Friday, July 25, 2008

C is for Childproofing

Yeah, you knew that was coming....

If you have a family, than at some point in your life you have had to, or will have to, childproof! Even if you have teenagers, well, in 10-20 years, you just may find yourself childproofing anyway, for grandkids. And for many people, childproofing for pets. So, buck up folks, grin and bear it, you're gonna have to childproof!

Having come from a family with many siblings, and having babysat a lot when I was a youth, and being in the habit of immediately childproofing any room I enter, I feel I have a good grasp on this childproofing thing. I don't think you need to hire a professional to do it, either.

I like to work my way from the bottom, up. Little kids, toddlers, and babies, (and short, weiner dogs) have a different viewpoint of a room than we do, especially babies who are rolling and crawling. Remove any item that is small enough to fit in a child's mouth. No, you don't have to actually insert an object into the child's mouth to see if it can fit or not. In fact, I have here a very handy measuring tool--I even peeled the little remaining fragments of toilet paper off for this picture. Yup--a toilet paper tube! If you can barely squeeze something in, than baby can probably barely squeeze it into their mouth. Keep small objects put away in hard-to-open containers, and up high, out of child's reach.

Older children may get pretty bummed about not being allowed to play with smaller toys, like Legos, because there is a little one about. I have taken this into consideration, too. Fortunately, with little toddlers and babies, they take a nap or two during the day. That's the time to get smaller toys out for older siblings--with the understanding that they know they will need to scour the floor and pick up everything before baby gets out of bed.

Most people know to put outlet plugs in so that baby is unable to stick something into the electrical outlets. If you are unable to keeps cords concealed than you'll have to teach your child not to touch, and keep an eye on them.

Here are two plastic outlet plugs. They are sold at any store that sells baby-proofing paraphanelia. The white c-shaped object at the top is one of my favorite childproofing objects: a door jam. It is made of foam and is to be put up high on a door (I put it at the top) and it keeps doors from being shut (or slammed by older siblings) and smashing little fingers. I have only been able to find these at The Burlington Coat Factory's Baby Depot. I bet you could find them somewhere online, as well.

Okay, back to the floor here, and I really do get on my hands and knees to make sure the area is clear. Okay, and you've put in outlet plugs. Now, do you really have to remove everything from tables and countertops and put those drawer and cabinet locks and latches on everything? No!! You don't! Just the ones you don't want the baby into! I purposefully leave some of my kitchen cabinets without them and that's where I keep my Rubbermaid, Tupperware, and metal and plastic bowls. And not all drawers need the latches either, like where you keep your towels and large mixing spoons.

Some kids figure out how to open the latches and locks. For this reason I recommend that you ALWAYS store cleaning supplies and anything poisonous/hazardous up high in a room not frequented as often as others; laundry rooms are a great place.

With furniture, anything that can tip over, will probably get tipped over. I once had a cute little corner shelf and at the top was my very expensive, very detailed, and very fragile cake decoration from the top my wedding cake. Baby #2 crawled over one day and you can guess what happened....

Keep cords from blinds out of reach or make sure they are cut, that there's no loops for a child to get strangled in (scary). If a can of soda-pop can fit through, a baby's head could get stuck, is a good rule of thumb.

Baby gates work well for completely keeping baby out of certain areas, but you'll have to configure which kind you want and the installation. And, you may have a child who's a climber, one who can scale any kind of vertical surface.

There are so many "what-if's" that I could throw in here. Really, you just have to watch your children and go from there.

For instance, this child used the changing table (to the right, not really visible) to climb up and reach the closet shelf to obtain the baby powder. (His lungs are fine, by the way).

The more children (or grandchildren) you have the more potential childproofing tangents you face. Our fourth child took an interest in something that the older three had not. We use dowels in our sliding glass doors and window tracks so that they can't be opened by outsiders. You can imagine my surprise when one morning, my little guy, about 18 months old then, runs up to me weilding a bostaff (see Guess I overlooked that three times too many.

Sometimes you have to childproof the child from themself. Yes, this
is actual fecal matter, on my daughter's hands and legs, from her very own diaper. Sadly, this scene was one that I happened upon many times. Eventually I did what we moms do best--improvise! I found a pair of pants, without snaps at the crotch, that I could hike up to her armpits and put baby-safety pins all around the waist.

You can be a childproofing champion! Just take it from the top, by starting at the bottom. Your little ones' safety depends on it. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. You'll be surprised when one day you walk into someone's home and find yourself first checking out their floor, not their pictures, paintings, fine-home furninshings. Nope, you'll be looking at that floor. And, I'm here to tell you that's okay!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Ewww...(the poop picture). :) My second one did something similiar. Only it was my fault. She was about 8 months old and I let her and my 3 year old out of the bath and she went crawling away towards the living room, naked, while I was quickly cleaning up the toys from the bath. I then heard my 3 year old yell "Mommy! Emily pooped." I went in and saw her sitting in her poop and playing in it. Yuck! :) I really enjoy your blog, by the way!

Love, Jennifer