You could buy and install countless gadgets and locks on every door, drawer, nook and cranny in your home (or even hire a pro to do it!). But smart parents can save a bundle with a few clever DIY tricks. So channel your inner MacGyver and follow our lead!
photo: Donnie Ray via Flickr
When to Start Babyproofing
As your little one gets close to crawling, it’s go time. How should you start? First, get on the floor and look at the surroundings from a baby’s perspective. See what’s tempting to grab and what’s at eye level. Then, put away loose items and secure furniture that could fall over. Here are 12 budget-friendly safety tricks:
1. 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.
2. Cover outlets: Put adhesive bandages 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, because they can attract the attention of little ones!
3. 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
4. Block off the fireplace: Babyproof a fireplace without sacrificing aesthetics too much. Cover the opening with a big 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).
5. 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.
6. 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 cabinets.
7. Create a TP protector: Babies love to unroll toilet paper as much as pets do. Keep your TP intact with a 2-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
8. Protect with pool noodles: These summertime staples can be used for everything from door stoppers to preventing tots from rolling out of bed and being used as crib rail covers. They’re good for wrapping around almost any sharp edges to keep little fingers from getting hurt.
9. Enlist tennis balls too: 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 it’s 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Get a handle on vertical drawers: Slide a yardstick or tension rod (or another long, thin object) through the handles of vertically stacked drawers, rather than spending time and money on individual locks.
What are your creative ideas for babyproofing? Share your tips in a comment.
-Whitney C. Harris