Baby-Proofing: Keeping the Baby Out of Everything

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I’m writing this post from the loft. My husband and I are switching workspaces. He wants to work more on music and claims that he needs a door. Can’t wait to see the reign of terror that Rigel brings forth on this place without any doors to keep him at bay.  In that spirit and with that threat looming I have been increasing my baby-proofing efforts around here. Y’all need to pray for me because I’ve basically been in a baby-proofing arms race for the last 5 months and I am starting to resemble the 1980s Soviet Union, which is to say I’m running out of money and losing.

So I’m going to share with you all what has worked and what has failed miserably. Hopefully, this post will encourage you to lock everything up and not to wait until your baby is using the oven door handle as a pull-up bar. (That’s actually happened around here.)

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Rigel trying to do a pull-up with the oven door handle. (Photo taken from Instagram story video)

Corners

When Rigel was first starting to scoot around, before he started fully crawling, we realized that some of the corners of our furniture (which we would later replace) were potential hazards. Short of wrapping cut up pool noodles around the furniture I needed a solution. So I went on the hunt for something and came across these Clear Corner Guards. I figured at least they wouldn’t be too much of an eye-sore. We still have a couple on the bottom corners of the fireplace mantle and they’ve done a good job of keeping Rigel safe when he’s taken tumbles. And they’ve proved to be pretty durable because Rigel has yet to rip them off the corners despite many attempts.

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Clear Corner Guard covering the corner of the bottom of our fire place mantle.

Additionally, as some of you may have noticed we updated our furniture to pieces that do not have sharp corners. My husband actually surprised me with this furniture for my birthday. Bold move I know! Thankfully, he knew me just well enough to know that he should only consider mid-century modern furniture. I’d say he did a pretty good job.

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Belham Living Carter Coffee Table has helped to minimize worry about Rigel cruising around the furniture.

Outlets

Not sure if babies can sense electricity or if they actually require recharging but for whatever reason they are fascinated by electrical outlets. Of course, they can’t really stick their fingers in one and get electrocuted but they could conceivably stick something else in there and end up in a world of hurt, so you gotta cover them up somehow. Most first-time parents start their outlet baby-proofing efforts the same way, with socket covers. We started with the Safety 1st Plug Protectors which just cover the socket. While these covers are effective at keeping little curious babies from inserting teethers, toys, or the cat’s tail; they can be pretty annoying to remove. Once removed Rigel has a tendency to find the cover and shove it in his mouth. So I often have to hide the cover after I remove it to use the socket and then forget where the heck I put it.

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Plug Protectors covering the sockets in the loft.

The protectors were sufficient for awhile and then Rigel figured out how to unplug things and suddenly we needed something that could protect plugs that were easily accessible, like my laptop and monitor in the loft. So I found this Outlet Cover Box that seemed like it would do the trick. While it can hold many brick style chargers, not all of them will fit. For example, the original charger that comes with my Lenovo Yoga laptop does not fit in the box. I had to order an after-market charger with a slimmer profile to use with the box but it does the trick. Rigel has not been able to unplug anything under my desk and has subsequently lost interest with the cords.

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Outlet Cover Box protecting my Macbook Pro charging cable and HP external monitor cable.

Now not all outlets can simply be covered because well they’re not just your typical power outlet. We have outlets behind our television set in the living room that connect the cables for our surround sound system. There really isn’t anything on the market to cover them up and since they’re at the edge of the television, they’re within reach of Rigel’s little hands. Initially I tried blocking it with a chair but that was awkward and Rigel managed to get himself tangled up in it. Then it occurred to me, move the subwoofer next to the tv stand and that should block it. It had mostly been working and then Rigel decided to try to scale it. He’s become quite the climber since he turned 10 months old. However, he hasn’t made any further attempts to climb on the subwoofer so I think this set-up will do for now.

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The subwoofer blocking access to the sound panel. (And yes, Rigel unplugged the subwoofer — we haven’t used it in weeks)
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Rigel on the subwoofer trying to reach the sound panel. (Photo taken from video)

Cabinets/Drawers

At first we didn’t know how to deal with the cabinet doors and thought we had plenty of time to figure out since Rigel couldn’t reach the knobs. But he’s a very resourceful fellow and when I tell you that he crawled right over to the cabinets and opened the door right up like he was trying to avoid hostile fire, I kid you not — he was up in the cabinets no problem. So I had to come up with a solution quickly and realized that I could use hair ties. I wrapped the hair ties around the knobs which prevented entry for a little while but was certainly not a permanent solution.

I knew I didn’t want to interfere with the look of the kitchen but wasn’t sure if something discreet would be enough to keep my mini-Hulk son out of the cabinets. I finally settled on getting Magnetic Cabinet Locks. They sit inside of the cabinet (or drawer) and you have to use a magnet placed on the outside of the door over the lock to unlock it. I installed them at night after Rigel went to sleep to make sure they would have plenty of time to set and then hoped for the best. Initially I will say it was a little annoying remembering to grab the magnet to unlock the cabinets and drawers but after a while it does become second nature and you don’t even think about it. Rigel has yet to defeat these locks and he’s tried.

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Magnetic locking mechanism inside the oil and spice drawer.

Around the same time, Rigel became obsessed with the oven drawer. Now this big hunk of metal, which we didn’t even keep anything in was truly a baby hazard and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do to stop the intrusions into it. Obviously, the magnetic locks wouldn’t work, so I had to find something else. I ended up getting these Child Safety Strap Locks. They can be used to keep babies out of pretty much anything — the oven, the refrigerator, the toilet, drawers. They’re not discreet but sometimes you gotta just lock up the stuff and accept that things probably aren’t going to be pretty around the house until the kid leaves for college.

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Placed strap locks on either side of the oven drawer. Note the grubby hand prints from Rigel pawing at it.

But the drawers that nearly led to a nervous breakdown were most certainly the drawers on that pretty new furniture my husband got me. Sure, Rigel wouldn’t be able to impale himself on a corner anymore but his favorite pasttime became removing the entire contents of the drawers! Putting everything back in those drawers 15 times a day was going to lead to my demise. I did not want to do it but remember what I said earlier, sometimes you just have to let go of your style expectations and lock everything up for your sanity. So I found these Brown Child Safety Strap Locks that would blend in just enough with the furniture to not drive me completely insane. These locks have to be the best baby-proofing investment I have made and have saved my mind and my time.

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Rigel in front of his favorite drawer that’s now locked up with the brown strap lock.

Stairs/Entryways

We haven’t placed too much emphasis on setting up baby gates to keep Rigel out of things since our first floor is an open layout. We pretty much just let him roam like a pasture raised steer. However, we did need to protect him from the stairs. First, we installed a Regalo Baby Gate upstairs. This gate is a pressure installation, it has the option of drilling into the wall if you want to make it extra secure but we didn’t get around to it and even though Rigel has hung off of it plenty, he hasn’t managed to make it move at all.

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Regalo Baby Gate located at the top of stairs, leading to the loft.

At the bottom of the stairs we went with something a little fancier since the stairs are pretty much the first thing you see when you walk into the house. We had to use a Banister Mounting Kit to install the Summer Infant Decorative Wood Baby Gate but it was completely worth it because the downstairs looks pretty nice still while preventing Rigel from trying to climb up the stairs.

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Summer Infant gate at the bottom of the stairs.

Other Tips & Failures

I also got Rigel this soft rubber play mat once he started showing interest in trying to pull himself up to things. I placed it where his activity table sits and it’s a soft spot if he ever takes a tumble. Granted he roams everywhere and has now taken tumbles everywhere. I’d venture to say that he’s made of rubber because he takes a tumble and picks himself right back up and keeps it moving. I feel play mats once they start pulling themselves up are mostly to make Moms feel better because rarely will your child fall in the “safe spot.”

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The playmat is reversible so I’ve flipped it over to this less cutesy side.

Like I said in the beginning I’m running out of money for all this baby-proofing so while sure I could get some more fancy baby-proofing gadgets like another outlet box cover, I’m not going to because I also need to buy formula and diapers. That means when I’m downstairs working on my laptop on the kitchen island and need to charge it, I string my charging cable across to the outlet near the kettle so that Rigel can’t unplug it. Sure it means I can’t walk out the kitchen on that side but it’s a small price to pay to actually have juice for my laptop.

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Powering my laptop any way I can.

There’s also this set of double doors in the study/gym/maybe studio(?) and they don’t have a locking mechanism for whatever reason. It’s not enough of an issue to order something just yet but Rigel does try to go in there now and then. My solution was another trusty hair tie in a figure eight. So far it works but if it ever stops deterring him from entry I did find these Baby-Proofing Latches that may do the trick.

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A Hair Tie is all that is standing in Rigel’s way.

But I don’t want you all to think that I have this totally figured out. I do not. The bookcases upstairs have been causing me all kinds of distress. Rigel pulls out the records and the books and dumps them all on the floor incessantly. I was desperate so I went looking for advice because you can’t exactly find a solution by just searching ‘baby-proof bookcase’ on Amazon. I came across this post on A Mom’s Take – it was entitled 10 Genius Tricks of Babyproofing Against a Toddler and it said that you could use curtain rods to deter little ones from pulling books off of shelves.

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Photo Courtesy of AMomsTake.Com

Well you better believe I ordered a giant pack of miniature curtain rods off Amazon and got to work. You remember how I told you earlier that Rigel used the oven door handle to do a pull-up? Yeah, well his first attempted pull up was on these curtain rods and he  yanked them right off the bookcase. So that was a fail and I still have a bunch of miniature curtain rods in my house with not a darn thing they can do. Instead I figured out that putting everything in a bin (box) is actually the only way to keep him from pulling it off the shelf.

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Testing out my theory with a diaper box.

Before spending any more money I’ve been testing out my bin-in-the-bookcase theory by using an empty diaper box. And can I tell y’all that not a single record has ended up on the floor and it has been glorious! I’ve been trying to get proper bins but it’s been one issue after another thanks to Covid-19. The perfect ones are carried by Ikea but since there is no Ikea in Charleston and shipping is delayed (Ikea’s shipping was already pretty awful) I would have to wait two months for them. Amazon didn’t have anything that worked and the bins I got from Target tapered at the bottom. I have some crates coming so I will update everyone once I get those but I’m really hopeful.

So that’s the state of affairs right now. I know there may still be more that we’ll have to baby-proof at some point, like the door knobs once he’s tall enough to reach them. For now, I’m spending a lot less time putting things back where they belong and that’s enough to feel like a mini-vacation every day.

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Rigel wondering why everything is locked up.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve had to take any extraordinary measures to keep your baby out of something and what your favorite baby-proofing device has been.

To all my fellow baby-proofing parents Godspeed!

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Author: Grace G.

New Mom and Retired Lawyer trying to share the ride.

2 thoughts

    1. You’re welcome! What surprised me most is how just when I think I’ve got it figured out, he learns how to do something new and I gotta baby-proof that!

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