Greetings from The House of Too-Little-Too-Late where we have very good intentions, an under-abundance of time, and a fifteen month-old who suddenly moves at the speed of light. Our previously cozy home has recently come to seem like a series of edges as sharp as comic book lightening bolts. Innocent chairs loom like perilous cliffs. Appliances teeter on counter tops and lamps threaten to tumble like boulders.
What we at the home tome have learned so far about safety proofing is that, like any science, it’s…imperfect. As far as we can tell, many of the childproofing gadgets out there are only partially effective and they cause almost as much annoyance as reassurance. Besides, it’s impossible to predict your toddler’s exact proclivities and accurately assess your home’s particular dangers. The truth is that most implementations are reactive; in other words, they are put into effect after an incident. (And we can only hope these “incidents” don’t require a trip to the ER…) There is no doubt that our attempts thus far have helped, but there is also no way of knowing what we’ll need to do next.
Here’s the gate we got to enclose an area in our living room we now call “the playground”:
We installed this when Ian started crawling. It is unclear how long this set-up will last. He will still stay in here for fairly long stretches before yearning to hit “the open road” i.e. the rest of the house, but surely our days are numbered. Also: this gate is of course supposed to be attached to walls at both ends, and though the gate is pretty long, it wouldn’t reach any two walls in our open-ish floor plan. So we attached one end to the slipcover of the chair with wire:
As our son gets heavier and stronger and commences his inevitable mountain/gate-climbing career, that little wire attachment will be quickly compromised.
This Skip Hop rubber flooring has been wonderful:
Until he discovered what a joy it is to pull apart:
We just broke down and got the cabinet latches most people with toddlers seem to have:
Yes, they keep the baby away from the pots, pans and cleaning products, but so far they also keep these items conspicuously far away from the cabinets, too, i.e. they instead get piled up on the counter when you’re in a rush. If there were just 45 more seconds in each day, I would have time to take off these latches, return the contents to their rightful cabinets, and then put the latches back on…
The same goes for these frustrating drawer latches:
I think I actually heard this little gadget laugh at me today when it took me three tries to retrieve a simple spoon. Besides, the drawers still open about two inches, just enough room to pinch tiny fingers.
These are the rubbery things we purchased to put around our coffee table and end tables:
They are super-soft and would certainly protect a small person from hurting his precious face on the edge of a table IF they weren’t so easy for that same small person to pull away from the adhesive. And why keep these attached to a table when you could wave them around triumphantly as if you just caught a hilarious snake?
Note that it only takes about .00004 seconds for a 15 month-old to pull off bubble wrap that has been frantically attached to a table with blue painter’s tape:
This ad hoc attempt at childproofing was highly reactive. Our son face-planted into the edge of this table last weekend while having a grand ol’ time doing laps around that adjacent chair. Though this incident didn’t require a trip to the ER, the blood spooked us at first. No stitches were needed, but a monster-sized blood blister formed on the side of his lip. Feeling panicked, we pulled out this completely ineffectual bubble wrap. (Next plan of action: getting rid of the table all together.)
Fireplaces are challenging. The edge of our cement hearth is terrifyingly jagged Just looking at it makes me shudder:
They do sell hearth pads for this purpose, but they are pricey and none of them seem to have been designed with our hearth’s exact dimensions in mind. For the time being, we’ve created a barrier with pouf/ottomans:
We already had the round CB2 poufs from B.B. (Before Baby) but we recently tracked down the square poufs from Walmart. The problem is that: 1) They are extremely light and easily lifted by baby body-builders-in-the-making and swiftly transported across the room, leaving the hearth completely exposed and 2) They are so nice to climb on in order to get a closer look at the television. Once the child’s face is two inches from the screen, his balance is compromised, causing him to topple and bang his face right into the edge of the TV shelving, an edge pretty much as sharp and hard as the hearth we were originally covering. (True story, sigh.)
There is obviously a lot more work to be done at the home tome safety laboratory: most of it will be experimental and much of it will probably “fall” short, but we’re trying…
Do you have any safety-proofing tips? As always, both genuine and sarcastic comments are enthusiastically accepted.