Posts Tagged ‘baby proofing’

Baby Proofing with Older Kids Around

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Baby Proofing with Older Kids AroundWhen you have a mobile baby, it’s work figuring out how to baby proof your home. Those tiny outlet covers, baby gates, and other products suddenly fill up your living room. But what about when your baby isn’t the only child in your home?  For me, this has become a reality. My son Levi started crawling at 8 months and my 2-year-old daughter, Johanna, has many tiny toys. Here are some tips for babyproofing your home with other kids around.

What You Need

With all babyproofing, there are some items you may want to invest in.

  • Baby gates: These vary in price and keep baby in a certain room or area. We have a basic gate I purchased at Walmart, but you can get nicer ones, too. Be particularly careful if you have stairs in your room. Baby gates are also made for stairs to keep baby safe. You can even put a baby gate around your fireplace to keep baby from any harm.
  • Outlet covers
  • Cabinet locks
  • Bumpers to put on sharp corners

Here’s an awesome checklist with ideas on what to cover.

Think Ahead

With any number of children, you have to plan ahead. Be sure to think about things like medications, sharp utensils, cleaning products, etc., and keep them out of reach. When we moved into our current home, we had to move our knives and scissors where little hands couldn’t explore and find them. Remember, eventually baby will be walking and able to reach up higher. Think about your other children and what they can get into. Be sure to have dangerous items out of everyone’s reach. Lock up items that could be dangers to children, as well. Handguns are one danger that many parents have in their homes. Be sure that your home is a safe environment for your children.

Educate Your Kids

Take the time to explain to older children how important it is to help keep baby safe. For me, this means explaining to my daughter why the baby can’t play with tiny bracelets, earrings, etc. We have learned to eat our snacks at the table, not on the couch or floor. Choking is a serious hazard for babies. A tiny fruit snack or sticker stuck to the floor could be harmful. Let your older children be accountable to help you. My daughter will have a toy and ask me if baby can play with it. She knows to get my approval before handing the baby a small toy that will go straight into his mouth. Let your older siblings help baby proof. Teach them what is safe and what isn’t. Allow them to be an extra set of eyes on the baby. Johanna will tell me when Levi is getting close to the fireplace in our home. She also knows to tell me if he is need of something, most of the time.

With any kids, remember supervision is key.  You can baby proof all you want, but you still need to supervise. As helpful as my daughter is, if I leave her alone long enough with the baby, something will happen. He is just starting to cruise, and I have caught her knocking him over. Just be present in your kid’s day-to-day interactions. Teach them what is safe and when they mess up, show them what’s right. As your baby grows, there will be new things to get into. Babyproofing-childproofing-the work of a mom is never done, but it is so rewarding.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana where she lives, writes, and babyproofs on a daily basis.

Baby Proofing 101

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Always keep your purse out of reach!

Always keep your purse out of reach!

As a first-time mom, I was showered with many gifts, including some baby proofing items. I put them in the back of the closet since I thought there was plenty of time before I would need to use them. But the day your baby discovers the outlet, learns how to open the drawer, goes fishing in the toilet, or opens your kitchen cabinet will come before you know it, and by then it’s too late.

The only baby proofing I did early was put outlet plug covers in all the outlets in my house–one package did not go very far. I had to load my baby up to go buy more. These were a great investment for me as both of my kids are drawn to electrical outlets.

Before I knew it my first was in my kitchen opening drawers and cabinets. I had not installed child locks on these yet, so I had a mess on my hands. Thankfully I had already moved all sharp or dangerous utensils out of reach and made sure all household cleaners or chemicals were in a safe place. I like the cabinet locks for doors that have knobs; we use one of these on our fireplace and even I can’t get it open. Unfortunately, the cabinet locks that we used for our kitchen cabinets did not work that well. They slowed her down, but eventually she was able to still get into the cabinets by pulling the door or drawer hard. I then designated an area just for kid stuff that she can play in while in the kitchen–this has helped keep her out of other areas.

Both of my kids have been curious about the toilet. I have always been scared of them falling in or disgusted of the thought of them playing in the toilet. Thankfully, all of our toilets are in separate rooms so I am able to shut the door to keep them out. This has proven to be more difficult with my second as my first sometimes forgets to shut the door. They also make toilet locks if you are not able to keep a door shut.

Some additional baby proofing tips:

  • Secure the plastic ends on doorstoppers with superglue
  • Keep your purse out of reach
  • Clear all surfaces at or below chest level
  • Use hotel-style chain locks up high once your toddler learns how to open doors
  • Use slip-proof mats under rugs
  • A cloth diaper over the top of a door can prevent baby from getting fingers pinched in a door
  • Research your houseplants and learn which ones aren’t safe

Baby proof early! Most baby proofing items can be found at a grocery store, discount store, or online.

Kristen Beggs is a cloth-diapering mom of two that lives in Midland, TX.

The YES Environment!

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Part of our YES environment for active boys includes an indoor swing and mini climbing wall

When my first son was just a few months old, I got the best piece of parenting advice to date. A friend of mine suggested to “always have an emergency sucker in my purse”. Even though she was half joking (and I am kind of embarrassed to admit) this has been an effective parenting tool that has saved us all, myself included, from complete meltdown more than once.

I received my second favorite parenting tip when my first son started to crawl. At that time a friend shared the idea of creating a YES environment in your home. What is a YES environment? It’s arranging your physical space to be baby/child friendly in order to decrease the frequency at which you are saying “no”, “don’t”, “stop” and the like. It’s a bit different than child-proofing as child-proofing typically only assess and removes potential dangers. Creating a YES environment goes a step further to create a space that understands and supports the development needs of young children to actively explore their environment. It also aims to minimize conflict between parent and child. A common example is to have non-breakable kitchenware in a few lower cabinets so that little curious hands can open doors, touch, rearrange, and even crawl into the cabinets. If you were only interested in baby-proofing you would simply put child-locks on ALL the cabinets. However a YES environment recognizes baby/child’s curiousities as valid and provides appropriate outlets for them.

For me having a YES environment means I don’t have very many decorative things around the house. I prefer not to spend energy constantly redirecting baby (or friends’ little ones when they visit) away from breakables. It also means I don’t have nice new furniture because I would rather not feel angry at my children for accidents such as spilling their drink or tracking in mud. I definitely talk with them about being careful, and/or responsible in these situations and may even have them help clean up. However I don’t have to exert energy being overly protective of furnishing and can respond to accidents calmly.

Another important part of having a YES environment for me is actually saying YES to my children when they ask something. Can we paint? Can we play in the water? Can we do playdough? Can we go for a bike ride? Can we take all the blankets and pillows off all the beds to make a fort? YES! Okay truth be told, sometimes (often) my first thought is “no way!”. But then I pause and ask myself why the answer is no? And if a valid reason does not come to mind (please note that “because it’s a big mess that I don’t want to have to clean up” IS a valid reason at times) then instead of resist, I aim to embrace their request. Sometimes the YES comes with limits such as “sure we can paint outside” or a compromise “if you want to play with water you can play in the bathtub” or a deal “okay, but you will need to put them all back when you are done”.

Critics of a YES environment might say “well a child needs to learn boundaries”. And be assured that I absolutely agree!! However I have faith and trust that the unpredictable nature of life itself will inevitably provide ample opportunity for a child to learn boundaries. And I also feel that the less frequently a child hears no, the more attentive and respectful they are when they do hear it.

Do you have a YES environment in your home? If so what does that look like for your family? What do you think the benefits of it are?