Baby-proofing Your Home! — The Bump
May 2020 Moms

Baby-proofing Your Home!

I had a specific question but figured I could start a general thread on baby-proofing your home.  FTMs can ask questions and STMs hopefully can answer from experience what worked or didn't work for them, what was important, and even recommend specific products that they loved, or mention ones that were total fails.

Re: Baby-proofing Your Home!

  • My question that prompted me to start this was, do any of you have a wood stove and what did you do to make it safer (but still functional for you) once baby was mobile?  Was it even an issue?  All my pets learned pretty quick not to touch it when it's hot without an injury to teach them this and without much guidance on my part.  Are babies soooo oblivious that everything in our homes is as hazardous as others would have us believe, or are there some sort of primal survival instincts that keep them alive?  I know when I was a baby there certainly wasn't nearly so many baby-proofing products on the market and my whole generation seems to still be here.  Babies have been around and surviving far longer than most of these products on the market!
  • @pirateduck My dad has a wood burning stove and my kids were oblivious to the danger when they were little. Also, little ones start running around and playing, and can fall against it. You either need to be hypervigilant or have some kind of gate around it.
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  • ruby696 said:
    @pirateduck My dad has a wood burning stove and my kids were oblivious to the danger when they were little. Also, little ones start running around and playing, and can fall against it. You either need to be hypervigilant or have some kind of gate around it.
    Thank you.  I didn't really think about the running and falling thing, but you are right, I witnessed this at my parents house at a family gathering, the littles were running around playing and oblivious to pretty much everything around them, right up until they knocked over the glass top table!  So yes, even though they have control and know not to mess with the furniture, accidents happen, especially in play time!  

    Unfortunately there's no easy way to gate it short of constructing some sort of permanent railing, but I'm sure we can figure it out.
  • @pirateduck Short answer is yes, you will need to put up a gate or something around your wood stove.  You don't want them to have that learning experience of a severe burn to teach them not to touch it.  Not to mention the brick hearth that generally goes around a fireplace.  My parents did all of these things when I was a baby 34 years ago.  Survivor's bias isn't really a valid argument, in my opinion.  Kids also didn't ride in car seats back in the day, but if recent research tells me I can decrease my child's chance of dying in a car crash exponentially, you'd better believe I'm going to do it, even if Grandma is saying to me "Back in my day we didn't even have seat belts and we survived."

    At the end of the day, you do what you want to baby-proof, but I'd rather spend the relatively small amount of money to keep them safer.  
    Me: 34 | H: 39
    Married Sept. 2013
    DS: Nov 2016
    MMC: 11/16/18 (9w6d)
    CP: 2/3/19 (5w3d)
    BFP!  8/24/19 at 12 DPO
    EDD: 5/3/19  *please stick, baby*

  • @pirateduck if it’s too hard to put something around the stove, could you section off another part of the room for baby to play in? Like a little corner with all the toys to keep ‘Em contained?
  • Oh, @shamrocandroll I agree, just because things were done a certain way back in the day doesn't mean that's the best way and to ignore safety, but I also think there are companies out there preying on us FTMs making us paranoid about a million and one things, not all of which are realistic.  What have you found to be the most important things to baby-proof in your own home?
  • edited November 5
    I grew up in a daycare house, so everything was child-proofed and it was annoying AF to live in and I needed a break when adulthood came. So...we have never child-proofed, except for a fireplace screen and putting cleaning products in upper cabinets. Neither kid was curious enough to get into things they shouldn't, they both listened and could be redirected easily, and they had healthy respect for the stairs. Even now, they don't go into the kitchen without permission and are very careful on the stairs.

    That said, I am very much pro-proofing. You don't need to go gung-ho when they're infants. Do the simple and common sense stuff, and by the time they reach mobility, you'll have a better glimpse into personality and what you'll actually need. I was all set to proof what I needed to and would've bought whatever was necessary; it just wasn't ever necessary with them and for their personalities. For this one, if I have to proof, I'll proof.
    South Beach v1.0: Never Forget
    Mini-Pretzel -- 8/13/12
    Oops! We Did It Again! 1/7/14
  • @pirateduck we have a Pellet stove and last year we used this style gate to block off the entire corner. Last year she didn’t mess with the gate but if she did, we would’ve attached it to the wall. You can detach it or use it as the octagon shape to contain the kid. DD is now 2 and doesn’t go near it so we haven’t put the gate up this year. 

    DD1 born 1/15/14
    DD2 born 9/10/17
    BabyFruit Ticker

  • Once my daughter started to get really mobile (walking), we needed cabinet locks, stove knob covers (for a gas stove where the knob is on the front), and a fridge lock. We also tethered our super tall bookcases to the wall. We didn't need outlet covers. 

    We have a wood stove insert in the fireplace in our new house, so I will need to be gating that off next winter... ours is in a corner so it's relatively easy.

    You likely won't really need to worry about much baby proofing until at least October of next year. 
    DD #1 April 2017
    expecting mid-late May 2020

  • We didn't bother with any baby proofing until DS could crawl - so about 6-7 months old and then we baby proofed as he grew and became more mobile. 
    The only things I think are absolutely necessary are outlet covers - as these are right at baby's level and baby's love to stick things in things. Also making sure any cords are out of reach (lamps, electronics, etc.) 

    We also used the cushion things for the corners of our coffee table because it was right at DS's level when he started crawling. 

    baby gates if you have stairs - we had one at the bottom and one at the top (the one at the top was kept up until DS was about 2.5, but we took the one at the bottom down after he got the hang of crawling up the stairs (and he started climbing on the gate, making it more dangerous). I definitely recommend a baby gate with a door so it's easy to go up and down - also way easier if you have pet. 

    That's all we did - but we are pretty laissez-fair when it comes to baby proofing - we take the "teach them from the beginning" approach. We did have cabinet locks on the cabinets with cleaning supplies under the sink and on with my heavy glass cookware - we had to end up getting this crazy trick locks because DS was a ninja and figured out the first two locks we tried. 

    Now DS is almost 4 and the only things we still have are outlet covers on about half the outlets - but he can definitely take them off. 
  • DS2 just turned four and is an escape artist and toddler tornado. We have all the outlets covered (still!), an extra high chain lock on all outside doors, and gas knob covers for the stove. We have a gas fireplace, but it’s disconnected because when we tried to use it last year he touched it a few times and it does get hot. It really depends on the child. We never had to baby proof for DS1. He’s super cautious and not wild at all. More of a worrywart than anything. 
  • @pirateduck I would recommend something like an accordion gate to give the stove a wide berth. You'll need something heavy to secure that kind of gate because it's suppose to make a circle to secure. Something like container of cat litter to brace it, for example, will keep kids away from it. Like you said, there's some things you just don't need them to learn from experience. 

    Other baby proofing, we just use cabinet locks, knob covers, and regular baby gates to keep kids and pets out of places they don't need to be. We like the Regalo gates pretty well. 
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • @pirateduck I would 100% tether furniture and TVs that are taller than them.  I saw a video of a toddler using dresser drawers as stairs to climb the dresser, and the whole thing fell over onto them, and that video scarred me for life.  That wouldn't be a "wait to see" case for me, personally.  The other big one is our stairs to downstairs.  I got an extra tall gate for that and hard-screwed it into the wall on both sides.  That thing's not going anywhere.  Outlet covers or safety outlets are also non-negotiable for me.  I won't wait and see if they decide to stick something into an outlet on a whim one day.  Other than that, door knob covers or gates for rooms you don't want them going into (I did this for our master bedroom as opposed trying to babyproof everything in there) and cabinet/door locks for things like under the sink or knife drawers.  But you can wait until they're at least crawling for a lot of that stuff.  
    Me: 34 | H: 39
    Married Sept. 2013
    DS: Nov 2016
    MMC: 11/16/18 (9w6d)
    CP: 2/3/19 (5w3d)
    BFP!  8/24/19 at 12 DPO
    EDD: 5/3/19  *please stick, baby*

  • @shamrocandroll I actually caught a dresser, while pregnant with DD, when it started to come down on DS. It was so scary. We have all large furniture pieces tethered now. I also tethered pictures above cribs, because I'm in CA and we have earthquakes.

    We put those foam strips on the edge of a tile walkway (split level), and locks on cabinets. That was about it. Agree with those who said you'll get to know your kid and can decide what's appropriate for your home.
  • @ruby696 So scary, and not something I would have necessarily thought of because "it wasn't a thing when I was a kid."  But an easy and inexpensive way to avoid a serious accident.  Also, yes!  Never would have thought about glass over the crib until my first BMB was discussing it.  I opted to do a wall decal over the crib and put the pictures over the dresser/changing table instead.  
    Me: 34 | H: 39
    Married Sept. 2013
    DS: Nov 2016
    MMC: 11/16/18 (9w6d)
    CP: 2/3/19 (5w3d)
    BFP!  8/24/19 at 12 DPO
    EDD: 5/3/19  *please stick, baby*

  • Ohhh, going on crib placement. If its near a window be careful of window hangings,
    check locks and screens, and remove cords from the blinds. Also check around and under crib for outlets you might miss later on. We have a broiler under our stove that gets super hot since it’s a gas stove, we used a latch on that because DS2 pulled it open once while exploring the kitchen. Check gaps between large furniture items, DS2 is known for crawling in gaps and getting stuck. We have a single level house and have a gate at the end of the hallway. Keeps the young kids within view. DS1 has legos and tiny stuff,
    plus the cat box and bathrooms so it’s easier to have that blocked off and only let them explore when we’re back there to supervise. 

    I’ll probably think of tons of things. DS2 is a terror. Once we were on vacation in a hotel, I went to the bathroom to blow dry my hair and I guess MH dosed off and DS2 somehow got out of the hotel room and was in the parking lot! Someone saw him and brought him back to our room thankfully. Since then I’ve been kind of crazy about kid proofing my house.
  • One good babyproofing (and pet proofing) method is to get on all fours and walk/crawl around your house. You will see the dangers at the level of a mobile baby and the things they can get into.

    You may not need to baby proof the whole house right off the bat, but should identify the potential dangers early on. Then once they are mobile you want to close cabinets, get baby gates etc.
    Make sure that you take care of falling risks: book shelves, TVs, drawers, they should be attached to the wall.
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       Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

  • All our bookcases and dressers are tethered. That’s an easy cheap diy job if you have the tools. I put a gate at the top of the stairs. I keep cleaners in the top section of the pantry. Other than that I haven’t really done anything. See what your kid ends up really getting into before you buy all the things. 

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • @pirateduck we have a woodstove insert in our home in ny we don't have a gate for it but we also don't use it ever. BIL has a free standing wood stove and we spend a week at his house for Christmas with it running. Last year dd was 7 months and crawling and we just kept her away from it. Not sure what we will do this year. Currently I have her trained well when I need to open the oven I say hot hot hot and she backs up to a corner in the kitchen and waits until I'm done. The family I was a nanny for after college had a black gate system that went around their wood stove and had a door you could open and shut to take care of the fire. It worked well and was quite sturdy the father built the house himself and was an engineer, so I'm not sure if it is a system that can be bought or not. 

    We also have death trap stairs in ny. Think stair case dividing livingroom and dining room with no banister or wall on either side. There's no way to put up a gate unless we gate off an entire room so we taught her at 9 months how to climb them safely and then at 13 months we started with how to come down them safely (we didn't visit that house in between those months) she can safely go up and down stairs and now at our apartment in nh we have a gate at the top of the stairs we only close at night in case she gets out of bed learns how to open her door and try to come to our room. It hasn't happened yet, but the landing between the bedrooms is narrow and when I'm tired makes me nervous. 
    Me: 32 |  DH: 44
    Started Dating: November 2007
    Married: July 2017
    DD May 2018, #2 hopefully May 2020
  • Like others have said I think a lot you can kind of wait and see as your baby starts getting into stuff, but a few things you should make sure to do before they become an issue are tethering furniture like dressers etc and also tvs, locking up cleaning supplies, and locks/gates around pool if you have one.  Also be careful of toilets because I heard a story from my daughter's S17 facebook group one of the girls wandered into the bathroom and tried to get something out of the toilet and fell in head first and ended up passing away.  We have monkey latches on our bathroom doors or keep them locked and use a key to get in, but DD didn't start opening doors until 1.5 or 2 so for awhile just shutting doors was sufficient.
  • @shamrocandroll Late with this comment but back to the "didn't have car seats back in the day": DH's mom has told me she used to just put him on the floor of the passenger side when he was an infant. 🤦‍♀️
  • We never did crazy baby proofing... but, like others have said, we blocked off the fireplace with a little gate and moved all cleaning supplies up. My ILs have a wood burning stove and I cannot tell you how many times that I have pulled DD away from it because she doesn’t understand that it’ll burn her and she can’t open the front door of it. 

    DD was very late to crawl and walk so by the time she moved, she understood “no”... however, now she’s a little over 2 and doesn’t want to listen to “no” anymore so we’ve put child locks on the important doors (ie. basement stairs) and outlet covers on just in case because they’re like $1 for 20+ haha

    When we get DD a new bookshelf and dresser, they’ll definitely get bolted up because it’s too easy to risk it. A mom from my Aug ‘17 BMB just had a terrible scare with her son and the bookshelf so I’m fully convinced to do it. 

    When I was pregnant with DD, I got a lot of grandma-aged people saying “don’t baby proof, just teach you kid the word no”.... and I agree that your kid should learn limits, but I also agree that baby proofing can reinforce those limits while keeping your child safe and happy!
    Me: 28   DH: 28
    Dx: PCOS
    TTGP: 9/2015
    Started at RE 5/2016
    BFP: 7/31/16  MC: 8/20/16
    BFP: 12/1/16   DD: 7/30/17
    TTGP #2: 6/2018
    BFP: 4/24/19  MC: 5/19/19
    CP: 6/14/19
    DH's Dx: low morphology 

  • We have a wood burning stove that has a gate around it & a little door to get in.  Other than that, we bolted the dressers and put in outlet covers. The previous owners already childproofed all of the kitchen cabinets. Oh and also closet covers so they couldn’t open them. They would open their closets and throw everything out of them, but that wasn’t until they were toddlers!

  • I just wanna say I am looking around my house from where I sit and it’s a total death trap!  I even have a ladder in the middle of the floor that’s been there for days even though the project that required the ladder is long done, just because the cats are enjoying playing on it!  You ladies have given me good ideas and reassured me by making me realize these are all things I can work on over an extended period of time as baby becomes more mobile.  If only I could train my husband to pick up after himself we might have a chance.
  • Baby gates for us but it is really more to give the pets a safe place to get away too and to keep little hands out of their food and litter. We tried door knob covers and DS broke them off within minutes so that was given up on pretty quick. We didn't do outlet covers because he never showed any interest in them, but I did get cabinet and drawer locks because he loved taking everything out and climbing in. OH and a fridge lock! My kid was so into getting into the fridge (he didn't do anything in there just opened it and giggled but I felt like it quickly go bad). Also I second getting a swinging gate, I tripped over our old one so many freaking times. I anchored everything in his room too, ours I didn't because he was never in there. 

    @pirateduck around the pellet stove in our old place we had one of the gates that you can adjust the size to what you need, not sure if yours is in the corner of the room like ours was but that worked well.
  • @pirateduck could a gate like this work? You can adjust the angles at each connection and you tighten them so they stay in position. You can take sections off to customize length. It has a door and you can attach the end parts to the wall. The attachment parts can slide up and down the pole so you can attach at whichever heights you need.

    We used this to section off a big portion of our living room, the the Xmas tree, and more. We never needed to attach it to the wall. Now we may use it to section off DDs room to the bathroom (at the top of the stairs), since she is potty training.
    Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Adjustable Baby Gate and Play Yard, 4-In-1, Bonus Kit, Includes 4 Pack of Wall Mounts
    TTC#1 July 2015 
    • BFP: 9/16/15 — MC: 11/8/15 Blighted Ovum
    • BFP: 3/10/16 — Baby Girl born 11/20/16
    TTC#2 April 2019 
    • BFP: 9/12/19 — EDD 5/15/20

  • Also @pirateduck if you get hubby trained let me know you ways, I swear most mine is worse than the 5 year old  :D
  • @m6agua ; Thank you for the link, that is awesome and huge and adjustable.  I don't see how I couldn't make something like that work in my house in a variety of ways!  I was looking at baby gates online the other day because of this thread and there were sooooooo many options it was a bit overwhelming.  I think we need them in 2 or 3 different places in our house.  I want one for the door to the baby's room pretty much immediately so we can leave the door open so it's heated, but the pets can't get in there.  I can see my bitch cat taking over the crib and attacking.  I currently have a love hate relationship with the Amazon registry.  I love that you can put ANYTHING on there, but I hate that there are so many options for everything that it's overwhelming, and that the options you are recommended are because people paid to have theirs pushed to the top of the list and aren't necessarily the best match or the best product or the best price.

    Also I can see where it totally depends the kid for everything.  I have babysat a lot of kids in my life.  There was one where you couldn't turn your back for 5 seconds, literally, he would get into anything and everything, even things you wouldn't think of or didn't realize were there.  The parents did things like lock up the shampoo because he would get in the bathroom and empty every bottle.  He was constantly OPENING things.  It didn't matter what, it was all fair game to him!

    @mamaj1220 ; one thing we did at our house, which I think will help, is install a cat door to the laundry room, but you could do it to a closet or bathroom or something too, so that their litter is there and the food is there, but only the cats can get it and the human door can stay shut.  
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