My best friend, Whitney, hired a professional Baby Proofer to come to her home and lecture her about the various ways a crawling or wobbling baby could be killed by her television and furniture. He also had a full bag of tools and devices to correct her many imperfections. By the time he got out of there, every pointy surface was rounded by foam corners.
On the other end of the spectrum, I invited over a friend with young toddlers to free-range and followed close enough behind to correct all the danger zones before they became real problems. My laissez-faire approach wasn’t on purpose, but I was happy to leverage my friend’s experience rather than pay an expert for a visit.
So, what is child-led babyproofing? It is correcting the most significant hazards before your child is mobile and taking a wait-and-see approach before wrapping your furniture in bubble wrap. Let me give you a few examples:
MUST FIX! If something can kill your baby, fix it before your baby discovers it.
- Falling on baby. Use furniture straps to make sure that all TVs, book cases, dressers cannot tip over onto a child. Living in earthquake country, I’m doubly obsessed about falling furniture.
- Poisoning baby. Put hazardous chemicals, medicines, and cleaning supplies on a high shelf or a locked cabinet.
- Baby falling from high up. Block off the tops of stairways and dangerous windows with sturdy baby gates and window guards.
MAYBE FIX. Some babies are more chill than others. Want to wait and see? For my kids, I covered all the outlets and had to double-lock one exterior door, but I neglected the corner guards. I’ve also seen toddlers who never thought to explore anything.
- Baby bangs into stuff. Cushion bathtub spouts and sharp corners on tables if your little one is constantly getting banged in the head. Edge guards can be rather ugly and turn into chew toys.
- Baby gets zapped. Cover electrical outlets with safety plugs if your wiring is old or your baby is especially curious.
- Baby escapes. Secure exterior doorknobs or backyard fences if the child has easy access to busy roads. Yikes. You can use high-up deadbolts or knob covers.
- Baby knocks stuff down. Move the most precious and dangerous tchotchkes from the bottom shelf. Expect to teach the child the word “NO” along with some basic rules.
DON’T BOTHER. To figure out what baby-proofing tasks I will skip, I evaluate the risk and the reward. If the danger is relatively minor and the child will learn quickly not to do certain things, I skip it.
Whitney offers her 3 secrets to babyproofing, check it out!