The childproofing postTuesday, July 20, 2010
Second City Baby
My baby is getting to that dreaded age: the one where he's about to start moving, getting into all my stuff and causing a general ruckus around the household. My baby is getting to that dreaded age where I need to start thinking about protecting him against the evils of my home. I only sort of jest. I need to start thinking about childproofing my house. Again.
You see, I've been down the path of childproofing before with my first. I called out an expert (A & H Childproofing of Northbrook) recommended to me by a friend. The owner of the company came to my house for an assessment and promptly told me what a hazard everything, even the benign doorstop, was. As a first time parent with a (non-moving, mind you), baby I was scared [insert expletive]-less.
So I signed up for everything A & H had to offer short of rubberizing my child's bathtub to look like an inflatable pool (which I'm quite sure is as bad of a hazard as the doorstop.)
An exorbinant amount of money later and my house was as safe as Fort Knox. Too bad my kid never needed it. He never climbed the stairs like a maniac, he didn't care about what was in the drawers and he certainly has never ever tried to pull the little knob off the doorstop. He needed certain limits, like a gate at the top of our stairs so he wouldn't fall down, but had I known about his lack of curiosity I wouldn't have spent that bazilion dollars.
Now that I'm about to re-do some of the childproofing mechanisms that haven't lasted over the last four years (the gate my dad broke by rolling a suitcase OVER it) and the various drawer latches that have broken off, I'm deciding what I really need with regards to childproofing.
That's the thing. You either have a crazy baby that terrorizes your life and opens and closes the fridge like it's a toy kitchen, or you have a docile little man like my eldest who doesn't really care.
Here's my advice:
- Go slow. It's fine to have an expert childproofer (I'm using Larry from Safety Matters next) come do a once-over on your house, but don't rush into anything until you figure out if you have a Dora the Explorer or not. If you're feeling like you need a little latching or gating, do a temporary fix to start. I just got samples of Rhoost eco-friendly, stylish, BPA-free baby proofing products (the Sling and the Edge to be specific) to try at my house. They weren't exactly my style (they look like a rubber tire on one of your kid's toys), but I thought they had really good functionality. (Available at Galt Baby and Giggle in the city.)
- Don't be too scared. It's daunting when your child moves around, puts everything in his/ her mouth, but I think a certain amount of safe exploration is necessary for babies and toddlers to learn the difference between right and wrong and yes and no. So trust your gut and proof things that are totally out of your control to protect, like windows opening more than four inches and sharp corners on fireplace hearths (See: New cool product called the HearthSoft. I could fall asleep on that.)
- Take your kids to your friends' houses. And see what they play with there. Sometimes kids get bored of opening and closing the same old things in their own houses, and it's not until they get somewhere else do you notice that your baby really really enjoys spraying all the cleaning bottles in the utility closet.
- Only do-it-yourself to an extent. My husband is pretty handy, but I see no reason for him to install latches into our new buffet or figure out how to attach the dresser to the wall so the television doesn't come crashing down. So we'll be hiring one of the aforementioned experts to handle the heavy duty childproofing tasks. Plus, they'll see things that you don't. Like the lamp cord that was in reach of my baby's crib.
Have any good childproofing tips? Share them here!
Full disclosure- I received the Rhoost baby-proofing products for review, but I was not compensated for writing about them. I did not receive the HearthSoft, but it sure does look comfy.