A new child will transform your home—especially if you’re a first-time parent. Being a new parent means a lot of new responsibilities, which come with a fair share of worrying. Babies are always changing; as soon as they get through one phase, they’re onto the next.
Once your little one starts crawling, all bets are off! That’s the time to think about baby-proofing the house to make it a safer place.
There are plenty of childproofing products you can purchase, but there are also some simple tricks and tips that do the job quite well and could save you time, money, and extra stress.
1. Rubber Bands on Cabinet Doors
Some parents have complained that safety locks can get annoying, and others say the spring release latches break after a short time. Consider using rubber bands instead, as they do the trick and are easily replaceable.
This simple babyproofing hack is recommended by many parenting websites. Instead of choosing from the many types of plastic safety locks, you can stretch tight rubber bands, hair ties, or rubber bracelets over the cabinet handles/knobs to keep curious kids out. For extra tightness, make a double loop or a figure eight using the rubber band.
Bonus tip: Move all products containing anything that could be harmful into one location. Then you won’t have to worry about locking numerous cupboards and cabinets.
2. Tape on Electrical Outlets
Like safety locks for cabinets, another plastic childproofing product that can be bothersome is the electric outlet cover. Though these covers can work well, taking them out of outlets can be quite difficult and even cause broken fingernails.
To make an easy DIY outlet cover, use masking tape, duct tape, or painter’s tape. In fact, some parents even use adhesive bandages. However, Whitney Harris from Red Tricycle suggests avoiding using bandages with cartoon characters since those could attract youngsters.
Many mommy bloggers recommend keeping blue painter’s tape in the diaper bag for quickly baby-proofing outlets when you’re visiting family or staying in a hotel. Painter’s tape is designed to leave little or no sticky residue.
3. Prevent Crib Climbers
Whether it’s in the middle of the night or a temper tantrum at naptime, toddlers who constantly climb out of their cribs can be a problem, especially when you don’t know what mischief they’re getting into.
Here are four ways to keep kids from climbing out of cribs.
- If you have a crib that’s higher on one side, rotate the crib and put the shorter side facing the wall.
- Try placing the crib mattress on the floor so that it’s even lower than its lowest adjustable setting. Just make sure there is no gap between the top of the mattress and the bottom of the crib.
- Use a sleep sack so your child’s feet are tucked in and there’s limited space to get her or his leg over the crib. Pro tip: Put the sleep sack on backwards so your smart kiddos can’t unzip it.
- Move dressers and side tables away from the crib so your child doesn’t have any leverage to climb off.
4. Test Toys with a Toilet Paper Roll
Choking hazards are a big concern for parents with toddlers, especially if there are small toys from older siblings lying around. While there are safety products designed to test if a toy is small enough to be a choking hazard, there’s something in every home that works just as well: the toilet paper roll.
The cardboard tube has comparable size to determine if a toy is too small for children up to age three. “Anything that passes through the tube means it can go into their mouth and they can swallow it,” said Dr. Nkeiruka Orajiaka, a pediatrician in Ohio. She encourages parents to also be aware of toys that come with batteries or have small pieces that can break off.
5. The DIY Door Muff
When a child accidentally gets locked inside a room, you could be spending time taking a doorknob off to get her or him out. However, if a toddler gets locked inside a bathroom or laundry room where she or he could ingest harmful chemicals, it can be scary.
There’s a simple DIY project for making a door muff—a contraption that hooks around both knobs and covers the latch assembly and face plate. Not only will this prevent kids from getting locked in a room, but it also keeps them from loudly slamming doors.
6. Use Pool Noodles and Tennis Balls
Your child will go from crawling, to walking, to running full speed around the house. Many parents have worries about children knocking their heads on corners, or the edges of tables and countertops. An easy DIY hack involves foam pool noodles, tennis balls, and a pair of good scissors.
Cut open one side of a noodle to wrap around edges and use as a door stopper. Tennis balls can be sliced open and placed on the corners of coffee tables, kitchen islands, and dining tables. While this may not be the most aesthetically pleasing solution, it’s important to remember the baby-proofing stage will go by quickly.
7. Buy Products with Child-Resistant Packaging
An innovative child-resistant closure is helping make a variety of household product packaging safer for families. The Child-Guard® closure, also branded as Slider-Guard® closure, is designed to help keep kids out of the package.
You’ll find it being used by responsible brands offering products like laundry packets, over-the-counter medications, and more. While shopping for your tried-and-true products, keep an eye out for other comparable products that utilize child-resistant technology to see it for yourself and help keep your family safe.
Connect with us on Facebook to let us know which product you would like to see packaged with a Child-Guard® closure? Check out the video below to see how Child-Guard® sliders works.
This article was originally published on 9/12/2016 but updated and republished on 10/10/2022