Babyproofing…. such a weird concept to me.
Protect your child by locking up EVERYTHING imaginable and moving it out of his reach. It doesn’t seem so overwhelming when you’re in the pre-crawling or even crawling stages.
But once they walk, you realize “HOLY SHIT! There are hazards everywhere!“. I mean seriously!
To me, babyproofing is more like a managed protection spanning the range of “watching the energizer bunny constantly” to “lock everything away”.
Our challenge was….
wait, who am I kidding?
Our CHALLENGES (plural) were the following:
- a large staircase
- a zillion cabinets
- another zillion drawers
- a large house.
- a super active baby
That means hazards were EVERYWHERE.
So instead of going crazy, attempting to baby proof everything and then break down and cry because it is impossible, I took things a few steps at a time.
One thing I did have going for me was the fact that, as a stay at home mom with one child (or technically work from home, but since I only work during naptime/bedtime, I still consider myself a SAHM for the purposes of how much I get to watch/spend time with my daughter. Or a WAHM if I am complaining to someone about how I never have enough time to work), I can afford to watch her AT ALL TIMES. No distractions, no other responsibilities that I consider being more important than Lexi. That’s if you don’t count cooking, cleaning and other boring “I’d rather do something more fun” tasks.
So for the longest time, I refused to baby proof much citing the fact that I was literally always there with Lexi. That quickly ended with progressive mobility.
Babyproof only what is needed at the time.
As she became more interested in certain things, more mobile, we’d adjust what we are babyproofing. If we start letting her go into one room and out of our sight, relying solely on hearing, we would babyproof that particular room. If she suddenly became interested in drawers, we’d babyproof drawers. This approach really worked, because it didn’t dictate that we should do everything at once, which was impossible with our schedules, and because Lexi is almost always watched, so there was no danger of her suddenly getting into something we didn’t babyproof.
We started with the basics:
1. PLUGS and PLUG COVERS
Instead of putting in those funny looking plug protectors, Andrew just went through the whole house and installed the special outlet covers, which absolutely rock by the way and can be bought in packs of 25. That happened early on before Lexi was crawling. Luckily our house was getting painted at the time, so at least he didn’t have to take the outlet covers off as we have about 10 of those in each of the 12 room.
120 foot opening that needed to be gated.
This awesome gate/play yard for the playroom is pretty convenient, looks great and goes to great widths. It had no problems stretching out all the way to 100 feet and more. When needed, it can also be used as a spacious playyard.
Large irregular stair opening at the bottom.
It took me weeks to find the right gates for our stairs and I had to order a few different ones before I found the ones that work. This auto-close gate I received from from One Step Ahead is my favorite. Aside from various configurations, it swings both ways and has an auto close feature which is really important, especially if you have more than 1 kid. It comes in black and white and can be adjusted to virtually any configuration. Our funky stair shape was no problem for this, though Andrew did have to play with the configuration to find the right one.
For the top of the stairs, tall gate was needed to install it securely on the banister and wide enough for the opening. It also had to go low enough that the space between the gate and the floor wasn’t so large that a baby could crawl through. And as a top of the stairs gate it needed to have a hardware installation.
This was THE HARDEST gate to figure out. One that would be wide enough wasn’t tall enough. One that was both tall and wide that we bought from Kidco, when installed, revealed a huge gap underneath. This gate from Summer Infant turned out to be THE ONLY gate that would work for top of the stairs. I love the way it looks and how it opens/closes, but my only complaint is that it does not have an auto close feature which would be a life-saver at the top of the stairs. But it was our only option, so we have to always double check to make sure it’s closed.
After these 3 gates were installed, I had plans to install two more gates, but before we were able to do it, Lexi became so mobile that a gate wouldn’t stop her if she wanted to get somewhere.
A million cabinets all throughout the house , but mostly in the kitchen.
We have a huge kitchen and it is lined with cabinets. It was daunting to even think about how we’d get them all babyproofed with literally zero available time. So we took an easy way out and followed our friend and neighbor’s advice to remove the door knobs off the cabinets. She told us she had had no problems with her 2.5 year old daughter by simply removing the knobs. So we did that shortly after Lexi started walking. It worked for a few weeks, but quickly Alexis figured out how to open the doors without the knobs just by watching us pull from the top or underneath the cabinet. She was 12 months at the time and suddenly we were back to having to babyproof them all.
I had seen some babyproofing options at friends’ houses and the hinges that keep the door from opening fully just didn’t appeal to us. I looked into Safety First magnetic keys and was sold on the idea but was afraid that execution would fail us. In reality, this is my favorite baby proofing product and I would strongly recommend investing in magnetic keys especially if you’re planning on having more kids. They are expensive at first glance, but oh so worth it.
They install pretty easily on the inside of the cabinets and are absolutely invisible on the outside. There is no way for a smart baby to figure it out, because it works like a locked door. The reason I say that is because Alexis figured out how to open one of those loop locks on a cabinet at her music class. If your baby grows out of the babyproofing stage, you can easily permanently unlock them without uninstalling and it would actually be a good selling point for the house that all the cabinets are babyproofed. Unlocking the cabinets is as easy as bringing the magnetic key to the front of the cabinet behind which the lock is installed.
It took us some time to install all the locks since the are screwed into the wood, but now that it is done, it’s really the most convenient and attractive option I have found. You can buy them online here as a complete set, or separately.
I haven’t found anything earth shuddering for drawers. We don’t have many drawers we go into daily that HAVE to be babyproofed so I got these simple cheap drawer latches. Can’t say much about them aside from they work exactly the way they are supposed to.
WASHER AND DRYER
We have not had any issues with washer and dryer being opened by Lexi, because the laundry room is in the furthest corner of the house in a web of corridors and if she ends up being there, she is always watched. She never wanders out of our sight or hearing without us following her at some point. But I do have two locks by Safety First ready to be installed at any sign of problem that. I expect that as she gets older and explores the house more without our supervision, these will be life saver.
BLIND CORD WRAPS
I could not believe how few options there are for good blind winders. The ones that are available have such miserable reviews that I didn’t even bother purchasing them. You’d think somebody would make a better quality blind winder, but to date I have not found that somebody. So we decided to go with simple blind cord wraps by Dreambaby. It’s a low tech manual version and it is a pain in the butt to have to unwind them, but it’s a solution.
Luckily the furniture that we do have is SOOOO heavy that I couldn’t move it if I tried, let alone a baby. So we only needed furniture straps for her dresser which was a cheap wood dresser we refinished ourselves. After reading about this horrific story of a little girl dying after her child sized dresser fell on her in the middle of the night, I was set on strapping any furniture that has a possibility of moving to the wall. We used these straps.
Brands to look into:
SAFETY FIRST has GREAT childproofing products, from basic cheap ones to more expensive innovative items.
SUMMER INFANT has great gates.
KIDCO carries some of the much needed items.
ONE STEP AHEAD is a place where you can find a little bit of everything from all the different brands, including their own proprietary products.
RHOOST is a relatively new brand of non-toxic baby proofing options, however they are more expensive and based on the reviews I have read aren’t always user friendly. Since I didn’t expect Alexis to chew on or touch the locks, I skipped it this time around.