Wednesday, May 24, 2006

DIY Babyproofing

Here are some of my home made babyproofing attempts. None of these are recommended as being actually child proof, so undertake any at your own risk!

A swinging latch over one of the bathroom drawers. This was an absolute failure as Henry quickly learned to swing it out of the way. The drawers are now empty.

A fixed latch over the drawers in the entertainment center. The drawers contain stuff we never use (so why do we have it?) and the latch is firmly screwed in, it requires a philips screwdriver to remove.

Foam pipe insulation laid over the sharp stone edges of the wood stove base (stone tile) and duct taped in place. This has saved us numerous trips to the emergency room. The cardboard is over the lower bit of stone, more to protect the stone tile than a child. It is now disgustingly filthy after several years in place.

Two heavy duty cable ties keep the wood stove closed. We only use the stove in emergencies (when the power went out for 3 days one winter) and if a child were to gain access to the lovely piles of ash within the mess would exceed even our standards of filth.

A pin that sticks into the medicine cabinet drawer from the side. Henry has yet to figure this out.

Only with the pin removed can the drawer open.

In the end the best babyproofing is to remove everything hazardous from any area where the kids will possibly be, and encase the children in foam sumo wrestling outfits.


Da Man said...

I love it. Most of our child-proofing consists of duct-tape or placing items on the top shelf of the closets.

Felice Luftschein said...

Placing items on the top shelf is good, but it helps to disguise them as well, otherwise you get a chorus of "want that" with frantic pointing.

Rob Tsou said...

I remember the baby proofing. We like the Tot Loks ( They are a little pricey but they work great and are pretty neat to boot. Now if only my wife would stop misplacing the key ;)


Anonymous said...

What I want to know is why doesn't every house that's ever had a kid in it have a row of shelves in every room about 5.5 foot high right round the room.
I wish mine had ... the drawer pin is great but Freddie (my hooligan) has just managed to pull the front of a drawer off, thats flatpack for you.
Anyway back to woodglue and nails - wonder how long that will last?

kilgore said...

I wonder the same thing. And don't you wonder about how your granparents ever had all those glass tchockies around the house? I don't even have anything resting on a surface below 5 feet.

Felice Luftschein said...

"I wish mine had ... the drawer pin is great but Freddie (my hooligan) has just managed to pull the front of a drawer off, thats flatpack for you.
Anyway back to woodglue and nails - wonder how long that will last?"
Get some aluminum angle from the hardware store and use that to reenforce the drawer fronts from the inside (drill some screw holes and screw the aluminum to the sides and front)

I would love drawers aat adult height...better I would love multidimensional drawers that access hyperspace storage but they haven't figured that out yet.

Rob said...

My wife & I are prepping our home for our soon-to-be internationally adopted child and we're kinda bumping heads over some of this stuff.

I'm certainly not advocating that you intentionally harm or allow serious harm to come of your child, but I kinda think that the school of hard knocks is not necessarily a bad thing.

I have a healthy respect for kitchen appliances now that I'm an adult. Perhaps if I had never singed my little fingers on a hot stovetop as a child, I would not be so mindful of such now... Likewise, if I hadn't ever banged my shin on a sharp edge, would I ever have learned to avoid sharp-edged furniture or structures?

Seems to be a miracle that any of us kids who were born in the 60's (or before) actually survived childhood. Today's kids will never know the joy of playing at the park (on a merry-go-round, for example) because those activities are now deemed too hazardous. Doesn't that smack anyone else as a little extreme?

Felice Luftschein said...

Rob, where is your kid coming home from? (relentless PC adoption-speak) As you might be able to tell our boys are from Korea.

I think the key in babyproofing is that you want the kid to sense consequences from injury, while avoiding trips to the emergency room. So if it can cause a deep cut or break a bone it gets padded. Our floors are floating wood on foam, so they sound scary when you wail into them, but they absorb a bunch of force.

Our oldest, Henry, fell a lot as he was walking at 10mo, Max is only now walking at 14 months and is far more cautious. So a lot depends on the recklessness of the child. Henry loves to put a pillowcase over his head and walk around blind, bumping into objects.

We have 3.8 acres, so there are a lot fo tree climbing, etc activities. The playgrounds around here have some nice 50's style death-slides, but they did just close one park for being hazardous.
So I know what you mean about extreme. Just strike a balance between learning and (your)convenience.

Did you buy the kid a BB gun yet? Henry is still a little slight of frame to hold his.

Rob said...

Nick, we're hoping to travel to Moscow around October and perhaps have our second trip to bring our child home by Christmas.

We've asked for a single boy of age 24 months or younger, but we left options open for a girl or even siblings. Our dossier is still in the translation stage, but that's been about 6-7 weeks now, so we're hoping for a referral very shortly.

Ordinarily I'm quite patient, but the suspense is just terrible.

We've begun decorating what used to be a guest bedroom for the new occupant and that's certainly fun.

Gotta say "no" on the BB gun for now. I'd be in favor of kids learning to responsibly handle a firearm, but the times are long since gone when a boy needed those skills to help provide for his family. In my grandparent's and parent's days, a gun was a necessary tool. Now, guns are simply a far-too-convenient weapon that mostly are a means of destroying things without a second's thought. I don't quite know how to cross that bridge, but I do know that I'm not ready to do so yet...

Felice Luftschein said...

Rob, the wait is hard, the whole two-trip-russian adoption thing does make it take extra long it seems.
Once you get a referral the wait becomes even harder, until you actually get the kid in which case the real work begins...and then you won't even remember the wait...I have a cousin who has been waiting on an Ethiopian adoption for what seems like an eternity now...
With our second we really felt the wait as we are both pushing 40 (one of us has hit it and passed through) and we really wanted a kid right now!

How about a bow and arrows?
Lawn darts?

Anonymous said...

Congrats Rob and Nick... We we fortunate enough to have our own, but we have talked about adoption potentially in the future if we have difficulties with subsequent kids.

Back to the baby-proofing. I'm not too fond of the whole babyproofing thing..
If there's stuff that will break (and is irreplaceable), or that can be dangerous for the child, then yes - don't take the risk and not secure it - But generally speaking, I'd rather my daughter learn from consistent limits what to touch and what not to touch.

When I grew up my mom was a big Lladro collector (still is) and she had tens of thousands of dollars in porcelain figurines in the house. I never broke a one. Early on if I got near them - it was made abundantly clear that it was off limits. And if I didn't listen, I knew there were repercussions (or "reper-tush-ons" if you know what I mean) Same with the pots in the kitchen. They've always been bottom cabinets, and I pulled them out to bang on them once.. just once. Granted, my parents did have covers on the electrical outlets - that's just silly if you don't. Kids just need to learn what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior, and that starts at home. I'm so tired of parents laughing at bad behavior as cute, or endearing, and then making the child think that it's acceptable. "I'll make mommy laugh if I curse like she does" Obviously, the first step would have been to not curse, but I digress. As much as I think some of her behavior (almost any and all of her behavior actually) is cute and endearing - I push myself to make sure I don't reward inappropriate behavior.

Our daughter is still too young to understand "no" but we still say it to her when she can't have her way. My favorite has been if we have her up on our shoulders, she likes to pull your hair. My wife will reach up and yank on hers and say "No" so she learns, "Hey that hurts" .(She's not ripping out clumps of hair from the baby, so just relax). Anyone besides myself or my wife puts her on their shoulders, and she still pulls.. we're working on that. :-)

Oy.. ok, let me get off my soap box.. and Thanks for some of the ideas here.. I might just make some use of them.

Nessa said...

Clever thinking for the tiles around the fire place. I've been sitting here staring at mine thinking about how to make it safe without having
to spend big dollars as will only be a short term issue while we're looking for a bigger house. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing, much simpler
than what I was thinking of doing ( mattress and assorted blankets awkwardly wrapped around and bound with duct tape *cringe* ) :P