Better Child Proofing

When my children were little the market for child-proofing gadgets was just beginning. The best thing any parent could do was to put dangerous items out of the reach of a child and lock doors.

Curiosity Never Ends!

Then came the advent of lots of plastic gadgets to protect children from household dangers. Some work some of the time, but not all work for all children and some children open these gadgets easier than their parents do.

When I moved into my current home there weren’t too many things that needed to be closed off from the little ones. When your cleaning supplies are mainly vinegar and baking soda there isn’t a lot to lock away.

The only cabinet in the kitchen that posed any danger to a child was under the sink. This is where I store paint cans, dishwashing powder and in the back a bottle of boric acid for pest control. Not  having a store nearby I quickly added a hair tie one afternoon.

I simply hooked it on one knob and twisted it several times then attached it to the second knob like this.

Little guy pulled on the knob a few times then gave up. His parents purchased plastic child proofing gadgets for their kitchen cabinets that he quickly learned to open but going on three  hasn’t figured out how to pull the simple hair band off.  Again, I want to stress that while this worked for my little guy it might not for your toddler.

The most dangerous item in a home is the electrical outlet.

When my boys were little I moved furniture in front of every outlet they could reach.  This kept the boys from pulling out a lamp plug, for instance, and trying to plug it back in or sticking something else into the outlet.

When I moved into this house several of the outlets were damaged and needed to be replaced. Since I needed to invest in new outlets I decided to upgrade the outlet to a child proof type and eliminate the need for outlet covers or moving furniture to hide outlets in use.

There are two basic types of outlets on the market, my opinion is one is far superior to the other.

This model would work well for a very young child but by toddler stage would be easy for the child to figure out how to slide the cover and access the outlet.

A far superior outlet, in my opinion, is the one I used in my home.  This outlet is easy for adults to use but not for children because it requires the same amount of pressure to be applied to both sides of the plug at the same time.

These were comparable in price to an ordinary outlet. They can be purchased for roughly $2.00 each which are an affordable way to have peace of mind.

With the children’s bedrooms upstairs I wanted to have night lights in the rooms for them. Again I didn’t want to have a plug-in light that a little one could pull out and in doing so accidentally touch the prongs while still partly plugged in.

My solution was to use an outlet cover with an LED light incorporated into it.  These SnapPower Guidelights retail for $15 a piece but do offer bulk purchases at discount.

The covers are a snap to install, simply unscrew your old cover and screw the snap power cover on instead.  The lights will cost approximately ten cents per year to operate and are only lit when the room is dark.

We added a simple chain lock on the basement door and keep the bathroom door closed. My bathroom door is difficult to open for him but if yours isn’t doorknob covers are easy to find.

If I had locks on the interior doors I would have either replaced the knobs or made a cover that would prevent a child from locking themselves in a room, or locking others out.

This fabric cover would be ideal in most situations.

iteachstem is the website this originated.

A temporary fix is a pool noodle. My only concern would be that it might be knocked off accidentally.

I took a few other precautions. Just a couple of examples would be keeping tools locked away, scissors and knives are out of reach, knives are hidden behind the silverware tray in the drawer which keeps them from being visible and at the same time too far back in the drawer to reach.

There you have my tips for child proofing a home. Start with what you bring into your house. Switch to natural cleaning products to reduce toxic exposure; replace outlets, provide well lighted rooms at night especially where stairs are; and then address locking mechanisms.

If you are comfortable with a bit of DIY you can safely protect children without too many plastic gadgets that will only end up in the waste when your children are older.

Do you have suggestions for Child-Proofing a home?

 

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18 comments

  1. all good ideas. It is some time since mine was little, but I want to say, I used simple fixes like yours (not sure any more), pool noodles/hair elastics, etc.. I know I didn’t buy the gadgets, as I had seen way too many youngsters figure them out, and end in danger. I had figured it was false security. I also kept anything “toxic”, any cleaners etc, up and away. Although, I didn’t use a lot of those. Mostly vinegar and baking soda. It’s odd, but I cant quite recall, but I know id didn’t buy much in way of gadgets.

    You know it is odd. Some kids play with outlets, some do not.

    I love your outlet plug in, which has a night light at the bottom. What does the light run off of ? Battery?

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    • The only gadget available when my boys were little were the plastic covers that went into the outlets. I bought a few but they weren’t all that tight and came out with little effort. Hence why I moved all my furniture to hide outlets.

      The snap lights are not battery operated. They have a piece that touches the wiring of the outlet to power the night light. It’s a ingenious design as no special tools are needed and if you are afraid of messing with electric (as I am) there’s no need to worry. For more information click the link I included which will show you how it works.

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  2. Some great ideas here, Lois. Don’t think I ever made use of any when my kids were little. I don’t think I took my eyes off them for 18 years. 🙂 I knew about kids getting into things. My brother got into paint thinner at the age of 4 that was in the storage shed. So I get how kids are. Mine were pretty good about not getting into stuff that was off limits. Since I have no little ones, I don’t think about it much but you are smart to use simple inexpensive ways to block them. My sister used to climb on her dresser and hit her head a couple of times dancing off of it. It kind of explains how she is now. 🙂 Not too bright sometimes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marlene, you crack me up, with your comments on your sister! I was like you, I watched my boys every minute I could, but there are demands such as needing the bathroom or switching a load of laundry when my eyes would be off them for minutes. And with headstrong kids that’s all it takes.

      Btw, my oldest tried to climb on his dresser once by pulling out the drawers to use as steps and pulled the darn thing onto him. Luckily it was light weight. My youngest grandson is the dresser climber now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Grin…I remember when a dresser/tallboy, and bed for our son, and I said to my friend something like “well now I will have to put something on the floor in case he climbs up” (or some such). She could not understand WHY he would. I said…”just because it is there/a challenge”..Sure enough, he did…(and he was not even much of a climber..but…)

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        • Children are funny, they never see a challenge they don’t want to tackle. Of course they don’t think through the risks either and maybe that’s good in a strange way. I know plenty of adults who are afraid of failure whereas children never fear failing.

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  3. Wow, I never did any of this for 3 children or 4 grandchildren. I guess we just teach them how to use stuff and they respect what is out-of-bounds, even the ADHD kid! Common sense stuff. Still, better safe than sorry and it makes you feel happier and more relaxed, obviously. Your lack of mobility is also an important factor, naturally.

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    • You were very lucky! My boys knew their limits but by two decided to try and push their boundaries. My youngest figured out how to open the back door at two while I was in the next room and took off. I found him at the basketball court at the end of our building. His response was that he was big and didn’t need me to watch him play but that he didn’t go anywhere he wasn’t allowed (if he asked).

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  4. Great ideas. The plastic gadgets did not work for my son, who thought they were fun puzzles. My friends thought I just didn’t understand how to childproof until he went through their homes opening all of their cabinets and drawers.
    Finally we resorted to taking the knives to bed with us.

    He did try to rewire an outlet to be a light switch once but he was older (maybe 8) and luckily knew to flip the breaker first.

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    • Yes! I can totally relate. My oldest wasn’t even a year old when he climbed out of his crib and quietly got down the toaster and a screwdriver and took that toaster apart. Luckily, I never kept small appliances plugged in when not in use.

      Sounds like you may have a scientist-in-training on your hands.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Simple White Rabbit and Lois
        It is fun to read your incidents of the children believing / knowing the “safety latches etc” were “just puzzles”. Grin.
        I think it is inherent in the human being/baby/child to try and figure things out, and being very proud/happy of their accomplishments.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, exactly. And, it is mostly a good thing. I think kids/little kids are much more capable, and much more able to comprehend danger than most realise.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I think it’s a good thing too. I’d rather my kids (and grandchildren) wanted to learn skills than sit in front of the TV all day.

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