Post contains affiliate links – I was not asked to write nor was I compensated for this post. All opinions are my own. I’m no childproofing expert. I have, however, childproofed (that word is a minsomer, LOL) for 3 children in 4 houses, including a rental and temporary situation. I’ve tried loads of products as things have changed and new things have come on the market, and I have favorites!
There are differing opinions on childproofing. Don’t childproof, they should listen to what you say not to touch, wait & see and childproof as needed, or “childproof all teh thingz!” I am somewhat middle of the road. My mother-in-law told me that when she had her first child, she didn’t childproof a thing. She said “don’t touch the breakable things” and that was that. Then she had a second child & he was into everything! In my experience, kids are quick. Even when you have just one child and are watching them at all times, they are sneaky and a moment is all they need! When they are supposed to be napping, or when you step into the bathroom for 15 seconds, that is all it takes. Childproofing clearly doesn’t replace supervision, but when you have 2, 3 or more children, you need a backup plan!
Cabinets – You want to make sure that your cabinets with cleaning products etc. are inaccessible to your kiddos. Medicine should be kept up high and in a locked cabinet, in child resistant containers. You may also want to childproof any cabinets that contain things that are not dangerous, but messy (containers of flour anyone?) Keep in mind that some houdinis can slide their hands into the cracks and get things anyway (don’t ask me how I know this *cough*) Consider dedicating a cabinet or tote with some metal pans, spoons, plastic bowls, old measuring cups etc. your child can play with while you’re cooking.
Anchor your furniture: I bugged my husband to do this after reading about children dying from pulling furniture on themselves. I know I seem overprotective & annoying & he didn’t do it. We had a very close call that still gets me upset to think about. My son was in his bedroom while my husband was in the next room, and I was nursing our other son on the couch downstairs. I heard a huge crash and a scream and went sprinting up the stairs. My son had pulled all the drawers out of his dresser and it tipped over. Thank heavens the bottom drawers kept the whole thing from falling all the way over, but he got a bump on his head, and his fish tank slid off and made a huge mess (I saved the fish.) We came very close to losing our son that day. After that, I got prices to hire a childproofing company to come do it, and that was the motivation for him to get it done, hee-hee. He used sturdy “eyes” anchored into studs & solid parts of the furniture, with an industrial zip tie holding them together. He can put his entire weight on each piece of furniture and it doesn’t budge. I am still asking him to finish anchoring a few more pieces of furniture, including our TV stand. As much as he thinks there is no way for a child to pull it over on himself, I say better safe than sorry. You can also get kits to anchor furniture and to anchor TVs.
Gates: Baby gates are very useful for keeping your kiddos off the stairs and out of off-limits rooms (I elected to gate off our dining room rather than empty and/or anchor the China cabinet.) You can get pressure mounted gates or hard mounted gates (I think hard mounted are the best bet for the top of stairs), and walk over them or open them each time.
We had The First Years Everywhere Gate in our last house, and still use a few now. They are nice because you can see through them, they can’t be climbed, and they are easy to install temporarily. However, they do not close by themselves, and they are somewhat annoying to close properly each time, lining up the top and bottom with the wall mounts (when hard mounted.) The rubber ends were quickly chewed to bits, and if we leave one open, my kids mess with the adjustments and it drives me nutso, LOL. I didn’t install these, my husband did. I imagine they would probably be easier to use if installed using a level to make sure everything aligned properly.
The Summer Wood and Metal Walk-Thru Gate, Brown/Black was previously in our hallway but it’s now serving as a barrier we never open. It was nearly impossible to adjust it so that it would close properly and open fairly easily, close by itself, but still be secure. Many times, but husband and I “opened” it as we walked through, only to have it not open and instead come crashing down under us. I did a number on my foot/ankle while trying not to drop my infant son as I fell on my face once (and that’s when we finally decided to take it down!) It does look a lot nicer than other gates though.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Dreambaby gates. We have one at the bottom of our stairs, and one in a doorway. With a couple minutes and a level, you can install them so that they close (by themselves) every time, and are easy for adults to open. They are pressure mounted, but have “cups” that stick with super sticky adhesive, to keep it in place and prevent it from shifting or being knocked over. I’ll definitely need to do a bit of sanding/painting when I take them down, but I don’t have to worry about drilling holes in trim and balusters! They are a bit more expensive but are sturdy, high quality and totally worth it. The company also sells extensions, and you can use one on each side of the gate to fill even the largest openings. I installed two of these myself in a few minutes, with 2 kidlets hanging all over me while I did it. You do have to read the instructions first. (not naming any names here or making any gender generalizations but, ya know.)
Now, we have many safe plates, which easily install in place of your old electrical plates.
Fire: This is slightly off topic, but make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home, as well as C02 dectectors if applicable. Ideally you’ll have one on each floor and one in each bedroom. Check them regularly, and change the batteries when you change your clocks. Make certain you have fire extinguishers as well as safety ladders if you live in a multi-story home. Check your home for fire hazards such as making sure your gas grill’s propane tank is twisted to “off” and that there is nothing near baseboard heaters.
Edges/corners: You can get foam cushions to cover sharp edges and corners of furniture. Rhoost makes some that are elastic & do not need to be applied with adhesive. My children would never leave these alone; our mud room bench has the “stick” on each corner and the bumpers are nowhere to be found.
Miscellaneous: Children can drown in very little water. Make sure that sinks, tubs and buckets are not left with water, and restrict access to toilets. This can be easier said than done when you have littles that need quick access to the potty! Keep your car doors locked and keep the windows up. Be aware of blind cords (there are many products available to wind up excess blind cords) and know that children will climb furniture to get to them.
Everything else: The world is a terrifying place for mamas! You simply can’t forsee everything. My oldest child was 21 months old, spinning & singing “ring around the rosy” when she stumbled, taking a nosedive right towards our bed, from the middle of an 8-10 foot open area. She bonked her chin on the metal bed frame, through the overhanging comforter and bed skirt, and ended up needing stitches. (I even have a video of it happening because I was recording her cute song & dance.) Who would have thought of that happening? Someone in my family actually made me feel guilty that this happened, but who in the world would think to “childproof” that?
Have you discovered any childproofing duds or winners?