I’m just going to say it. Babies are scary. Parenting is legitimately keeping the child from killing themselves for the first several years. But what needs to be locked? How do you know when you are going overboard? If you have to cross your legs while unlocking the toilet, I personally think you may have found the line. But here’s what I know. It depends on your kid. So stop by the Resource Library to get your essential baby proofing checklist. And read on for a few tips.
When to Start Baby Proofing
I’ll be honest here. We didn’t baby proof anything in the house we lived in when my son was born. I’m sure you are thinking that I’m crazy and a terrible mom, but wait. My son was born at the end of July and we moved halfway across the country the first week of January. BEFORE he was even 6 months old. So we had absolutely no reason to baby proof that house.
But now my son is 2 years old. And, Lord help us, we have SO many things locked. I never thought I’d have to lock this stuff but it became essential to everyday life. And for me to not want to pull my hair out (oh wait.. I still do some days! Ha!)
And my daughter is 8 months and crawling and climbing over absolutely EVERYTHING. Want to know her favorite things to go to? Cords. She wants to chew them.. No, obviously we don’t let her. But she knows where we keep them and tries to get them out. She is WAY too smart or her own good.
So all that said. I am a strong believer in you baby proof as you go. Of course, there are exceptions to that and I will get into them in a moment. But I don’t see a point in having all the kitchen cabinets locked when baby can’t even hold his head up. Or putting door locks on everything before the baby can walk or reach them.. that’s like a whole extra year of struggling to open every door you use in your house..
Here are a few of the exceptions I mentioned:
- Anything toxic
This is not an all-inclusive list. But you will notice a common theme. If it can cause major injury or death, just lock it up or keep it FAR out of reach. You don’t want the first time you find your child doing something you shouldn’t be to involve drinking detergent. So keep it up and out of the way. I am a strong believer in only baby proofing as you need to.
What to Baby Proof
There are a TON of ways to go about baby proofing. You can go all out and just baby proof everything. Every door, closet, drawer, piece of furniture, and everything else you can think of.
Or you can just go with the absolute musts of chemicals and doors to tools, and toxic cleaners.
But you can also fall somewhere in the middle. Like me.
I always knew we’d do the major essentials. And the lower level in the kitchen. But I wasn’t sure what else. So I’ll do a quick run-through of what we have now that my son is 2 and my daughter is 8 months. Make sure you stop by the Resource Library for your FREE printable Essential baby proofing checklist.
- Bathroom door – We use these Handle covers
- Side door to outside
- Kitchen cabinets and drawers below counters – I LOVE these magnetic locks because you can’t see them and they are easy to install and remove.
- Medicine cabinet
- Laundry room cabinet
- Tool closet – We use this Locking Strap for closets and the fridge.
- Trash can – We use these Adhesive Latches on the trash can lid and around corners on the TV stand doors.
- TV stand doors
The way that we have decided what to baby proof has always been to watch our kids. I spend all day with them so it’s easy for me to realize what is going to become an issue. At one point Tobias wouldn’t stay out of the closet where my husband keeps the tools. So now it has a lock. He likes to open the fridge but will take things out and put them all over the floor. Then walk away leaving the door open. Not great for a house with 2 big dogs! It is locked. And the day he tried to eat old food out of the garbage can, I put a lock on it.
So use your judgment and knowledge of your kids. And do your baby proofing as needed based on that.
**I want to be VERY clear. You need to SUPERVISE your child. I can’t leave Tobias alone in the kitchen for longer than a second. He can now reach the countertops about 3 inches in and will take whatever he touches. Including sharp knives, hot pans, anything. And if he can’t reach it he will go get a box or something to stand on so he can. So PLEASE never leave your child alone unless you have locked EVERYTHING that could be a hazard. Toilets, garbage, medicine, chemicals, stairs, doors, EVERTHING**
Sorry about all the caps there, but I can’t stress this point enough. Kids, toddlers, and infants especially need to be watched pretty much all the time. They are sneaky, fast, and always surprisingly capable. So please make sure they are supervised to avoid any injuries possible. But just to be totally transparent, Tobias is always covered in bruises and hits his head at least 3 times a day, so even with supervision, your kids will still get hurt.