Posts Tagged ‘baby proof’

How to Baby Proof with Big-kid Toys Around

Monday, September 12th, 2016

How to baby proof with big-kid toys aroI should preface this by saying we have never done the baby-proofing by locking the fridge, toilets, nor many cabinets. We have almost nothing that can break, put our few cleaners up high, and have a small (but cozy!) home where I can see all of my children most of the time and can hear them all of the time. We anchored our television and most furniture.

We are also in the stage of life where we see our living room furniture not so much as investment pieces and more like fun and comfortable. The kids can jump about the couch without us concerned with wear and tear (to a certain degree, of course). I think it is partially here that they’ve learned to be rough and tumble but also cautious. That said, as baby number three approaches 6 months and crawling, we’ve thought anew about what babyproofing looks like with older kids (almost three and five) in the mix.

Prevention. It’s helpful sometimes to “baby proof,” but sometimes prevention is key. Having fewer breakable things around gives some peace of mind. Minimizing the sheer volume of stuff in your home also minimizes the things your babe will come across. This includes your children’s belongings but also yours.

Consider your stuff, space, and child. Given the ages of your children, sleeping arrangement, size of home, and amount of toys, how you baby proof with big kids around may vary from my way. Consider the things that you are keeping baby safe from—stairs, breakable items, cleaners, medications, doors that lead outside, and so forth. We all have different variables with which to work. Also consider your child. One of our sons never had interest in plugs while the other approached them a number of times; one son has always had a keen interest in getting out the front door while the other, generally, stays inside when he should. Last, consider protecting your other children from baby. What toys or belongings do they cherish most? Try to make efforts to protect their most beloved objects from the baby when possible.

Create a completely safe space for baby. For us the living and dining rooms are always baby-friendly. Her brothers have toys out but, for example, we keep Legos in the other room on the table always. It’s helpful to have a location where I don’t have to be as alert to danger. Likewise, the boys’ room is one location that baby should NOT be in without my direct, hands-on, supervision as there are numerous toys with small parts.

Invest in baby-friendly toys for your older children. This can vary based on your children’s ages. Our two and four year old children still get entertainment and enrichment from large blocks, and smooth wooden and soft toys. When chosen thoughtfully, these toys can prove an investment as they span many years of child development while also safe for baby to play near or even with. Keep an eye out for small parts that can break off and baby-safe (i.e. lead free) paint/finishes.

Use your words to protect your children. Start early and explain simply. For example, we explained to our 4-year-old that shoes have dirt and other yucky things and they need to stay in the shoe bin, away from baby sister’s blanket and toys. We then made the habit of shoes going to the shoe bin. We still remind him sometimes but the expectation is established. The same is true for other things: Your food is for you (don’t feed baby); if you drop food, pick it up; leave baby on ground (don’t pick up); gentle (don’t hit); put your toys away; etc. Locks and gadgets can prove helpful, but they aren’t the only way to establish a safe space. Talk to them about responsibility at an age-appropriate level. For example, “If you don’t want your (favorite item) chewed, broken, or removed, then please care for it by putting it away where baby can’t reach.” Encourage grace when inevitably baby gets to someone’s treasured item.

Use babyproofing gadgets as appropriate for your needs. We haven’t used many but the ones we have purchased were a great relief. Anchors to secure our furniture to walls were worth every penny. Though we never used a baby gate for four years, we now use one almost daily to keep baby from unsafe spaces. While I generally keep an eye on my kids most of the time, sometimes I am busy, distracted, or otherwise occupied and cannot keep them safe only by sight. Invest in necessary precautionary measures and consider whether or not your older children should know how to maneuver the safety devices.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 5 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Early Stage Babyproofing

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Early Stage BabyproofingSome of you have already baby proofed your pad. I know you have. You did it when you or your significant other was 7 months pregnant. You are the planner, the prepared one. The rest of us may have done a bit here and there, and some of us are just realizing that the time to baby proof is upon us. Have you recently retrieved the baby from under the kitchen table, because you didn’t realize he could roll that far or that quickly? Then it’s time.

When baby just begins to roll or sit up, around 4 to 6 months, is the perfect time to start babyproofing. He’ll be on the move soon and getting into everything before you know it. Start out by taking a stroll – or crawl, really – around the house. Being down low really can give you an idea of what he will see that you otherwise could miss. Take note of what cords are out, where the sharp edges are, where the outlets in the room are located, and test out pulling up on furniture. Take a look around at decorations. Have you left anything fragile or small on lower shelves because baby couldn’t move around yet? Do your curtains or blinds have cords that dangle down?  Figure out if you can block access to certain rooms, or if all areas of the house should be addressed.

The easiest first steps are the outlets. In our house, we used the basic plastic caps on most of them, choosing to use these sliding types on a few key locations that get used frequently. Most of our long term, always-in-use outlets are behind furniture, but if yours aren’t, consider these types of covers to keep small fingers away from the plugs. Also consider bundling loose cords with cord keeper devices. While you’re at it, tie up any hanging cords from those blinds. The less temptation for little fingers, the better.

Next comes securing any cabinets that early crawlers can reach. This is so very important, because lower cabinets are often places we secure heavy pots and pans, cleaning chemicals, and many other baby dangers. Plus, you’ll save your sanity down the line if baby just assumes he can’t get into any of them. My daughter is nearly 3 and still doesn’t touch any cabinet that has always had a lock on it. She just ignores them like they aren’t there. The two drawers we left unlocked and full of tupperware for her to play with, though, she’s in all the time. There are many cabinet lock options, so you may have to try a few to find ones you like.

Finally, make sure any furniture that might get pulled on is secured to the wall. This includes entertainment centers, tvs, dressers, bookcases, etc. It’s actually not very hard for furniture to tip over onto little ones, especially if a drawer gets pulled out and throws the unit off balance. Children are seriously hurt and killed every year, so even if you feel that everything you own is heavy and stable, make sure it’s all completely tethered and secured to the walls.

By taking care of a bulk of the babyproofing before your child is more mobile, you won’t find yourself scrambling once he starts walking, or taken completely by surprise when you find him in a room you thought he had no access to. A little preparation also gives you time to get used to your own newfound limits within the house! I have to admit, though, that after 3 years of cabinet catches, I still forget that there’s a lock on the pantry door every time I reach for it. You’d think I’d have caught on by now!

Kate Cunha is lives in the Pacific NW with her husband and daughter. She’s an easy going kind of mam, except when it comes to her child’s safety.