Who knew a living room could be so dangerous? Baby-proofing Tips For Your Home
As I watched my son start to crawl for the first time a few weeks ago, the song lyrics my mother used to sing to me before leaving a party popped in my head, “The party’s over… It’s time to say goodbye.” Gone are the days of placing my little one on his activity mat to be entertaining by a musical light-up star and walking out of the room for a moment, only to return and find him still lying in the same spot on his mat, content with flailing his limbs to the music.
Now if I leave the room for a moment, I return to find my son pulling books off of our bookshelf or trying to reprogram the pvr by pressing every button he can find. (I swear that babies are born with an internal magnet that directs them to every single thing in a room they are NOT supposed to touch. I don’t know how many times Grayson has been surrounded by dozens of fun toys to play with but instead, he manages to find the remote control and start ordering video on demand movies!)
Before your baby is born, you plan on making sure your house is safe for your little one but as soon they can move, you find out very quickly there is still a lot of work to be done to your home; a home once thought of as a safe haven and now slowly revealing itself to be a death trap for children! Lol.
Every day my son if finding new ways to possibly hurt himself and so I thought I’d share a few ideas that may help those soon-to-be moms out there avoid some of the stresses I’ve dealt with over the last few weeks. There are the obvious ones like put away cleaning products and placing any small items out of reach but here are a few more, and possibly not-so-common, ideas to help keep your child (and your sanity) intact when mobility starts.
1. Baby Gates!!! I can’t stress to you enough how important these wonderful inventions are. They easily limit the amount of space your little one is able to explore and the smaller the space, the easier it is to monitor what he gets himself into. Also they are great to block off shelves with many items that your child would just love to get their hands on! They can be expensive so I highly recommend buying them used, especially the solid plastic ones shown here as they are virtually indestructible.
2. Hide loose cords and wires. I can’t take credit for this idea (thanks Lara!) but it’s a great one. If there are any loose cords running alongside the wall, simply buy some white duct tape at the dollar store and tape the wires to your baseboards. Since they are usually white, you don’t really notice the tape and your child no longer notices the chords they so desperately want to pull and chew on!
3. Borrow a toddler: What? I know this sounds crazy but if you are unsure how baby proof your house ACTUALLY is, a toddler will be able to show you in about 5 minutes. I had my best friend and her one and a half year old daughter over a couple of weeks ago and she showed me oh, so many things that were unsafe in my living room and kitchen. Within seconds, she found the olive oil bottle, which I thought was cleverly hidden behind a box, a loose cord sticking out from behind my television as well as the dog food which I completely forgot was still accessible. It simply amazes me what children see that we don’t…they are incredible!
4. Put baby proof latches on the cupboards — not just any latches — magic latches! For years, I’ve been going over to friend’s houses who have children and every time, I’ve had to ask them to please open the cupboard doors for me because they have installed those annoying childproof plastic latches on them. I don’t know about you, but I think they could also be marketed and used to keep adults out of cupboards full of junk food. I can never figure out how to open them (which makes me feel VERY special!) so I was concerned as to how I would secure my own cupboards at home without also locking myself out of them.
I spoke with some friends and it turns out there are these really cool new magnets you can install on the backs of your cupboard doors that prevent children from accessing them. Basically there is a magnetic key that you simply have to place on the front of the cupboard door in order to unlock them. If you don’t have the key, they won’t open! Brilliant…just make sure to keep the key out of reach of the children (don’t cleverly hide it behind a box or something!)
5. Baby proof your animals. Unfortunately there is nothing you can buy that you can throw over your cats and dogs so they don’t get pulled, poked and hit by your child but you can make sure to protect both your baby and your pets with some help. We have a dog and a cat and they are on opposite ends of the spectrum regarding their tolerance and fear levels with our son. Our 22-pound cat, Leonard, lies next to Grayson and lets him pull and play with his tail for 20 minutes, loving every moment of it.
Our 90-pound Rotti X dog, Indie, is terrified of her own shadow so she is constantly moving from one end of the room to the other to avoid Grayson at all costs. Due to the dog’s fear issues, we’ve been concerned what would happen if Grayson ever cornered her or scared her. We’re always in the same room when the pets and Grayson are together, but sometimes you need to leave the room for a moment. So, we invested in a Superyard XT which my husband describes as the “ultimate fighting ring for babies”.
It sort of looks like a baby jail but it’s really useful to place your child in with some fun toys if you have to leave the room for a second. Not only does it keep your child from getting into things he shouldn’t, but it also creates a buffer between your child and the pets, so you don’t have to worry about your little one pulling doggie’s tail or ears. We all love our pets and like to think they would do anything to hurt us or our children but they’re still are animals which means they can react if they are scared or hurt. Hopefully our dog will one day warm up to Grayson the same way our cat has (really, our cat is just a huge attention hog and so any form of touch is good, even if it’s tail pulling and hitting.)
I’ve realized that baby proofing is a work in progress as our son becomes more and more mobile, so I hope these tips will help get you started off on the right foot. And if anyone has any more tips on making our house safer, I would LOVE to hear them.
Coupon tip of the week: Just a really quick one to remind everyone that there are alot of coupons out there to find but it’s important to make sure to leave some behind for others to use. If you find a coupon display at a store, only take what you will use and maybe a couple for trading so that others can also reap the savings!