Baby Proofing: Is it Fool Proof?

Most families I’ve worked for have hired professional baby proofers.  Parent’s choose the baby proofer option rather than do it themselves, because, like all families they fear something in their home will do irreparable damage to their child.  Safety aside, professional baby-proofers offer a convenient service to those with money and little time at home, why do something someone—a professional can do for you?

What I’m concerned with is what happens after the baby-proofers leave? Do all of the door, cabinet, toilet, window and faucet locks help protect your child? While some of these preventative measures could help protect your child from scalding water, jammed fingers, etc., this form of baby-proofing is restricted to the house and to the things where child-locks can be installed. What about everything else?  What about the parents and adults who despite (or because) of the baby-proofing still don’t know what could be hazardous for their child both in and out of the home?

Tip: Do the baby proofing yourself so you can assess what could be dangerous. This will make you a more aware parent and nanny when it comes to safety in and out of the home.

Most families I’ve worked for have gotten sloppy after baby-proofers come either by leaving potentially dangerous things at eye level or by neglecting to use the safety materials the professionals installed.  Professional baby-proofers do provide a convenient service, but they don’t teach or inform the parents why these things need locks or what parents should look out for around the house.  The baby-proofers don’t (rightfully so) account for all of the things that lay around any given home, because that’s the parent/caregiver’s job.

Things families leave at eye/reachable level after the baby-proofers come:  Wine corks, guitar picks, pens (potential choking risk), hot coffee/tea (burning risk), computer cords (both a tripping and strangulation risk), and breakables (cutting risk).

I believe professional baby proofing should be avoided because it stops the parent/nanny from thinking about what is safe and what isn’t. A lot of people who have never or rarely been around babies don’t know what, daily, household things could be dangerous.  Without driving yourself crazy with paranoia think about what she could get into, is that dangerous? Is that too small, could she choke on it?

Tip: First time parents should especially take the time to think about what is ok and what is not: learn, decide and trust your instincts.

The parent’s who are first timers, not only with their baby but, with babies in general, should not feel any inadequacy or embarrassment for not knowing these things. You learn with experience, by watching your child and the environment she’s in. Having a baby-proofer come install things removes you from the process of thinking about safety, it puts safety issues aside and allows for parents/nannies to think, “well, that’s taken care of.”

Tip: Think and assess what’s in your cabinets- you might not need to block everything off.

I recommend doing the baby proofing yourself so that you can assess what is dangerous and what is not, where to put cabinet stoppers and where you might not need them.  The process of baby-proofing, of looking at the objects in your house that are at eye/reachable level will make you safer in the home and outside the home.

YourBabyNanny Baby proofing guide:

General: Put all potentially hazardous things up 3.5 feet or lock in cabinet/closet.

What’s hazardous?

  • Cleaning supplies.
  • Small objects: I took a continued CPR class a while back and the teacher suggested using a toilet paper roll (the cardboard part) as a frame of reference- so anything smaller than that should be out of reach. (Ex. pens, guitar picks, wine corks.)
  • Breakables.
  • Sharp objects.
  • Heavy things that are not secured.
  • Cords.
  • Laptops.
  • Remotes/things with batteries.

Tip: Let your kids explore safe cabinets.

Drawer/cabinet locks and stoppers: I think drawer/cabinet locks are useful if you have breakables or potentially dangerous things in them, if not don’t use them. Look in cabinets, drawers and closets, than decide if there is anything dangerous.  If everything looks fine than it’s ok to leave it unlocked. Let your kids explore these safe places with you, show them that not all things are blocked off, just certain, unsafe places.

What to lock:

Tip: Remember to explain to your children why these things are protected or off limits so they learn to be carful when outside of the house.

Kitchen:

  • Oven door guard: YES.
  • Stove burner guard: YES.
  • Cabinets: You decide-safe cabinets let your baby/toddler explore the mixing bowls while you cook.
  • Fridge: No/you decide: It takes a good amount of strength to open a fridge. But keep glass bottles on the higher shelf just in case.

Bathroom:

  • Toilet seat lock: No, but keep the lid down or door closed when you aren’t in there!
  • Bath Faucet lock: No, unless you have scalding hot water.
  • Shower rod safety: Make sure to have a shower rod that is drilled into the wall.
  • Razors: keep in a cabinet or out of reach meaning at least 3.5 feet up.
  • Cabinet locks/stoppers: You decide.

All Rooms:

  • Outlets: Make sure NOT to get removable outlet blockers these are a choking hazard.  Instead replace the face of the outlet with one that covers the outlets with a swivel piece.  Look at KIDCO  outlet cover.
  • Table Corners: I do recommend getting some to cover sharp corners.
  • Doors: I don’t think door “finger pinch guards” are necessary. I think they actually deter door safety because the parent/nanny forgets to explain door safety to their children when the door is protected.  Start showing door/finger safety in the house, but keep an eye out!!
  • Windows: I think window guards are good if the window is low to the floor or if you are in a high-rise.