While you could buy and install countless baby proofing gadgets and locks on every door, drawer, nook and cranny in your home (or hire a pro to do it for you), smart parents can save a bundle with a few clever DIY tricks that make your home safer for baby. Baby proof your cabinets and baby proof your fireplace and more with these babyproofing hacks.
photo: JFGagnonPhotograhie via Pixabay
When to Start Babyproofing
As your little one gets close to crawling, it’s time to babyproof their environment. To start, get on the floor and look at the surroundings from a baby’s perspective. See what’s tempting to grab, what’s at eye level, and what could injure them. Then, put away fragile items, secure furniture that could fall over and pad sharp edges.
Every few months, and when your child reaches a new milestone, like walking, evaluate your home for additional babyproofing needs. Here are 13 budget-friendly safety tricks you can easily install yourself:
1. Secure cleaning products: Plastic bins with lids and latches that baby can’t open are a safer place for cleaning products. If you can store them on a high shelf or in a cabinet as well, even better.
2. Corral cords: Cut a slit down an empty paper towel roll or piece of pipe insulation and thread multiple wires through it to keep them from becoming tangled in your tot’s curious hands. You can also use zip ties to pull together cords and then tuck them far away from baby’s reach.
3. Cover outlets: Put adhesive bandages or duct tape over electrical outlets if you don’t have plastic covers (this trick works great at hotels and family and friends’ houses too!). Avoid cartoon varieties of bandages, because they can attract little ones’ attention.
4. Sock it to knobs: To keep little hands from turning door knobs, cover them with a spare sock and wrap a hair tie or rubber band around the base to hold the sock in place. An adult can still squeeze and turn the handle, but a child won’t be able to.
photo: Renee Servinsky of Sassy Wife/Classy Life
5. Block off the fireplace: Babyproof a fireplace without sacrificing aesthetics too much by covering the opening with a piece of magnetic chalkboard. It will block off the entrance and give little ones a surface on which to draw and play with magnets (choose large magnets that don’t pose a choking hazard).
6. Place dishtowels out of reach: Nix the dishtowel hanging off of your oven door handle. Tots can pull down on it and open a hot oven or injure themselves with the heavy door. Move towels to a higher shelf or windowsill, or put them on command hooks out of baby’s reach.
7. Use a toilet paper tube tester: Skip purchasing a commercial choke tester. Anything that can fit into an empty toilet paper tube is small enough for your baby to choke on. Keep all those wee things locked up in drawers and tall cabinets.
8. Create a TP protector: Babies love to unroll toilet paper as much as pets do. Keep your TP intact and out of baby’s hands and mouth with a two-liter soda bottle! Cut off the top and bottom of the bottle and cut a slit down the remaining center piece. Use tape to cover sharp, raw edges and slide the container over your toilet roll to cover it. See the tutorial at My Frugal Baby Tips.
photo: Diana Mattoni of Red Delicious Life
9. Protect with pool noodles: These summertime staples can be used for everything from door stoppers to crib rail covers that prevent tots from rolling out of bed. They’re also good for wrapping around sharp edges to minimize bumps and scrapes.
10. Try some tennis balls: Tennis balls can soften sharp corners where a pool noodle doesn’t fit. Cut a few small slices into the ball’s core so you can wedge it over items like table corners. It may not be pretty, but this hack is pretty temporary. Before you know it, your toddler will be steady enough that you no longer feel the need to protect every corner in your home.
11. Shorten pull cords: Use clothespins or twist ties to shorten and hold up pull cords on curtains and blinds to remove this strangulation risk from your home.
12. Band together on horizontal cabinets: Attach hair ties or rubber bands to keep paired cabinet doors closed. Just loop the tie around the handles and your baby will only be able to open the doors slightly.
13. Get a handle on vertical drawers: Slide a yardstick or tension rod (or another long, thin object) through the handles of horizontally stacked drawers, rather than spending time and money on individual locks.
—Whitney C. Harris