Babyproofing Basics: How to Keep Little Ones Safe at Home Without Spending a Fortune
Once babies are on the move, it is time to make sure you have babyproofed the house thoroughly. Little ones tend to be busy and fast, and they will notice every little thing that is within their reach. It doesn't have to be terribly expensive to babyproof though, as there are some great low-cost options that will keep your baby safe and be easy on your pocketbook.
Block access to spots dangerous to your little one
There are plenty of baby-proofing products on the market, but the costs can add up quickly and it can be difficult to know which items are worth the investment. A little creativity can go a long way, and Red Tricycle shares some great suggestions. For example, outlets are definitely a hazard for little ones, but buying enough outlet covers can get expensive. Try using plain bandaids or duct tape to cover them instead, but be sure to use non-cartoon versions so as not to attract your little one's attention.
It is important to keep babies and toddlers out of low cabinets and ensure they can't open doors on their own, so you may want to try covering knobs with socks and then wrapping elastic or a hair band around it to hold it in place. Adults can still get the doors open, but little ones will be held at bay. For some pairs of cabinet pulls, wrapping a rubber band or hair tie across the two will do the trick to keep little hands away.
Pool noodles or foam pipe insulation can be a big help in low-cost baby-proofing as well, notes The Stir. They can be cut down to serve as bed rails, door stoppers, crib rail covers, and can help with just about any sharp corner or dicey situation that could lead to smashed fingers or a bonk to the head. When pool noodles don't work, like on sharp table corners, try turning to a tennis ball instead.
Having pets in the home adds an additional layer to your baby-proofing
When you have both a mobile baby and pets in your home, your baby-proofing efforts will face some added challenges. It is important to keep pet toys and food out of the reach of little ones, but then that can shake things up for your pets.
For many families, keeping your little ones out of the pet food and water dishes is a major challenge. There are some economical suggestions at Baby Center, like putting cat dishes in an unused bathtub or up on something high enough that it's out of reach for the child.
Others try putting dishes behind a gate that is positioned so the pets can get over it or under it, but the child is kept out, or finding a different spot in the house for the dishes. This can be a bit more challenging with a dog that can't jump up, but a bit of creativity can go a long way. Some of those same ideas can be used to keep mobile kids away from cat litter boxes as well.
Supervise animals and kids together and consider their viewpoint
Things can get complicated when it comes to baby toys and pet toys being in the same house. Dogster points out that the best plan of attack is supervision and trying to keep the two types of toys in different parts of your home, but that's not always easy. There are some toys that are safe for both pets and kids, and it may be worth investing in a few toys of this nature.
Families may be well-served to consider baby-proofing and pet-proofing at the same time, ensuring that all of the little ones in your house stay safe. Get down on their level and look in all directions, as this will allow you to see what will catch their attention that you might overlook.
Babyproofing doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg if you incorporate a bit of creativity and planning. Use household items to keep dangerous spots covered or inaccessible and think outside the box for materials that will accomplish your safety goals without making as big a dent in your pocketbook as some of the products marketed specifically for babyproofing.
Paul Denikin is passionate about sharing his experiences working on DIY projects to benefit people with special needs children. He is the owner of Dad Knows DIY, which shows off helpful DIY projects.