Friday, September 21, 2012

Baby proofing 101

While pregnant I scoffed at the suggestion on The Bump's checklist that families expecting babies should begin baby proofing when the woman is about 3 months pregnant. This is insane. We probably could have begun more baby proofing, though, before the last week or so.

Here's what happened last week:
Natalie stood up in her crib, twice.
Natalie banged her head on the edge of a bookcase.
Natalie unplugged the cord to her baby monitor, accessible next to her crib.
Natalie's crawling took o-f-f.

Before Natalie's birth we'd installed (more accurately, Matt and our gracious neighbor spent 3 hours installing) one of our two Kidco Angle-Mount Safeway Gates. We did this back in December not to protect the baby still in my belly but to keep the dogs contained in the basement when we're away from home or have generally had enough of their humping that always makes an appearance when guests visit. We also drilled some blind string securer thingys into some wall space when we were installing some replacement blinds. The bookcases in our home were secured to the walls when they were assembled.

But that was the extent of our pre-baby baby proofing.

I have been determined to do some baby proofing but not to let it take over our house and our lives. I'm a firm believer in moderation in all things, baby proofing being no exception. I also believe that keeping your house relatively clean and organized is a major element of baby proofing -- when there aren't many small/hazardous items on the floor or otherwise easily within a baby's reach the number of dangers is kept to a minimum.

Still, Natalie, like a lot of babies, is attracted to danger (and my Norton Shakespeare Anthology...but that's something else). She likes glass, outlets, sharp corners, plugs. And she likes to try to put all those things in her mouth.

So here's what we've done in the last week or two:

1) Installed the second baby gate at the top of the stairs leading to the third floor. This is a nice complement to the one previously installed between the first and second floors.

2) Lowered Natalie's crib to the second-lowest setting.

3) Moved the baby monitor plugs to an outlet far away from the crib and secured the now-exposed cords to the wall using the same mounting bases and ties we used when trying to hide cords coming off our new desk.

4) Added foam corner guards to the bookcase and coffee table on our main level, where we spend most of our time. I went with these ones manufactured by Prince Lionheart because they had the most positive customer reviews on Amazon. So far they're doing the job and fit our furniture well (and are not as painfully noticeable as I thought they'd be).

5) Covered nearly every outlet in our home. There are a couple I couldn't get to before I ran out of outlet covers. We registered for this Safety 1st Essentials Child-Proofing Kit which seemed like a reasonable product at the time. Now that we've put it to use, though, these outlet covers seem ironically hazardous to me. Reading the reviews on Amazon it looks like I'm not alone. We might see about returning this product. Either way, I now know that we have over 30 unused and baby-reachable outlets in our home. First-world problems?

6) Moved several glass objects, mostly vases, to higher ground.

What we need to do asap:

1) Put some cabinet guards on our most accessible cabinets containing our most dangerous items (under the sink comes to mind).

2) ummmmm....

So, there are so many products out there and suggestions regarding baby proofing. Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but I feel like what I've listed here should be enough, right? There are spout covers, toilet locks, mesh window guards, bath safety rails, stove knob covers. I don't want to knock anything because, like my hairdresser says about having kids, never say never, but I wonder where it all ends.

What do you think are the baby-proofing essentials? From your experience would you add to my list? And, does anyone have a good suggestion for better outlet protectors that actually stay on the outlets?


  1. I would recommend foam finger protectors,similar to these ( your doors. They are not immediately necessary because Natalie is still young but they are inexpensive and last a long time.

    1. Wow, that's something else I didn't know about! Thanks for the tip.

  2. So far we've found that the Safety 1st products are almost uniformly awful, and utterly ubiquitous. It's hard to find alternatives, but oddly vital. The zip tie cabinet locks are a little kludgy, but reliable. The self-locking drawer and cabinet locks ( are difficult to mount properly and even then can be a bear to open with thick fingers. Worse than that though, they allow so much freedom that during the earliest days, your kid will still be able to get their fingers in there and jam them. Not a pleasant lesson.

    Emma's just learned how to go up the steps so we're experimenting with new stair containment. Never a dull moment. Cheers.