Childproofing or Sanityproofing?

Posted by  | Monday, April 12, 2010  at 1:38 PM  
Have you been down the childproofing aisle at Babies R' Us lately!? I hadn't for at least a year and it seems to have EXPLODED! Compared to the products available - we use very little physical barriers for childproofing. What I do use is more often for MY OWN SANITY than my children's safety. Not ashamed to admit that, the childproofing products work great for that purpose too. :)

When we first had Will, I did the typical baby gate to block the steps and outlet covers. But that was it! When I first started keeping Ava, she was 8 months old and Adeline was 6 months old. Will was not even 2.5 yet. So, I did add a few extra baby gates and cabinet locks. Mostly to block everyone in the living room and specifically OUT of the kitchen (and food!) - otherwise I was tripping over babies while trying to cook.

Over time, the only things I've added have been for sanity not safety. But again, they work great! The following pictures were taken 10 minutes ago and truly show exactly how we use these products in our home currently:

Adeline's door is on the left and Will's on the right. The door knob cover over Adeline's door was initially to keep Will out. Prior to our slight modification to his doorknob (look closely - the lock is on the outside) we would find him wandering and sometimes in his sister's room while she was asleep! He's since figured out how to open doors with knob covers although its not easy and he often gives up.

About Will's door knob...we had a short phase of Will getting out of bed and wandering. While we nipped it in the bud with some discipline, it scared me to DEATH. I would turn around and he would be there when I was LEAST expecting it. So to save me from a heart attack, we decided to turn the lock around. (Not to mention keep him from falling down the stairs in the middle of the night...) We rarely lock it now, especially as we're working REALLY hard to encourage him to get up on his own and use the bathroom when necessary at night or first thing in the morning.

We only have a sprinkling of outlet covers left in our house. Honestly, I've only ever seen Will even think about playing with one but we also nipped that in the bud and it hasn't happened since.

BUT...part of the reason it hasn't happened since is that I added these outlet covers to the visible outlets in Will's room. They are the kind you have to slide to the right to insert the plug. When the plug is removed it slides back to the left automatically. I got them off Amazon when we were having a problem with Will obeying and plugging/unplugging his humidifier. The next battle came with his small Christmas tree we had in his room. So with these, he is safe should he choose to disobey. We also put one on the outlet where we had our big Christmas tree plugged in. All of the kids liked that plug because it turned the lights on!

I do have these cabinet locks in my kitchen and bathrooms. Obviously to keep cleaning products "locked" up - but again, Will can get past them now and has been able to for a while. They are really just a visual reminder that he is not allowed in those cabinets. The cabinet on the left that is undone is for food. Again a visual reminder that they have to ask first - otherwise my kids would help themselves to snacks all day!

The last item we use most right now really is the monitor. I still use this for both of my kids and I can hear (and usually be able to tell) exactly what they are doing when out of my sight in their rooms. I use the Fisher Price Sound and Lights monitor and when Adeline came along, we bought a second set at a consignment sale. Each kid is on a different channel and it works great. (At night - our room is so close to theirs - I can hear either without the monitor.)

I usually know which child I need to listen for at which time. For example, I listen for Will at the beginning of nap time until I know he's asleep as this is the most likely time he would get up and get in trouble! Once he's asleep - I switch to Adeline as she's the most likely to wake up crying and wake the others! Again, the monitor is more about my sanity than their safety.

The bottom line is (in my opinion) - don't go overboard with safety items. Teach your child what is off limits and why (if they are old enough - like Will). Add safety barriers as needed. Some may not have the same laid back attitude we do - or maybe I'm kidding myself and I'm not laid back at all!?

Any other interesting tips for childproofing or sanityproofing your home?


Amy said...

Great post, Christina. I think it is so much more important to teach your children to obey when you say "no" as opposed to just make it off limits (ie-outlet covers, cabinet locks). There is a place and developmental stage for these safety precautions, but we have really worked on teaching them that they can't touch that because we said to obey- not because there's an outlet cover there. I like how you referred to it as a "visual reminder". That's a great way to look at these safety things- they do not replace your discipline but reinforce and remind the kids of the principles you have already taught. Thanks again!

Pam said...

Great post, Christina! I am a firm believer that discipline is key to childproofing in the home.

Becky said...

My son is 10 months and is very mobile (not quite walking, but just about) and we're in the stage of trying to babyproof. Our cabinets don't have knobs, can anyone recommend a way to keep them closed without drilling into the cabinets? We know we want to sell our home in the next three years or so and I'd really like to have something we can remove. Any suggestions??

Christina said...

I've heard of magnetic and adhesive ones as well! Here is a link to the BRU website and all of their cabinet locks. They show several magnetic and adhesive kinds that aren't too expensive either!

I like this one:

Good luck!!

KC said...

We have the adhesive ones Christina mentioned in her link to BRU. My son learned how to open them within 2 months.

Courtney said...

We drilled and put the cabinet locks in only after my son pulled out some glass bowls that shattered around his feet. He has learned to not even try to open them now. It was really for the peace of mind though for me. Also, I think I should have thought better about where I store my things in the kitchen (at this point I'm not changing it, I really dont have the time or brain power with a 20 mo and 6 mo old)

Anonymous said...


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