Baby Proofing: Part II
A few months back I wrote about my concerns for baby proofing our house. As I wrote, I was hoping to find a balance to keep our house both kid and adult-friendly. While I still agree with the basic premise of my post, it’s almost funny reading it now with a few months of dealing with a running, exploring, and frequently falling toddler under my belt. Here are a few things I’ve come to realize over the past few months.
- Securing TVs and furniture to the wall is a must. A few months ago I didn’t realize just how important this was. It wasn’t until Liam started grabbing our TV and hanging on our bookshelf that I understood just what a big deal this step was. My one tip is that since this is probably the most intensive (in terms of the number of screws/nails that go into the walls) part of baby proofing, make sure you’ve chosen a permanent (or at least long term) spot for your furniture. I’m someone who likes to move things around a lot and have had to resign myself to keeping things where they are for the next few years.
- Ditch the coffee table. I thought we were in good shape because our coffee table had rounded edges so Liam wouldn’t have corners to worry about. Turns out, the fact that he could crawl under and bang his head on the table (repeatedly) became our biggest problem. We decided to move the coffee table to the basement for a while and got a storage ottoman in its place. The reduction in head-bang related tears was well worth the trade.
- I heart stair gates. I never thought I would say those words, in fact, I was adamantly against putting a gate at the bottom of our stairs. Any gate I’d ever seen seemed to make it equally difficult for children and adults to navigate the stairs. After Liam began a love affair with climbing the stairs a few months back, I relented and bought this gate. It’s pretty easy to get through, keeps Liam from any unsanctioned climbing and didn’t require drilling any holes in the woodwork.
- Baby proof the rooms you live in. Having a playroom is great but, at least for now, Liam has little interest in playing independently (unless he’s unraveling toilet paper, for that he prefers his privacy). Baby proofing the rooms we spend the most time in (kitchen and living room) are most important at this stage. For the kitchen, for now we chose not to put any cabinet locks and instead moved all chemicals, glassware, etc to high cabinets so for the most part Liam is free to roam as he pleases. The tupperware drawer is absolutely his favorite spot in our whole house.
The biggest thing I’ve learned over the past few months is that with few exceptions, toddlers are like tiny, adorable, destructive ninjas but each in their own way. The china cabinet that I was so nervous about? Liam never showed any interest in that at all. If it weren’t for visits from toddler friends, I’m positive we could still have it up with no disturbance. But Liam’s fascination with paperback books (and removing then violently flipping through each one from our bookcase) seems to be an interest not shared by all of his cohorts. Because of this, I’ve discovered that other than the basics, it totally makes sense to take a wait-and-see approach to baby-proofing. That and when Liam is out of sight and a little too quiet, be very afraid.