We started to baby proof the house when P started crawling around 11 1/2 months. Over the last few months we have let him explore freely, took notes, and then researched the best products to keep those trouble areas safe.
Our general philosophy is to let P explore and teach him along the way what he can and cannot touch. At the same time though, safety is our top priority. We also need to be confident in a safe play space for him when we have things to accomplish around the house. Not everything can wait until naptime or bedtime. Hey, some days I just want to be able to pee in peace without hearing, “upa upa upa”.
Here are some areas we focused on and the products we used.
We have three very different sets of stairs in our house which made it difficult to find one gate to fit each. We ended up needing to get a few different kinds to meet each need. It keeps P on his toes because the lock on each one is different.
Since his play area is gated in with the North States Superyard Play Yard we didn’t need to worry about the bottom of the first set of stairs. Occasionally I will let him roam the first floor so I just open the play yard up so it blocks the stairs. I absolutely love this gate and it even made our Top 60 Products For The First Year list.
This is one of my favorite gates. It keeps P confined to the family room where his play kitchen is. It’s a good change of scenery for him and he likes playing with it while I am cooking or cleaning. It also keeps him out of the kitchen and away from danger while we are cooking.
Since we had a banister/wall and banister/banister situation for the second set of stairs, we found two different gates. Both open completely and are out of the way when we are not using them. The bottom gets closed when P is playing in the family room. The top gets closed when I am doing things in the bedrooms and P is roaming the third floor.
This gate/stairs lead up to my craft room. For some reason P really loves climbing this set of stairs so I am glad we went ahead and put a gate up. The pads on the left keep the gate from damaging our freshly painted walls. It also opens out of the way when we are not using it.
I have to say, this gate is a real PITA to get up but it is super convenient for travel or to move around the house. We sometimes put it at the top of the first set of stairs when we let P roam the second floor. We just put a mark on the rigid part to indicate which bar it should be set for which location.
UPDATE: In February 2014 we learned the hard way that a tension gate should NEVER be used at the top of stairs. You can read more about Parker’s Boo Boo #1 here.
You can thank my genius husband for this next one. I know they make products that are specifically to secure furniture to the wall but you can buy a 10′ roll of Plastic Pipe Strap on Amazon for $5.24 (Prime).
We have secured all bookcases and shelving units around the house. We have also secured P’s dresser and changing table in his nursery.
These are inevitable, especially with a boy (so I am told) so I decided to watch P closely to see what were our trouble areas. Turns out the bathtub spout and doors were HUGE read flags.
P loves the bath and is pretty brave with moving, slipping and splashing around. He is fascinated with the spout and this has prevented several possible incidents. I also like how playful it is and looks pretty adorable on the spout.
I will often let P roam the third floor while I tidy up, organize, put clothes away or get dressed. He loves moving from one room to another closing the door (and sometimes locking it). We have these beauties on every door and they are fantastic! When we want the door closed, we just place it on the door knob so they are always close at hand.
Even though we don’t let P into the kitchen much, it does happen throughout the week so we wanted to cover our basis with the most important things. In the end, we proofed anything that had sharp or delicate items such as the Pyrex cabinet and cleaning supplies (more on that below).
We used a few of these in the kitchen for cabinets with sharp appliances or fragile items. We also used them under all the sinks where cleaning supplies are. I am about ready to also use them on my nightstand drawers because that is P’s favorite thing to get into. They are pretty easy to install and are pretty sturdy.
To be honest, I wouldn’t have thought about the oven being a danger zone unless I had seen these items pop up when I searched baby proofing on Amazon. While P hasn’t shone much interest in the stove, he has gone over a few times and these prevented me from needing to rush over to stop him. The Safety 1st Stove Knob Covers are great to keep his hands off and still convenient enough that I am not bothered by them when I am cooking. I almost don’t even notice anymore.
I ended up purchasing the Dream Baby Swivel Appliance Latch on a whim. I hadn’t planned on getting something but it was inexpensive so I decided to go for it. Even though it only got 3 stars on Amazon, I am actually really impressed with it. It even held tight when I opened the oven by mistake with it still locked. P will come over the try to open and pretty much gives up when he feels some resistance. That may change as he gets older but for now, it is serving it’s purpose.
Since we painted the inside of our house and changed out all of the outlet and switch covers, I figured we might as well go ahead and replace them all with child proof ones. We ended up getting two different kinds. The Safety 1st Swivel Outlet Cover is harder for P to figure out with a swivel motion. The downfall is that large plugs won’t fit with the indented outlet. We primarily used these in high traffic areas, especially in locations like P’s playroom where he is unsupervised from time to time. The Mommy’s Helper Safe Plate Electrical Outlet Covers Standard is a little easier to maneuver with a left and right motion. These outlets are flat and will work with any type of plug so we used them in areas where we plug things in more often. We didn’t intend originally to have two different kids but I am really glad it worked out that way!This is probably one of the areas I was most concerned about. I have read so many scary stories of kids dying from ingesting cleaning products and dishwasher pods. I wanted to find cleaning products that were effective but wouldn’t pose a life threatening situation if ingested. Believe it or not, I found them.
I did a mini-series over at My Crafting Attic back in April about Spring Cleaning. I shared recipes I had found for a window and all purpose cleaner made from a few simple ingredients. I also shared a very simple recipe for garbage disposal pods. I love making my own cleaning agents because I know 100% what they are made up of. Most importantly, if ingested, the ingredients would pose no permanent or life threatening harm.
We certainly don’t have everything covered in our home and are learning more everyday. For the time being what we have done seems to be working but it will continue to evolve as P gets older and our family expands. My biggest piece of advice is to read reviews but don’t be afraid to try something. What didn’t work for one family maybe the perfect fit for yours. I also think it helped a ton to sit back and watch P for a little while to help identify danger zones. There were some we hadn’t even though of that he picked out. There were also areas we thought would be trouble and P has shown no interest in them!
What have been your favorite baby proofing products? What advice would you give new parents who are starting the baby proofing process?