Wednesday, January 12, 2011

baby-proofing failures

Disclaimer: We keep a very close eye on Malakai and any children that enter our home. For one, because we know that babyproofing doesn't replace parenting. Also, we really believe in teaching boundaries rather than blocking everything off from contact at all times. That being said, in our opinion  some amount of baby-proofing is necessary to keep curious little ones safe from harm.

When we moved Malakai was 8 months old. Thankfully, still young enough to be preoccupied in his room or his jumper while the rest of the house was full of dangers. Boxes towered everywhere, cables + outlets weren't protected, cleaning products were scattered throughout. It was the usual mess from a fresh move.

Nine months later and we are quite settled in. Malakai is now just over 17 months old and figuring out everything, I mean everything!

The first baby proofing that we did (other than simply put things away) was put a closure on the cupboard under the kitchen sink where we keep most of our cleaning supplies. This has worked well until last week. Malakai straight up bent the plastic until it came open. How does this happen? We had a much sturdier one growing up that withstood daily use and 2 toddlers!

Another similar issue was our entertainment center doors. Not only did we not want him pushing the buttons on the receiver and the DVD player but there are also cables and other dangers in there. The first purchase we made was this little set. I was convinced it would work because the picture on the front looked just like our cabinet doors. Technical, right? Well, it was way too big, it wouldn't even go on the doors.

We exchanged it for a similar item that in a way, was too small. In order for it to fit on the handles it had to cinch up so tightly that we couldn't get it off. I literally had to unscrew the handles on the cabinet to get it off. So, you know what works?

A hair scrunchie from the dollar section! This has no metal parts and won't break and become a choking hazard like a rubber band.

The next thing we attempted was back in the kitchen. We purchased these small pieces to keep Malakai out of the cupboards and drawers. The first few installed just fine on the cupboards. The drawers were a different story. Ben removed the drawer to add the pieces in, but once the plastic was attached to the framing the drawer wouldn't fit back in to place. Currently, none of the drawers in the kitchen are latched. Malakai often pulls out towels + baggies. Mostly he stick to the tupperware lid drawer, which we let him play in.

In Malakai's room there are a few exposed electrical plugs. He recently started pulling the cords out of the wall and so we had to find a solution. For one we installed a box and all was well. The other was more complicated because of the bigger transformer that plugs in for the monitor (yes we still use one, it's what works for us). The same box wouldn't fit over this plug so Ben went back to the hardware store and purchased the bigger one. Still wouldn't fit. So I got on Amazon and found one made for this specific purpose. Everything would have been perfect except that our outlets are so low to the ground that our baseboard moulding is in the way.

When Malakai grew tall enough to reach the oven door and prove his strength by pulling it open (while off, thank the Lord!) we added straps to keep it closed. There had already been one on the drawer underneath where the cookies sheets go. The sticky parts came off a few times, but they've been holding their own for a couple months.

Last night, they failed. This time nothing bent or broke. In fact, it worked exactly as it was supposed to. You clip the belt into the other side like a buckle. You push the button to release and pull the belt back out. Simple. Much too simple. Our 1 1/2 year old figured this out. The buckle happened to be open on the drawer, so he sat down and clicked it into place. Then, he pushed the button and opened it back up.

Genius baby.

I haven't heard these types of woes from many other parents, but I think after this many failures that it's safe to say the problem isn't with us, our home, or our son being particularly mischievous. It seems as though these so-called safety products are being manufactured so cheaply and not tested in enough scenarios to really be useful for everyday use.

Another problem I've had is that the Safety First brand, in which lies most of my complaints, is almost the only brand that we can find in any store in our area as well as on Amazon. If you have had better success with a different product, please let us know!

We have had success with simple brackets to mount tall bookshelves to the wall. This was something I anticipated was going to be difficult, but Ben finished in less than 5 minutes. As I mentioned we also successfully covered the standard plugs with this. We also covered a plug for a lamp in our guest room with the bigger version as it has space for the cord to wrap up inside. So, some of it works, but most of it hasn't.

Woe is me.


  1. I don't know what these box things are that you're talking about. Do you have a picture?

  2. Oh man- is this what I have to look forward to? Our little guy just started pulling up on everything and is constantly on the move... let us know if you find any better products!


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