Your Baby Proofing Experiences and Advice?

Category: Baby

Yes, Grace is almost at that stage where she will be able to unleash her energy upon the world in a much more mobile way.  People ask, "Is she crawling yet?"  And I tell them that I keep pushing her little butt down when she tries to scoot around.  (My sister, the wise mother, advised this.)  However, she will probaby thwart us soon by discovering her legs and then I will be running after her for the rest of my life.

I know that I'm going to regret teaching her how to open and shut my dresser drawer.  But it was raining, she has a runny nose, and we were bored.  I believe the phrase "we were bored" was the precursor to most of what got ME into trouble during MY childhood.


So, instead of building a little armoured bubble that she must stay in at all times (how tempting), we are frantically putting together a baby-proofing plan for the house.  Nothing like the last minute, eh?

If she is anything like me, I am in for an interesting ride.  i think they put the Christmas tree into my playpen one year to keep it safe from me. You can almost see the wheels turning in that little brain.  "Hmm.  Today this drawer.  Tomorrow?  I GET THE CAR KEYS!!!"



What are your recommendations?  Things that you found you couldn't live without and others that you thought were worthless?  Brand names?  Purchasing decisions?

We'll obviously need baby gates.  And wall socket plugs (?)  And cabinet locks. And toilet locks.  And..and...ACK!  There is so much information about this out there!  It is really overwhelming.

So, what say you all?

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We use the outlet plugs and something that encases our power strips. We also have cabinet locks in the kitchen. We don't have stairs, so no baby gates, but we did use a larger mesh barrier to block off an archway into a room our kids didn't need to be in--only problem is you have to step over it--not easy if you're carrying a squirmy child. No toilet locks, never needed them. No bumper for the coffee table. Nothing guarding the stove--the girls learned at an early age to stay away from the range. Just use some common sense--the baby-proofing industry has gotten a little out-of-control. Just make sure Grace doesn't figure out how to make that bottom drawer into a step.

Babyproofing is really an on-going process. Each child has different interests. A few things are worth doing before they figure things out -- like covering the obvious and most accessible outlets, locking a few cabinets and gating the stairs, but after that, just keep an eye on your child and see what she gets into.

I have one that required us to lock the toilets. The other two have never paid any attention. I have one that required us to lock the bathroom cabinets. The other two never paid any attention. If I had cabinet doors on my upper cabinets, I would have needed cabinet locks for those with my climbing child. In the end, I just watched her all the time and lost a few dishes.

Once you have your house child-proofed for Grace, some other kid will come over and find something that she's never noticed to at all.

No advice, but I gotta say she sure is pretty! :)

Sit down on the floor (which is about her level) and look at all the interesting shiny sharp things that you see. Those have to be put up higher, of course. But getting down on her level is an excellent way to see as she sees. Both of my sons bumped their heads on the coffee table when they were little, so I do recommend bumpers on sharp edges. Also, watch out for tablecloths...little guys and gals have a penchant for pulling them over. The best child proofing is a watchful parent, and it seems as though you're definitely watchful!

By the way, she's just gorgeous!

A couple of things:

Check for poisonous houseplants. Everything babies get in their hands goes straght into their mouths.

Check for cords hanging down babies can use to pull things like alarm clocks onto their heads. Remember never to leave things like irons on ironing boards with the cord dangling.

Grace will be teething soon if she isn't already, so that means she'll be gnawing on everything. Coffee table edges were popular with my kids. Make sure there's nothing accessible which has a finish that could be bad for her and also don't leave anything accessible that can't stand to have a few teeth marks and drool on it!

I crawled around on the floor and looked at everything my daughter could reach. It sounds kind of silly, but it worked. We used a baby gate to keep her out of the kitchen altogether. I put in plastic covers for all of the electrical outlets, and I got a kid fence for the fireplace. She still managed to get a few minor bumps and bruises, but nothing major, thankfully.

Anchoring bookcases has been invaluable...our daughter (1st child) never really climbed them, but our son was ALL over them. Baby gates in a lot of spots is fantastic...we have ones that are removable and even thought they're all down now we still have the hangers so they can go up in a flash if someone with a baby visits.
Outlet plugs (kind of a no brainer) and lots of drawer guards in the kitchen (although we tried a bunch of versions before we found ones we like).
We never did bumper guards around furniture...the kids seem to pick up pretty quickly on what hurt and if they were really horrible (we had a steel and marble table with LOTS of sharp edges) we simply removed it (ours went on the front porch).

Anchor bookcases and CD/DVD/Video Towers.

Also, we had to anchor our water bottle cooler and get a child-proof spigot for it. We moved all the cleaners and poisonous stuff up high, even though we also locked the cabinets.

Oh, anchor your TV. Falling TVs can be nasty.

Make sure all your pots and pans have the handles turned in while you're cooking on the stove. It was a hard habit for me to break.

Looks like most of the previous comments have covered it. Some babies are different in terms of their curiosity/peskiness and what things they are interested in. Ours has largely kept out of drawers but loves to spin the knobs on our gas stove, so we got knob covers. Also, that gray foam pipe insulation is an incredibly frugal way to guard sharp corners instead of buying the rubber guards!

all suggestions so far are good. here's another---when my three were little (and they were all little at the same time, since the oldest wasn't quite 4 when the third came along), i found the best way to keep them away from dangerous things was to give them plenty of non-dangerous things to keep them busy. your dresser drawer is a good start (maybe a bumper on the inside edge, so it doesn't shut all the way on little fingers). if she can open it, close it, pull everything out of it and put it back in, then she won't worry too much about the drawers she's not allowed to open. if you keep a low kitchen cabinet full of wooden spoons, old pans, mismatched tupperware, etc, then grace will have a cupboard to play in and won't bother with the off-limits ones quite as much. baby-proof within reason, but put your energy into keeping little hands busy, and teaching limits (nothing wrong with a good, old-fashioned NO now and then). i know parents who had homes as secure as fort knox, and their kids still got into things and had their share of bumps and bruises. don't be careless, but don't obsess.

and my word, that kid is cute.

She really is cute. Let her explore as much as you safeley can.

Our biggest boo-boo so far has been oven door related. This was a bad burn. He was running and fell next to it and it wasn't tempered glass. And then the boo-boos from climbing on things like tables and chairs and then *crash* he's down before we know it. Every baby is different! You'll see as you go.

ok ! i remember ! ha,ha ! it works ! she is beautiful

Anchoring furniture is a must, anything with drawers that can be used as a step stool. Also open oven doors can be climbed on causing the whole stove to tople upon the child. Better safe than sorry. We live in earth quake territory so anchoring all of the furniture is the way to go.

Kid # 1 broke a collarbone because I set her on the counter so we could bond while doing dishes. Bouncy seat velcro strap got loose, and even though I was 1 foot away, she hit the floor. Later I read the package, never put bouncy seat on anything but the floor! This same child later made her tall dresser into a ladder and pulled the whole thing onto her head. She is still an A student.(9th grader) Kid # 2 had to get stitches in tongue after falling off chair he climed onto. This was not a fun experience in the ER. Later he was jumping off the stairs and broke his foot.(Two stairs, which were carpeted, age 3). I have saved his lovely little blue cast for his memory box. He figured out how to unbabyproof all the drawer latches within one week of installation. We didn't cover all the outlets, and have always left the trash out in the kitchen. I put bells on the front and back doors, since we lived on the 3rd floor of a Chicago boxcar apt. and escaping would've been bad. We taught our children to hit the floor when they heard "firecrackers". (We lived in Humboldt Park at the time.) NO!, and swift consequences are two good babyproofing techniques. In the grand scheme of things, our two were fairly mellow. We did put a latch way up high outside the bathroom door, so they would quit throwing whole rolls of TP into the bowl.
Now that both are teenagers, we look back at those toddler years. Both ages have a lot in common- pushing the limits, exploration, mood swings,ability to trash rooms, love-hate relationship with parents. Both toddlers and teenagers look like angels when they sleep. We still pray, sing a song and tuck them in bed every night. They request it, even if we forget. Life is GOOD! Your daughter is a doll.

I wonder how my generation survived without all of these safety suggestions. Maybe we were just tougher.

POPS --30--

I think that everyone else has covered what I would say, but in case any of it has been missed:
* keep is simple
* don't spend a lot of money because you may not need much (we have three gates, five cabinet locks, and one drawer lock)
* check your cabinets before you invest in a whole lot of cabinet locks, many don't work on all types of cabinets
* think in terms of zones: Miss P doesn't go into the living room, dining room, or library without us there, so those rooms don't really have anything baby-proofed; she has free reign on the second floor (nursery, master bedroom, & main bath), kitchen, & family room, so in those rooms we've installed outlet guards and removed anything too breakable
* you can teach your child to avoid coffee table corners, hearths, and the like; Miss P runs into our glass breakfast table from time to time, but she's learning ;)
* scars build character

And, finally, once again I have to say how darn cute your daughter is. Man, she is a doll baby!

Just 2 more things that weren't mentioned that worked for us. We used bungee cords (loop them around a couple times) for file drawers. Most racoons can't figure them out on garbage cans, most kids can't deal with them either. Tho there are always exceptions...
Also, those magnetic cabinet locks you mentioned once before Grace was born, I think. I forget what they are called. They work great, for the most part. You put the magnet up high where the child can't reach and s/he is amazed that you can open the door and they can't. Pencil around where the magnet goes on the outside of the door, or you'll waste time trying to find it. One caveat---don't use them on single door cabinets. Once in awhile when you close the door, the little thingee (sorry, I'm not mechnically inclined). shifts out of postion and then you can't open it even with the magnet! Maybe there is a way around this, as I said, we weren't good with stuff like that. We only used them on cabinets with 2 doors, so if one locked up like that we could open the other and reach in and around to unlatch it.
Good luck! This is such an exhausting time, keeping up with them, but so much fun too!

Babyproofing suggestions...gosh, where do I start? I have 5 sons + 1 daughter (the 'caboose') and I could write a book...but, my main advice is: you can never be prepared for the unexpected. Take these examples:
hubby & i busy w/work on new house, boys playing, all in 1 (huge) empty bedrm, all of a sudden, a yell! Turns out son #2 (all of 5-1/2) got the bright idea of lying underneath the baby (10 months) crib, kicking at the the delight of his brothers...and WHAM! the crib bottom tips & baby rolls & is 1/2 in & 1/2 out...

Back up a few yrs:
child decides to use dresser drawers as steps!! Thankfully room is so small, that when dresser tips frontwards, it catches on bed, therefore saving child from crushing...we ended up bolting the back of any shelving units to hubby's dear friend thought we were insane...till he had kids of his own.

My honest advice is this: worry about the big things, the things which can cause injury to child. And don't underestimate the ability of children to 'catch on' when it is in their own interest. Try John Rosemond's columns. Remember your goal: raising civilized people who leave the nest, hopefully confident in their ability to cope. Let them advance in their usage of 'grown up' tools (dinner knives for one example) and you will see them magically metamorphise (sp?) one day as capable adults!

Baby gates and containment can be very helpful. I have twins and I never got finished installing the cabinet locks. We just kept them out of the kitchen unless we were in there; and then we had one drawer full of plastic ware that they were allowed access to. Put the cleaning products up high. Move some furniture to block routes to other danger zones. We blocked the opening between the foyer and living room with a couch for a while. A lot will depend on how active you kid is. Ours never went for the bathrooms, so we never considered toilet locks.

This is slightly off topic but I would separate my kids' toys into three boxes and put two boxes away. Every month or so I would put away the current batch of toys and pull out one of the other boxes - the novelty bought me many hours of time to work on nearby projects while the girls were busy playing with their "new" toys. Nothing fancy - blocks, pots and pans, stacking containers, etc.

I also kept a circulating supply of toys that were only used in the play pen - so it was never use as a punishment or confinement but instead was someplace interesting and different.

The only safety equipment we used were outlet plugs and baby gates on the steps.

Obviously you want to remove all household cleaners and put them on a high shelf, but also think about keeping things like diaper ointment and dish soap away from an exploring toddler. Another thought is to make sure your dressers are sturdy enough so they will not topple over when drawers are pulled out. Keep blind cords tucked away up high or use ones without cords – and make sure windows are locked! There also are devises that keep windows from opening very far when open. I have not tried them, but a friend swears by them! And, above all, do not leave her alone in a room, even for a second. Sounds obvious, but…..Good luck!

Hi Grace! Just thought I would tell you that we enjoyed seeing your Far Far today in Quito. :) You sure are cute!

I also agree with the commenter that said worry about the big stuff.

We anchor all our shelves/bookcases, have an oven door lock, outlet covers and most of the cabinets are locked (except for the ones with my smaller baking pans and plastic bowls). We also have hook-eye latches on our basement, linen closet and pantry doors (which is where the cleaners are).

Basically, I tend to group items that are either a poision, choking, crushing, cutting or burning hazard and lock them away.

We bought a lockable glass fronted cabinet for our stereo/vcr etc. from Ikea. Not too expensive at all, and actually looks decent. we dit it both to protect the equipment and to keep the kids from playing with the volume knobs and blasting their little ears out. Remote works through the glass.

Also, put your CDs up out of reach. We didn't, and lost a few CDs that way. Funny how they won't play when they have bite marks in them. I have such a hard time opening CDs I was amazed at how easily the kids could do it.

I noticed you had a really good looking gate posted but I have to tell you the one I (and all the rest of my fam and friends) love: The First Years Hands Free gate. It installs with tension instead of drilling into doorframes. For older houses you won't even need to buy the extra extender because our doorways are more narrow. The best part is that you step down onto a pedal (you've gotta put some weight onto it)and it swings open. Very easy and we've found it to be super sturdy. It's around $50 at Target and Amazon. You could also it and see if you get a better deal. Happy babyproofing!


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