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.
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.
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?