopping them from eating trash… In the rest of the house, though some places were baby proofed, the twins were still getting into trouble in new ways. Finally, we got some help from Sara’s Dad, who came over to finish up some of the kitchen cabinets and I worked on making my office as baby friendly as possible. Here are six easy ways to make your house roam-able.
Use Doors To Your Advantage
The first thing to do is confine your babies to safe areas of the house. This is done easiest with a play yard, but babies want to move around a lot and will cry when confined to to small a space for too long. If you use doors as a way to corral the little ones you can delay changing some parts of the house and prioritize the biggest problem areas. Lawson and Gwendolyn are usually able to roam from the kitchen/dining area to the living room and the playroom. Upstairs they can safely move from the nursery to my office.
Cleaning floors often is a must. mopping and vacuuming will keep dust and debris from the babies and it will keep you focused on what is on the floor. If anything needs to be moved, you can take care of it before it becomes a problem. Babies love pulling things off of any shelves at floor level. If you can, replace open shelves with closed cabinets. Otherwise, find a way to move loose items you don’t want to get any drool on
You can deter little ones and keep them away from hazardous areas by using furniture to redirect them. We use chairs, a hamper converted into a toy box, and a play yard to barricade potential problem areas. chairs without legs and ottomans work best. We do this to keep cords out of reach. Babies will go for cords with determination and focus. Put cords away when possible, but when that is not practical, consider concealing with furniture, or cabinets.
Lock cabinets and drawers
Lock Cabinets and drawers or baby proof them. This is absolutely essential to your sanity, if not the baby’s safety. We tried magnet operated cabinet/drawer locks, but they prooved irritating and unreliable. It’s a little bit of extra work, but I recommend the kind that latches from inside. Screw the fixtures in and you can open just enough to apply pressure and release the latch. This type is very effective.
Stair gates are essential for the top and bottom of the stairs if you have any. This may also serve as an obstruction when you don’t have a door or a piece of furniture to effectively seal off a danger zone. But babies can and will climb stairs and they will fall if not monitored. a gate at the bottom and at the top of the stairs is the only way to be assured your child is not attempting the climb while you are not looking.
Outlets are a problem later. We haven’t encountered it yet, but you do need to cover them to avoid injuries. There are all kinds of covers for different budgets. as you choose which ones you want to use, keep in mind how tenacious small children can be. Make sure the cover you are using does not present a choking hazard.
We also considered hard floors and actually got padding to cover some marble tile. Lawson leads with his head and smacks his head around a lot, but we let him loose on the hardwood anyway. We used a gate at one point to go around the fire place, but it was loose and caused more problems than it solved. One other important note is that dressers, changing tables, dividers, etc. should be bolted to the wall. Usually, the assembly kit will provide materials and instructions to do so. This is more of an issue with toddlers than babies.
Do you have any other helpful pointers for baby and child safety? Let me know in the comments.