It happened over night. I went from having a tiny immobile baby who sat nicely on a blanket and played with toys within reach, to a running toddler who will push, open, pull, eat and climb on anything she can reach. How are toddlers so fast? They find the smallest of specs, run through a door within seconds of it being opened and pull items out of the refrigerator in the one second you open it to grab the milk. Sadly, I can’t child-proof my entire world and I find that half of my days involve doing things twice thanks to my little helper-in-training while chasing said helper around the house to avoid a trip to the ER. However, I did learn that child-proofing is my friend and allows me to breathe for maybe a second or two during the day. With a 14 month old in tow and child-proofing still very fresh in my mind, I wanted to share the five lessons I learned and I would love to hear yours!
#1 – Consult the Child-Proofing Pros – There are options when it comes child-proofing and one of those options is to pay to have it done for you. However, if you want to avoid the hefty price tag that comes with hiring a pro, you can still get some free help before you tackle the house. Child-proofing companies come to your house and will provide you with a free quote. Translation? They go through every single part of your home that is a death trap and tell you what you need to do to fix it. They will then give you a quote with everything written out, that can also serve as a do-it-yourself road-map should you decide to take it on yourself. This process was the most helpful to me because they pointed out things I wouldn’t have even thought of! Suggested company: Arizona Childproofers. (They also specialize in pool fences) In addition to consulting the pros, I also encourage you to ask your friends with kids as well as friends with cats. While I don’t have a cat, I learned that babies and cats have similar curious tendencies so cat owners may find themselves “cat proofing” their home.
#2 – Child-Proof in Stages – The thought of child-proofing is overwhelming, but the best way to avoid a stress meltdown is to write out a list of child-proofing to-do’s in stages. Since the baby will start with crawling, move on to stumbling and finish with running, you have at least a couple of months to work your way up to creating a padded environment for your wild animal….I mean baby.
- More Denial
- Admit to yourself that the end is near and baby is about to be mobile any day
- Schedule child-proofers to come to your home to provide you with a quote and list.
- Research products
- Install Baby Gates (this will allow you to designate baby-approved areas and save nice areas of your house (for a little while longer at least)
- Mount your furniture
- Cover the electrical outlets
- Install cabinet locks
- Install oven locks
- Remove breakable items within reach of little arms and hands
- Remove items that can tip over (such as fake plants, lamps, etc)
- Make a decision on sharp edges. Do you want to cover them?
- Cover your fireplace
- Dream about ways you could wrap your child in bubble wrap to avoid injury.
- Spend your days chasing the walking-injury-waiting-to-happen and try to have quick reflexes to prevent said injury.
- Install toilet locks
- Install door locks
- Remove locks from the nursery door (so that baby doesn’t lock you out!)
- Install window locks
- Move dog food and water to a room where baby can’t get to it.
- Hide trash cans and keep them out of reach (lock the doors that have them)
- Remove all the beautiful decorations around your home that are now within baby’s reach and dream about the day you will be able to have a clean and decorated home again.
Stages Four-Ten: I’m not there yet, but I’m sure I will be writing a “part two” to this blog post as soon as walking toddler turns into a threenager.
#3 – Amazon Isn’t Always Your Friend – To avoid wasting your money and buying items that might not be compatible with your house, visit local brick and mortar stores to see the items in person and ask questions. My favorite stores include Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, Lowe’s and Home Depot.
#4 – Keep an Eye On Zulily – Zulily is filled with great baby buys, including child-proofing items. After doing your in-store research, keep an eye on Zulily’s daily updates to find deals.
#5 – Baby gates are worth the investment – First, think about the frequency of the room where you will be installing the gate. My favorite gates are the ones with easy-to-use doors and I found that they were well worth the investment. Before you buy, make sure you examine the area for the door so that you buy a gate that’s compatible with the area (and big enough to fit). Note: I found the best gate options at Home Depot, Lowe’s and on Amazon (so in this case, Amazon IS your friend!)
My favorite gates:
Baby Gate with an easy-to-use door: Summer Infant Multi-Use-Walk-Through
Best portable baby gate – Safety First Doorways Fabric Gate
Now it’s your turn! Let me know the tips and tricks you’ve learned when it comes to child-proofing.