We are getting ready to babyproof our home, and since you are no doubt an expert in that area I'm wondering if you could share with me links or product names for the items you find most reliable? Specifically...
Good plan to child proof way before you need to. Usually people do the opposite! Most of the time I just go to Amazon and look up each item and order based on reviews or get things donated or cheap on Craigslist.
But here are the items I use and like:
1) baby gates - I love our IKEA pressure mounted ones with the extra security of using closet rod mounts screwed into the door frames (got them at Home Depot). We also have this regalo one that fits into the closet rod cups. Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate, White, Fits spaces between 29" and 39" Widehttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B001OC5UMQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_JemUxbMZ0KJ6X
2) cabinet locks
The really simple ones should work if you don't have your child home 24/7 like these: Dreambaby Safety Catches, 12 Count https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003NSAY7U/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_QJmUxbTR88BYV
But my favorite kinds that you can turn on an off are the magnet type. These kinds don't even need to be screwed in. They may not last if a child pulls them for a sustained amount of time, but likely they are strong enough since its unlikely to have an unsupervised child mess with a baby lock got a long time.
Safety Baby Magnetic Cabinet Locks - No Tools Or Screws Needed, 4 Locks + 1 Keyhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PV6H3Z8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_FKmUxbCYN7A3Y
I also like these for things like oven doors or fridges:
BabyKeeps Adjustable Child Safety Locks - Latches to Baby Proof Cabinets, Drawers, Fridge, Oven, Dishwasher, Toilet Seat - No Tools or Drilling - BONUS: Reusable With Extra 3M Adhesive Included - Childproof Your Home in Style - Adorable Box Ideal For Baby Shower Gift - Ivory White - 6 Packhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UE7RLJM/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_JMmUxbJGP7BEH
3) toilet locks
I've tried several, all of them fall off near immediately, so my advice is that children should never be unsupervised in the bathroom since there is risk of water for slipping and drowning.
4) bathrooms - should have knob covers inside and out. I like to disable the lock inside by using a knob cover like this: Safety 1st OutSmartTM Knob Covers https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BTUNK5Q/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_oQmUxbRZGSNKG
Make sure to move hazardous liquids into high up and locked cabinets. Even medic if cabinets can get dangerous so it's best lock those too.
5) kitchens are another area I think should be gated off or have knob covers. It's not safe for children to ever be unattended in kitchens. There are too many hazards. If you want him to hang out in the kitchen with you, I'd lock all the cabinets except for one. In that one you can put things like tupperwares that you should expect to be everywhere all over the kitchen every time he is in there. I'd limit the quantity so that it doesn't become a behavior that frustrates you.
6) electrical cords and outlets:
I have come to like the kinds that is a self closing outlet cover: Self-Closing Electrical Outlet Covers for Baby Proofing | Automatic Sliding Electrical Safety Covers | Made with BPA Free Plastic (4 Pack, White)https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CHM3X4I/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_TUmUxb2F79ZN4
But sometimes they reduce the effectiveness. We have several kinds of outlet covers at school. Some children I think given enough time would be able to pull
Some of them out. The ones they can't are smooth, but then again sometimes we can pull them out either : Dreambaby Outlet Plugs, 24 Count https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001DD68YA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_4VmUxbWNZ2CNQ
As for outlet cords, I try to have all the cords behind furniture to reduce risk of tripping and chewing on cords, or pulling them out. If that doesn't work, I honestly love zip ties for everything! But if you don't mind thousands of holes in your wall you can consider this: Cable Matters (200-Pack) Nail-In Cable Clipshttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Y362HSA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_SXmUxbEG51FZB
7) drop your crib way early. Kids can tip out of cribs easily! And while you're sleeping and they are practicing new found skills is the perfect time for accidents to happen. Same as if you let kids sleep in your bed. One day, a parent may put them in the middle of a king mattress even if they don't usually seem to move much and they can end up on the floor. Ouch! These two things have happened to Mighty Bambinis parents! So my advice is never leave a baby on a mattress while they are sleeping or away and leave.
My general philosophy when it comes to baby proofing:
1) do it before you think you need to. Way before. Babies and kids always surprise us. It is safe until it's not, but it may be too late.
2) you want your space to be a "yes space"
So that you can cut down on the times you say, "be careful," "that's not safe" and "no."
Some children will test us constantly. Some things you may need to remove completely like tables that become climbing structures for testing toddlers. Others you just come up with effective boundaries and enforce them 100% of the time in a unruffled, matter of fact way.
3) make a 100% safe space. This is a RIE idea. Magda Gerber, RIE founder, said there should always be a place somewhere in a house, where all caregivers got locked out of the house the children would be safe, apart from injuring each other (as in group care). To do this many people use gate enclosures like this: North States Superyard 3-in-1 Metal Gate https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000U5FOT2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_04mUxbMAZRR7X
4) choking hazards - crawling babies see literally everything and before you can get to them they put it in their mouth. Regularly scan the environment for small things on the floor like coins, bottle caps, and if you have an older child beads, small toys. You can test if it is a choking hazard using this tool: Safety 1st Small Object Choking Tester https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0062TNEOC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_P6mUxbVBQY4PG
5) keep the floors clean: try to limit shoes in the house, or clean floor often. Babies spend all day on the floor and shoes track in germs.
Having a safe place to play makes life as a parent / nanny / childcare provider sooo so much easier! You can never be 100% attentive all of the time.
Evelyn Nichols, M.Ed.