I’m not sure there actually is such a thing as baby proofing your house but it is something we get asked about quite a lot. In my opinion you fall in to one of two camps. Those that put safety catches on everything and banish all hard corners or those that take a more relaxed approach and hope the child learns. I definitely fell in to the latter.
This may seem a little bit careless to some but they have survived and I had none of those annoying cupboard catches to constantly try and open. That’s not to say we didn’t buy it. Edd got all manner of baby proofing devices but we didn’t use many of them. There were a few key things we made sure were in place like stair gates and plug socket covers but the rest was a case of telling the girls ‘no’ and them learning from our cues.
It seems the rest of the team were quite similar and didn’t really buy many gadgets and gizmos to help baby proof their own homes. We mainly took the ‘tell them no’ route and in truth were always nearby to avoid any major incidents.
I also don’t think you can baby proof everything. The biggest bumps the girls have had were on doors and I couldn’t really remove them or falling down the stairs once they were big enough for us not to have stairgates any more. In the main they have come through unscathed. However, in the interest of helping you guys decide which route you are going to take I thought it would be useful to list some of the safety precautions that the team have used around their houses.
This is probably the best investment we made. Not always so much from the perspective of worrying about them falling down the stairs but more to stop them escaping and causing havoc upstairs! It’s up to you whether you have one stair gate at the bottom or if you also add another at the top for when you are upstairs. You do get very used to opening and shutting them. Obviously if you live in an apartment like Fern you probably won’t need one. Charlotte however said “Stair gates are absolutely necessary with Mabel – she is a walking nightmare. Completely fearless. She likes to “play” on the stairs – recently she tried to show me how she could walk down them backwards. I put the stair gate on at night just for piece of mind.”
Plug Socket Covers
I’m just updating this section in light of some comments from our lovely readers (see below). I hadn’t been aware that these plastic covers are potentially more dangerous than non at all. There are lots of articles if you google it but this one was particularly useful.
There are all manner of different door catches that you can buy to stop toddlers opening them. I would probably only buy them for those cupboards that contain breakables or cleaning products. I will say that after the 100th time, in one day, of asking Alice to stop emptying all the bowls and plates out that I seriously considered adding these. More for my sanity than anything else. The only cupboard we did add a lock too was in the utility where we kept cleaning products.
Keeping Things High
Not so much something you can buy but a piece of advice. Make sure you keep anything dangerous up out of harm’s way. Whether that is bottles of bleach or sharp knives. Ideally you want it all situated as high as possible away from grasping hands. This isn’t even restricted to babies and toddlers. The girls now reach in to the cutlery drawer to get their own spoons so I’ve had to make sure there are no sharp knives or scissors that they could pick up instead.
We have a big wood burner in our snug/playroom and for the last five years it has been covered by a massive wrought iron fireguard that was attached to the fireplace with hooks. This was to make sure it couldn’t fall over. It wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as the fire but those things get hot and it wasn’t worth the risk. This winter we have removed it but I’m still quite nervous. The girls know not to go near it but I’m scared they might trip and fall on it so let’s see how long it stays off for.
Door Finger Guards & Stoppers
If you have a house with copious amounts of sharp corners you might want to consider getting some of the covers for the edges. I didn’t bother with these and the girls never had any major accidents. They still managed the odd bump on rounded corners during those wobbly first steps and still regularly bash themselves on our round coffee table so I guess no edge is really that safe.
Once they get a bit bigger make sure you keep windows locked or secured with a catch. In Alice’s room her window goes straight on to a flat roof. Excellent for sneaking out to teenage parties but not so good for inquisitive three year olds.
Lolly has super shiny slippy floors but has just let Hector get on with it. I think he rather enjoys the speed with which his cars fly across the lounge!
More for you than baby but make sure you put anything valuable or breakable up high and out of reach. You don’t want that family heirloom broken or your husband’s beloved speaker system (yep that’s mine!) being ruined.
Make sure any blind cords comply with regulations and are tied up and out of your baby’s reach.
Most little ones like to pull themselves up on furniture. Make sure anything unstable is secured to avoid it toppling on to them.
Finally, remember that accidents do happen. Our kids have all had them so don’t panic!
If you want to learn more about the RMLtd business and how Charlotte manages it all then head over to Rock My Style where she is answering all your questions. Tomorrow she will be here on Rock My family discussing all the questions on family matters so do check back.