View Full Version : realistic babyproofing
08-16-2002, 07:31 AM
How much babyproofing is really necessary? Maybe I'm just ignorant or inexperienced (DS not crawling yet), but all those catalogs & articles would have you spending thousands of $ buying everything under the sun. Won't I see DS as he moves around our apt?
08-16-2002, 10:35 AM
The reality is that babyproofing is an ongoing thing. You will never finish, and you will never have as much as those elaborate places say you need.
First you need to determine where you will let the baby have free roam. The entire house? A few rooms? All but a few rooms? The downstairs? The upstairs? Etc. You will need gates or doors to block off areas you do not want the child to go (eg: bathrooms, kitchen, basements, stairs, home theatre area, computer area etc.). Next you need to remove the obviously dangerous stuff (glass, small items, cords, garbage cans, etc.) from the areas where baby will be. This may just be as simple as putting things in cabinets, moving them to a higher shelf or into a non-baby area.
After all this, at minimum you need to cover your outlets with the special covers, get baby-proof locks for all cabinets you don't want baby in and replace the doorstops with plastic ones that don't have caps or wire springs. You may also want to strap heavy furniture or bookcases to the wall.
Once your baby has been in these areas for awhile, you may want to expand it's area, or add other items that you think you need. Don't get it all at once, just do the basics and be prepared to add on when necessary.
08-16-2002, 12:09 PM
You will be surprised what they are attracted to, and what they ignore! I just cannot babyproof our home enough to replace supervision. However, I would say once he starts crawling, you will see real quickly what you need to get. We already had two baby gates in our possession, just not installed. We do not have outlet covers, because most are behind things and he isn't at the point of sticking stuff into things yet (9 mo.), but we had to raise our speakers off of the ground b/c he is fascinated with wires. He's also fascinated with shiny things like knobs, & banging cabinets, so every cabinet has a latch. We have a unique and difficult floor plan, so we really have not spent all that much, as most won't work for us. I did block off our kitchen area totally b/c it has cat bowls and a cat door to the garage. Some of the other things I just watch him and try the philosophy that he will soon bore of it if I don't make a huge fuss.
Mommy to Jonah
I totally agree about supervision and about not making a big fuss over some things. It is unrealistic to spend $100's of dollars to 'babyproof' your home with the expectation of not having to watch the kid at all - unfortunately I know too many people with who hold this belief - and it seems that is how some companies advertise their wares. My child figured out how to remove the outlet covers before she was 12mo and has been able to open the cabinet/drawer locks since before she was 18mo. She's very crafty, but she needed the supervision - the babyproofing alone would not have cut it. I agree that you should just get the basics and see what else you need to do as your child grows and develops. I am a firm believer in letting your child know when you don't want them to touch something (it's irritating to have to keep saying 'no' but I believe all kids need to learn what that word means). Not every home you visit with your child will be 'proofed' and I think it is much better to just do the basic childproofing at home and teach your child not to touch other stuff and respond to you when you say 'no' (if you need to leave them alone, put them in the pack-n-play while you are out of sight - until of course they figure out how to escape that, 18mo for my dd :)) so that they don't go crazy in an un-childproofed home. I removed any items I didn't want broken from my rooms and I also used gates to keep my child out of certain areas. Finally, I have installed locks at the top of the doors that I don't want any child access to, like my cleaning closet. Other than the gates, I probably spent less than $25 on outlet plugs, cabinet locks, door locks, etc. so it is possible to childproof your home without going crazy! HTH - good luck to you...
08-16-2002, 04:37 PM
You guys are right, supervision is still mandatory! All the stuff I suggested before is just to avoid the obvious disasters, but Baby will still find things that you don't expect and will have to be pulled away from. We have windowsills that are about 6 inches wide, and guess what my daughter learned to climb onto recently? She was walking on the one for our front window, giving the neighbors a show, before I pulled her off a few seconds later. How can I babyproof this? Put furniture in front of EVERY windowsill? No, just scold her and teach her that it's not acceptable.
Even if your child is not putting things into holes now, it is amazing how quickly they figure out what the outlets are for. They watch you plug in the vacuum cleaner once or twice and then next thing you know, they are trying to plug in the end of your computer mouse or some other cord-like thing they got their hands on. If I did not have the outlet covers (the kind you twist to push the plug in) my daughter would have electrocuted herself long ago, and not because I don't watch her!
The other thing is that you do NEED an area where you can put the child without direct supervision, even if it is a small area. Otherwise what happens when you need to cut up food in the kitchen or go to the bathroom? Give the child independent playtime? We have 2 play areas in the house that are COMPLETELY bare except for her toys. There are outlets, but we have covers on them and if my daughter ever figured the twisty part out (or even got close) I would replace them with blank face plates.
Incidentally, I went nuts doing the outlet covers. I searched the internet and found the Safety First ones for $1.75 each. I bought 20 and installed them all. $35 to cover all the exposed outlets in your home isn't too bad. I also replaced all the doorstops in the entire house for $1 each (3 in a $2.95 bag at Home Depot). Sure, after the drawer and cabinet locks I have probably spent $100 on baby-proofing (not including the gates) but that's WAY cheaper than the home services.
08-16-2002, 09:09 PM
Just to add - before you buy much in the way of babyproofing stuff, check out your local consignment/used baby stuff stores. You can frequently pick up a lot of stuff very cheap. Obviously, you'd want stuff that's fairly recent manufacture and in good shape, but I scooped up tons of outlet covers, a couple of gates, a VCR plug, a bunch of straps for tethering bookcases etc. to the wall, and a number of other items for only a few dollars.
We did baby proofing as an evolving project (she's sixteen months and it's still evolving). She's still supervised all the time, but the various latches and covers and whatnot just mean that I don't necessarily have to drop whatever I'm doing to run over and grab her away from something every fifteen seconds.
However, I totally agree with the other posters that you shouldn't completely "lock down" the entire environment. "No!" is such an important concept to learn, as much as it will frazzle you along the way.
08-26-2002, 05:59 PM
Buy little bits of things at a time. Half the items I bought or considered didn't match our house... By the time I found outlet covers that would match our screw pattern, I decided that we didn't need any anyway. :p
Some of my cabinets have doors too narrow to use normal latches. In those cases I just made sure there was nothing dangerous in the cabinet.
A lot of the babyproofing I did used "normal" items - for example, changing the door handle on one closet to a locking front-entry type.
I do recommend strapping any bookcases or furniture that is at all tippy to the wall - but then, I live in earthquake country so it is a good idea regardless. I didn't use special hardware - I used angle brackets and screws, etc.
My daughter hasn't been too much of a problem. She has her own bookshelf; the others have books packed too tightly for her to get easily. In some cases we did a very non-standard baby diversion - we put boxes of her toys in front of a troublesome area (for example a bookcase that might be climbable) which does a remarkably good job at keeping some areas out of reach.
I didn't want to hear a lot of "no" from her, so I used instead the phrase "leave it." I like that it's clearer and more action oriented - "do this" rather than "don't do that". Biggest attractive nuisance: the dog dishes.
08-26-2002, 08:08 PM
LOL! Sarah's favorite thing to get into is the dog's water bowl. If I realize I haven't heard her in a while, I look in the kitchen and sure enough there she is, hands in the water bowl, dripping wet, surrounded by a small sea of water, looking incredibly pleased with herself!
I try to remember to put the water out of reach when we are in the kitchen area, but a mom can only remember so much and as far as trouble goes, this is pretty benign!
08-31-2002, 01:11 PM
Let me reinforce the idea of doing something about your doorstops. We never had this problem personally, but a number of my friends have caught their children with the small white rubber piece from the doorstop in their child's mouth! It's easy and cheap to fix: simply remove them or Superglue them to the post. If you remove them, be prepared for some scuffed up doors!
SAHM to Eric (9/5/00) and Robin (who is evidently NEVER COMING OUT!)
08-31-2002, 06:58 PM
Actually as I mentioned in my post above you can replace the coil type doorstops with solid white plastic doorstops. They don't look too attractive but they work and have no sharp or detachable parts (althought they act as great handles for babies learning to open and shut doors).
We got these at Home Depot (bag of 3 for $3) in the regular section for doors (not the babyproofing section).
When should we start baby proofing? I have twins, 12 wks old, and a dog. ; ) There seems to be so much to think about. I'm a SAHM right now. That's a great point about going to the bathroom, or anything that takes away direct supervision even for a moment.
What should we do first? We don't have a huge house, but there seems to be lots of 'stuff' everywhere - book cases, end tables, etc. Most of the outlets are covered. I never would have thought about the door stops. All ours have the white caps. Thanks for the tip!!
In terms of a small area free of anything for the kids to play in, how small would be suitable? Could I block off the hallway? or do they need more room?
For gates, are the pressure-style ok? or do we need the kind that screw into the walls? I'm thinking the screw kind would be best for the top and bottom of the stairs, and perhaps the pressure type to move around to block off the room that I'm in with the babies.
Is there anything else I should be thinking about? Is it common for book cases to tip over? Wow. It's alot to think about! esp. with 2 crawling babies! I'm glad I have a little while to prepare!
twin girls 7.20.02
charlotte & else
10-14-2002, 06:34 PM
You don't really need to babyproof until a child is mobile. And babyproofing isn't something you do once and then it's over. It happens in stages. When they start to roll and crawl, you babyproof with gates, lock your cabinets and everything up to about knee level. When they start pulling up, you babyproof to about hip level. :) When they start climbing you babyproof everything in sight!
I would make as large an area as possible "baby safe". This is for YOUR sanity. I have made almost my entire first floor baby safe. I can just put Sarah down and let her roam and I don't have to watch her every second. This is a trememdous relief to me. I can actually cook, wash dishes and not panic when I don't hear her.
10-15-2002, 09:24 PM
It's not common for bookcases to tip over spontaneously (unless you live in earthqualke country like I do :-) ) but it is common for climbing babies to treat them like ladders and pull on them to stand up, and this could cause them to tip.
Until your babies are capable of rolling across the room you don't need to confine them, they're okay on a blanket on the floor as long as there is nothing in obvious reach. How big a space should you have? Well in the beginning it doesn't necessarily have to be too large, but one thing you will discover is that the more mobile the baby, the faster they get bored with an area. Start with a small area, but plan on expanding it in the future. We took my daughter's bedroom (at the end of the hall) and the playroom next to it and blocked it off. Two rooms seems to be satisfying her now (she's 23 months) but she much prefers to run around the entire bottom floor of the house. I let her run around unattended for an amount of time proportional to how babyproofed an area is.
If you are totally desperate and HAVE to put your babies down unattended you can always put them in the crib, strap them into a stroller or a high chair or use a play pen. But this is a TEMPORARY solution, not a permanent one. You will definitely need more space sooner rather than later as your babies stretch their wings.
Pressure style gates are not considered to be safe as babies have been known to push them out. Unless you will be moving the gate constantly, get screw in gates.
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.