When I announced I was pregnant I was inundated with everyone’s helpful and not so helpful advice. The seasoned parents shared there stories, tips, and what I thought to be anecdotal advice. No one ever expressed how much time I would spend not only worrying about my daughter’s safety, but implementing it as well. The worrying started when I was pregnant and has been a continuous part of motherhood. I was about to experience the mischievously inquisitive mind of a toddler on the loose.
For the longest time it seemed as though my daughter was not going to start crawling. She was very content to sit and sometimes roll around on her blanket on the floor. Myself and my husband had gotten comfortable with her inability to go anywhere. We had prepared ourselves early for baby proofing by purchasing item we would need . Some part of us was still holding on to the last bit of our home that we had left, before being regulated with locks and gates that would become our new normal. It took a matter of a few days for her to go from rocking on her knees to zooming around the house on all fours. For my daughter this meant doing it at high speed to because she does not seem to know how to do anything gradually. A short two months later she was walking and by the time she was one she could run.
Babyproofing: What did not work.
Soon enough our daughter started crawling. We knew we had to protect her from sharp edges on furniture and even corners. I spent quite a bit of time spent researching all different types of products. We came across a sticky protective edging that can cover the long edges of furniture. This product did not work for us. Even though it was strong enough to rip the finish of my entertainment center, it proved no match for my 8-month-old and her need to not only take things apart, but chew on them as well. She, yet, found it very useful to chew on. We ended up lining the base of the entertainment center with pillows to prevent her from hurting herself.
The next item that did not work were the cheap translucent outlet covers. They were too easy for my daughter to pull out of the wall and try to put back it the wall. They were more dangerous than safe in our case. Instead, we used some higher quality covers that we got in a baby proofing kit. They only require a little plastic key or significant amount of effort to be removed. The last item that did not work for us was the little foam pieces shaped like a “C” that are meant to be placed on the inner part of your door frame to prevent the door from smashing your littles fingers. These did not work for two reasons: 1.) you must take them on and off when you want to shut the door 2.) taking them off tends to lead to forgetting to put them back on which means they turned into toys for my daughter. She still has one of these foam pieces in her toy bin that she plays with, so at least one of us got something out of it.
Babyproofing: The things that worked.
As soon as our not so graceful daughter started crawling around, we knew we had to protect her from the corners of the wall. The pillow trick mentioned above might have worked but I would not have had enough pillows. So, upon some more research I found some great pre-cut wall corner protectors. These have been great because they are thick to cushion a blow if she falls into them, and are strong enough to defeat my little mischievous girl who likes to disassemble and chew on things.
My absolute favorite product I found was the outlet cover with attached power strip. From the minute my daughter could start grabbing for them, she was OBSESSED with cords. With that obsession came unplugging said cords and trying to plug them in. We tried to hide the chords and the outlets they plugged into but we were not always able to. There was a particular outlet in her room where this was an issue. We found ourselves locking her out of her room except to sleep because she would always try to play with these cords. This outlet cover was our saving grace. It plugs in like a flat panel and comes with adhesive to adhere it to wall. It also has varying sized extension cord lengths. With the extension cord it was long enough that I was able to hide the cords behind a dresser. My daughter is no longer able to continue her potentially shocking behavior.
Everyone knows your life is supposed to change when you have a child. I did not want the appearance of the home I had before having a child to be completely altered though. When choosing some of these products I selected them not only for there safety, but how they looked esthetically. There are so many options out there now to choose safety items that are not as loud and go with your home.
The next thing I took into consideration was ease of use and practicality. I did not want to struggle to bypass these safety features more than my daughter. When it came to practicality, I had to decide if some of the safety products were to over the top. I decided that I would have to teach my daughter safe ways to engage with some things. For example, we chose not to lock the toilet. We started trying elimination communication at 9 1/2 mos. so early on she was used to the potty. Additionally, I did not want to be fumbling with a lock on the toilet in the middle of the night. We use the rule that the bathroom door stays shut unless we are there to supervise.
It has been an adjustment and a learning curve to have all these products in my home. It has been 100% worth it though to keep my daughter safe. I have even found myself getting used to them just as quick as it took my daughter to become mobile and now they are our new normal.