Child proofing your home can be very stressful if you don’t know what to expect and what to look for, but there are a few items that almost every parent will need. Those include electrical outlet protectors, gates, drawers and cabinet lockers, furniture anchors, and stove knob covers.
Some people prefer to baby-proof the house even before the baby is born, but it certainly wasn’t our case. We adapted the house as needed to provide a safe environment for our child based on her developmental stage.
I would like to share with you what we did to ensure her safety while still allowing her the freedom to play around the house.
We didn’t have space to set up a play room, so we had to make sure that most of the rooms were safe. The first change was to remove our center table from the living room. It was too big and the baby needed the space to crawl and eventually cruise without bumping on the corners.
It was that moment when our neat home became a lovely mess. 🙂
First steps: covering electrical outlets and setting up gates. We have three different types of gates. This first one is our favorite: its is very safe and our child hasn’t figured out how to open it. It is slightly more expensive but totally worth it.
This second gate, worked really well for a while, but it had to be replaced as soon as our inquisitive toddler was able to open it. We got around with it for a while using a twine but in a month or so she learned how to undo it too. Clever girl!
The third one is safe and so far toddler proof. It is less expensive but the downside is that it doesn’t have a door, so you have to put it in and out every time you need to go through. We use it on the way to the laundry room as we don’t need to access it very often.
There are many other types of gates with various size and prices – you just need to see what would work best for your home. In the end of this article there are few links that will help you to get started. They are examples of child proof items available in the Amazon website.
The electrical outlets can be protected with outlet plug covers, like the picture shows, but you may want to protect any wires coming out of it too. There are a couple of examples in the links below.
If you have furniture with sharp edges, such as center tables, where your baby will be crawling and cruising you should protect/cover the edges. We bought many different types of edge protectors, but ended up not using them. First, I was afraid that the sticky glue would damage my furniture, and in the end we decided to just remove anything unsafe out of the way.
The next step was to remove any small or breakable items out of our child’s reach. We also moved books and favorite decor because we knew our toddler was ready to eat them all – literally. For a while she would put everything in her mouth, so less around her was more piece of mind for us.
As she learned how to walk, a whole new world opened up for her and for us too! It was super exciting but it also brought a lot more room for her to get in trouble.
We put locks in almost all drawers and doors in the kitchen, just leaving a couple of drawers containing plastic tupperware unlocked for her enjoyment. Happy kids means messy house, sorry to tell you that.. 🙂
Those little things called toddlers keep on growing, so we had to continuously adapt the decoration. Right now, the bookshelf in our living room has only a few family photos on top and tons of kid’s books on the bottom.
When walking is not challenging enough anymore, the next step is to climb. They will climb on everything (at least mine does)! Besides climbing, they will figure out that they can use chairs and other piece of furniture to reach places that they normally wouldn’t. So, get ready to keep these areas safe too!
My mother-in-law was in the kitchen one day and suddenly we heard her screaming “Oh my gosh!” – J (1.5 years old at the time) figured out how to get on top of the dresser in her room by opening the drawers and using them as ladder. When her grandmother saw it, J was proudly standing on top of the furniture with the happiest smile ever. After that, we made sure that every furniture was securely attached to the wall.
Another very important thing if your kid has access to the kitchen is to protect the stove. We got two kinds of stove knob protectors and we liked both of them. Recently, J has figured out how to open the cover so we added a second protection with these red clippers* you see in the photos. We also have a secure latch for the oven. Luckily, our oven has a very good insulation and the outside doesn’t get too hot, so the main concern was if she was able to open the door. The latch works great for this case.
A good thing to remember is that kids do unexpected things and it takes only a minute looking away for them to get in trouble. So, it is better to be safe than sorry!
One final suggestion is to add protection to the doors – my toddler loves to close and open doors and got her fingers pinched a couple times until we added ‘door finger guards’. Another good item is a ‘door knob cover’ that won’t let them open or lock specific doors.
Other safety topics you should research are the crib setup and sleep position, curtains, and general chocking hazards.
Try to not get too overwhelmed with it, take the basic precautions and as your child develops and grows you will be able to adapt your home properly. If there are things you can’t adapt in the house, just make sure to be around them while they play so you have time to avoid any incident.
I hope this was helpful!
*Oct 18 2016: Just a quick update. The stove knob protector, we had a couple incidents with the red clippers. If they are not well positioned, when we open the oven door they snap out. A couple of times one of them fell inside the hot oven. I would not buy them again. The round ones are the best so far, although J can open them now if she really wants to.