Baby proofing tips please!!

(80 Posts)
CanadaCalls Mon 23-Jan-12 23:23:44

Ok, so DS has just started crawling ( not with his knees, just soldier crawling through trench type of crawling) and i'm in a tizz!!

I've been looking forward to this moment for so long, nothing cuter than a baby that has just realised he can move without help! BUT, I'm not prepared!

I know the usual, get on their level, crawl around the house (if my old, rickety knees will allow it) and look for dangers that they would see (and of course, make it their mission to touch) plug socket things in plugs, door locks, sponges on the doors to stop slamming etc.....

Just wondered if anybody has had any bad experiences where they have been caught unaware and DC has surprised them with a hidden danger that you missed?

Ta very mooch grin

tinkerbelleworkshop Tue 24-Jan-12 09:48:29

Before DD could crawl she tried army crawling up the stairs :-). Stairgate and clean floors and clean under tables. Remove tables with V sharp corners as she used these to climb too. TBH besides that and locks on the kitchen cupboards we didn't bother as she is never in a room alone. The plug socket things are more exciting to DD than a socket without one so dont know how much help they really are, though each child is different x

startail Tue 24-Jan-12 09:55:34

Cables, if they can be pulled they will be. We ended up with carefully placed heavy boxes of paper work and magazines so DD couldn't see where they crossed between units.

I read a v in depth article about plug socket covers. They took an empty plug socket (no wires or electrics etc) and tried to put a 9mo little finger in one of the holes. The finger couldn't get more than about 2 cm into the hole so nowhere near the length required to touch live wiring.
Also the top hole needs to be opened with something before the two lower holes will connect to anything so even if they stuck a finger in and managed to connect nothing would happen because there wouldn't be a full circuit iyswim.
Plug socket covers can easily be taken off by a baby/toddler making it easier for the baby to stick a finger in one hole whilst the others were being held open with the socket cover.

So basically socket covers are not needed! I've never had any and agree ds is not interested in them because he can't do anything with them whereas if they had a cover on he'd be more likely to play with them/ socket cover.

Socket things are no longer recommended, but if you can block off plugged-in things with furniture it's probably a good idea.

Make sure furniture (chests of drawers, bookcases, wardrobes) is fixed to walls if there's any chance it could topple if climbed on. Also TVs that could fall.

Stairgates yes, and we put one across the kitchen entrance too for when we have the oven on.

A lot of it is changing habits too, remembering to keep knives, hot drinks etc away from edges of surfaces where they can reach, watch out for knives or breakable things in open dishwashers.

Mspontipine Tue 24-Jan-12 10:13:33

My ds managed to get hold of a permenant marker pen - twice sad in newly rented house. Scribbles EVERYWHERE cooker, walls, curtains, chest of drawers, my bed, fridge. Bloody nightmare.

Hide them!!!!

Psammead Tue 24-Jan-12 10:22:57

We have one cupboard in the kitchen full of plastic cups, plates, mixing bowls, funnels, cutlery - basically everything that we could find in our kitchen that was plastic and robust and biggish. That is DD's cupboard. Whenever she went to open a different cupboard, we redirected her to that cupboard, which she regularly 'sorts out'. She's two now and never had an accident with the glass stuff in the other cupboards, although obviously she needs keeping an eye on.

She loves having her own cupboard, likes keeping it tidy and playing with everything in there - it's nice.

OneLittleBabyGirl Tue 24-Jan-12 10:24:53

Btw, don't buy socket covers. They are not approved by IET to be electrically safe. In comparison, the british standard sockets are designed to be child proof. This website explains it.

If you want a more layperson explanation. Basically have a look at your sockets. The top one is earth. Unless the earth socket is engaged, the bottom two live pins are closed. You can see it yourself by trying to push a screwdriver into a socket. By using a cover, you basically make the live pins to be always on. If the baby manage to slide the cover open, they can then poke their fingers into live current. Without the cover, they'll have to first push the safety catch in the earth socket first.

This only applies to UK style sockets. US/Oz ones do not have a safety lock on the earth pin.

PS. I did an electrical engineering degree, and this socket cover thing drives me mad!

mapletrees Tue 24-Jan-12 10:26:09

Tie up any dangling cords eg on blinds - there are a few toddler deaths from these every year and they are easily overlooked. He'll most likely be climbing/pulling himself up soon too, so make sure you look for what he might be able to reach when standing in his cot/on the arm of the sofa etc. Also, keep an eye that no infuriating helpful guests don't untangle them for you. Took me about 48 hours to notice when a friend had untied mine angry

Psammead Tue 24-Jan-12 10:26:50

OneLittleBabyGirl - does that apply to European plug sockets too? They have just two pins.

OneLittleBabyGirl Tue 24-Jan-12 10:30:01

Psammead I don't know european sockets enough to comment. Sorry.

YBR Tue 24-Jan-12 10:40:40

I agree that Socket Covers are not necessary. My view (as an engineer) is that the standards we have here make our sockets some of the safest there are. As the Top (earth) pin needs to go in first, there is really good protection, but a socket cover could be used to defeat this protection. I won't be using them.

Look for cables, sharp corners, glass (patio doors or long mirrors), poisons (i.e. cleaning stuff mainly), hot heating pipes; make sure furniture won't topple, think about the spaces under and between things too - like under beds.
The one I'm not sure how to solve is pet food!

YBR Tue 24-Jan-12 10:49:04

Cross-post with Onelittlebabygirl! Sorry. It winds me up also.
Psammead with European Sockets there's no earth pin presumably so I don't think it applies, but I don't know this.

Further thoughts: My parents had us opening "child proof" medicine bottles from an early age. Rather than prohibiting stuff and making it a challenge, we learnt that it was to be used under supervision. Also I don't think they had cupboard locks, but everything dangerous moved out of reach and they'd managed to teach us by the time we could climb on things. It worked for us but each child is an individual...

hackmum Tue 24-Jan-12 10:53:51

Put cupboard locks on all the kitchen cupboards (probably all cupboards, but especially the kitchen ones). Put everything like books, CDs, ornaments up high, well out of reach. Ditto pens. Never put a hot drink down on a table the baby can reach (ie any table!) Put stairgates at top and bottom of stairs if you haven't already. Obviously keep sharp knives etc out of reach and saucepans on the back hob rings, with handles pointing in.

MoJangled Tue 24-Jan-12 10:58:03

Love the DC's cupboard idea. We have a big drawer with loads of silicone bakeware for DS (14 mo), but haven't made it 'his', think I'll borrow that technique!

Socket covers - wil be removing forthwith. DS does love a good poke in a socket with anything he can get his hands on, and is a demon socket-spotter in shops, cafes etc, so I can see these theories will be thoroughly tested.

Pet food: I've used it as an opportunity to train him to understand 'no'! He gets to help me feed the cats, but if he tries to eat/play with the cat food it's 'No' and distract him onto something else. It took about 3 months but he has got it and now he only raids the bowls when he wants to be naughty!

DH took a router to the coffee table edges after a couple of nasty head bangs.

Safety film over non-toughened glass in cabinet doors.

door stoppers work on drawers that you want them to be able to open and rummage in.

cooking on the back two rings of the cooker as a metter of course now.

notcitrus Tue 24-Jan-12 11:03:06

There's two types of babyproofing - making the place reasonably safe for a baby, and protecting your stuff from the baby...

We didn't use cupboard locks but did swap cooking utensils and cleaning materials so all the chemicals are in high cupboards and the low ones contain only pans and cans etc. Ditto bathroom - all non-toxic stuff under the basin, razors and meds all in the mirror cabinet or on top of it. And bedside tables - meds now in boxes in the top of the wardrobe.

Pens etc all on high shelves, also vases and all. And ds and dn learnt very rapidly (ie by 14mo) that this is Mummy's laptop. Do not touch Mummy's laptop. This is your laptop (Sainsbury's toy one - wonderful!). And if you touch any part of the TV stand or anything on it, the TV breaks and doesn't work for a few hours (partly true...)

And keep doing it - though once the kids learn to climb, there are not enough high shelves in the universe. Ds age 3 has just learnt to put a chair on a footstool to reach the 6-foot cupboard with our precious honeymoon vase on... and dn can open the stairgate. We kept the gates for zoning purposes even when they were fine on the stairs.

OneLittleBabyGirl Tue 24-Jan-12 11:09:04

I've got a fireplace with a stone hearth, but it's only about the height of a thick broadsheet. What should I do to baby proof it? Currently I've got cushions all over it. (Because DD likes to play with those fake coal). I'm not going to use it for the time being so I don't think I need a fire guard. Should I be worry about the hearth? Do you think a stash of cushions on it is enough?

redridingwolf Tue 24-Jan-12 11:22:57

OneLittleBaby - the thing I would worry about in your case is your DD getting the idea that fireplaces/coal are safe to play with. Because that's true in your house, but not in others, and might lead to a very nasty accident somewhere else. We have (unused) fireplaces and don't have a fireguard but taught the DCs not to go in there. Apart from anything it makes a horrible mess if they touch the fake coal - black streaks eve.

ABigGirlDoneItAndRanAway Tue 24-Jan-12 11:29:22

Get into good habits now like always taking the keys out of the door and putting them out of reach, same with your handbag if you don't want your bank cards taken out and hidden all over the house, a crawler will soon be a walker and these are the things I learned the hard way grin. If you want to get thing like table corner protectors and cupboard locks then home bargains has them very cheap.

OneLittleBabyGirl Tue 24-Jan-12 11:37:15

redridingwolf I think I didn't explain myself well enough. I used the cushions to hide the fake coal grin. She got so obsessed with them, and she really doesn't understand no yet. (She's 10mo). So I put two gigantic cushions in front of the fireplace, and she's lost interest since.

So in your opinion, I don't need to do anything about the hearth, in case she fell on it?

The only thing I'm constantly saying no to is the cat bowls. She can't pull up or open cupboards, yet.

glamourmama Tue 24-Jan-12 11:37:37

Hi might be worth getting in touch with your local childrens centre as the one I work at has a home safety scheme where they sell families home safety equipment at a lower cost. Not sure if everyone is eligible migh depend on income but worth a try maybe. From personal experience from own kids plus working in a baby room don't go too mad completely childproofing. Obviously keeping your child safe is v important, but a little bit of risk is good and children need to learn that some things are not to touch. Your child is very young at moment but as they get older I found gently telling them no and moving them away helped them realise not to do certain things. This was helpful when visiting peoples houses who weren't childproof. The time comes when they cheekily keep trying to touch things of course but that's all normal too. Think safety gates are essential but everyone in house MUST remember to close them (I know of a few children who have broken bones by tripping over the bottom of open gates!) Children change so quick at this age so dangers might be short lived you might find yourself changing and rearranging things every few weeks. Sometimes they seem to find dangers u would never dream existed so its a bit of watch and wait too. Good luck!

Diamondback Tue 24-Jan-12 12:19:29

I would agree about UK plug sockets being super-safe - when I was a toddler, I jammed my fingers into all three holes at once and got stuck! Howled the house down until Mum came and freed me, but totally unharmed grin

However, I've moved into a house that was previously owned by an American couple and they've had some US-style sockets installed in the living room - how safe are these? Is it possible to get socket covers anywhere?

Flossie69 Tue 24-Jan-12 12:24:24

Hi there

I agree with all that has been said up-thread about socket covers, but can I recommend these?

These cover the whole socket, plug and switch, so preventing little fingers from switching the outlet on, or as in my case, off! We have one on the socket where the fridge/freezer is plugged in.

My DD, now 20 months, would make a bee-line for that particular switch every time, and sometimes turned it off without us noticing straight away. This cover has saved us from a defrosted freezer disaster.

HappyJoyful Tue 24-Jan-12 12:26:46

I think the best tip is to relax !! I had a friend that went so ott with 'baby proofing' her house it was ridiculous (special foam round a 2 inch firehearth)she's now got a risk adverse, nervous 3 year old and I'm sure it's from too much fussying about risks.
Clearly stairs are a danger but other than that I wouldn't stress - our 12 month DD roams freely - yes a few bumps on the head from a coffee table corner and dirty clothes from clabbering around the fireplace (obviously not on!) but as long as we're watching her and things don't go in the mouth (I do have slight phobia about choking on small objects she tends to pick up normally) I'm not adverse to letting her explore everywhere. As my childminder also says, the more you draw attention to all the 'risks' the more the baby gets curious and wants to do something they feel they can't..
Think someone else says it use it as an opportunity to teach them 'careful' and 'danger' not to panic..

MerryMarigold Tue 24-Jan-12 12:38:01

I never had a stairgate with 3 kids. And they only came down on their own when they were good and ready. There was no 'thrill' of "ooooh, Mummy left the stairgate open, here's my chance to try." I had no accidents when they were little. Ds1 fell downstairs when he was about 3.

I'm a VERY laidback mother, but the 2 closest shaves I've had involved other people. Dd nearly got run over when I thought my Mum had her and I was putting her twin brother in the car on the other side of the road. Mum was just pulling the door closed and dd ran into the road (she was about 18months) because she could see me on the other side of the road. Luckily the car was close and loud enough to frighten her so she stopped. My twins also wandered off at 2.5, when they were being looked after by someone else who had a front door that had a reachable handle to open it. Our friend had a similar aged child who never opens the front door, so they didn't think about it. Luckily I had taught them never, EVER to cross the road without a grownup (after dd incident) so they just kept turning corners and were found eventually - but very scary.

So I suppose what I am saying is: you really can't predict everything, and you can't stop stuff happening. I think the safest thing is to teach them to avoid danger themselves, rather than trying to constantly prevent it happening.

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