Home may be where the heart is, but the typical family house is filled with potential dangers for young children. When you’ve got all the exciting stuff out of the way such as designing the nursery using things like peel and stick wallpaper, baby crib, nappy changing area, and everything else, it’s time to get serious with protecting your child against anything dangerous in your home. Fortunately, baby-proofing is fairly simple, and thorough baby-proofing can prevent countless tragedies. While raising my two exuberant children, I have come up with a number of solutions that help keep my home safer despite the curiosity that comes with most little ones.
Start simple by covering all exposed electrical outlets with child-safe plastic outlet covers. Soon after I learned that I was pregnant with my daughter, I bought a huge bag of plastic outlet covers and secured every outlet in my home. I even put covers on unused outlets hidden behind furniture — just in case. Little fingers are curious about those intriguing holes in the walls. But electricity can easily injure or kill. Plastic outlet covers can be a pain for adults to remove at times, but the slight annoyance is definitely worth keeping a young, inquisitive child safe. Outlet covers are inexpensive. You may also want to explore the electrical services out there to help you locate and eliminate any potentially hazardous electrical faults before an injury or worse occurs. It’s also worth doing just to ensure that all your appliances are in perfect working order too.
Lock Cabinets and Drawers
To keep my children safe from danger and my stuff equally safe from my children, most of the cabinets in my home are secured with child safety locks. For example, the cabinets under my bathroom sink and the kitchen sink are tightly locked shut to prevent curious kids from getting into potentially harmful cleaning supplies. The cupboard above my desk in the dining room in which I keep our medicine is also kept locked shut to keep little hands and mouths away from vitamins, supplements, and medication. I also put locks on other cabinets in the kitchen and living room to keep my young children from rifling through my belongings, primarily for the safety of my children but also to keep my children from making a huge mess of non-toys. Different cabinets require different types of locks, but most child-safety locks are also fairly inexpensive.
My daughter is an escape artist who can easily unlock and open most doors. Before she was even born, I started putting child-safe doorknob covers on many of the doors in my home including the door to the basement, the bathroom closet door, and the utility closet door. When my daughter was a toddler and figured out how to unlock and open the exterior doors to the house, I also added covers to those doorknobs as well. The FedEx guy has chuckled at me as I have struggled to open the back door, with me ultimately removing the doorknob cover in order to open the door, but my irritation with struggling with hard-to-open doors is worth the comfort of keeping my children safe and contained inside my home. Well, slightly more complicated locks would have probably done the job of keeping my kid from opening it-I bet expert locksmiths could have come up with something 100% child-proof. But, even then, I think I would have used the covers just in case.
Baby Gates and Fences
My husband and I first started using baby gates around our home to corral our pets. When my daughter started walking, I devised an intricate system of baby gates and fences to contain her to certain parts of the house. Now I again primarily use our many baby gates for our dogs, but I do have one permanent baby gate that my husband installed at the top of our basement stairs. The gate allows me to more easily go up and down the steps to the laundry room in the basement while also allowing our cat to come and go from the two levels of our home as she pleases. The gate also adds an extra layer of protection between the basement door and the basement steps, which helps prevent my children from exploring the potentially dangerous unfinished basement and laundry room. We haven’t quite decided on how we are going to finish the basement because we have so many great Extra Space Ideas so until then it very important to keep our children out of there. Securing the doorways to stairs is especially important for helping to protect young children, but baby gates and fences are also useful in containing little ones to various “safe” rooms around the home.
Furniture of all sizes poses a particular danger to young children, many of whom love to climb. My daughter is a climber, so I have been extra vigilant about securing tip-able furniture to the wall. Any piece of furniture in my home than can tip has been properly secured using furniture anchors, screws, or zip ties. For example, the changing table in the nursery is secured to the wall using adjustable wall anchors. The plastic shelves in the playroom came with anchors that screw into the wall. The set of bookshelves in my backroom has been anchors to each other and then screwed into the wall. I even zip tied a small metal shelf to the larger built-in bookshelf in my living room.
As for the rest of the furniture in my home, I have personally climbed and bounced on each piece to make sure that nothing will tip under the weight of my children. For example, I opened the drawers of my dresser and climbed up. I was unable to tip the piece of furniture over with my weight, so I am confident that my children also cannot tip the dresser. The same goes for all other unsecured furniture in my home. Anything that I could tip was secured to the wall because anything that a grown woman can tip could potentially crush a small child.
(As a side note on my refrigerator, even if one of my children somehow managed to tip the hulking appliance over, the top would crash into the adjacent counter, preventing the fridge from completely falling over and crushing a small child. In general, however, refrigerators can pose a tipping hazard, so be sure to secure the appliance to the floor or wall.)
Young children love playing with electronics like televisions, media players, game systems, and computers. To keep my children from playing with the TV console in the living room, I surrounded the TV table with baby fences secured with zip ties. My children cannot get to the electronics, protecting both my children from danger and the electronics from my children. My husband has also secured the flat screen television to TV table with zip ties. Because of the placement of the table in the living room, securing the television to the wall is impossible. However, because the TV poses a tipping hazard that could injure or kill a child, my husband has made sure that no one can move the television without cutting the removing multiple heavy-duty zip ties. The set-up looks rather ridiculous, but I know that my children are safe from the threat of a falling television.
What tips do you have for baby-proofing around the house? Also check out My Parenting Hack for Preventing Head Injuries on a Changing Table for additional safety tips.
Baby-Proofing Tips: Making Your Home Safer 2015 Heather Johnson
Electrical Outlet Covers 2015 Heather Johnson
Cabinet Lock on Bathroom Cabinet 2015 Heather Johnson
Push-Down Lock on Living Room Cabinet 2015 Heather Johnson
Doorknob Cover 2015 Heather Johnson
Baby Gate at Top of Basement Stairs 2015 Heather Johnson
Changing Table Secured to Wall 2015 Heather Johnson
Plastic Shelves Secured to Wall 2015 Heather Johnson
Stacked Bookshelves Secured with Brackets 2015 Heather Johnson
Small Metal Shelf Zip Tied to Bookshelf 2015 Heather Johnson
Refrigerator Adjacent to Kitchen Counter 2015 Heather Johnson
Baby Fences Around Television Console 2015 Heather Johnson
Flat Screen TV Secured to TV Stand with Zip Ties 2015 Heather Johnson