the danger years

17 11 2009

Confession: I have been completely consumed playing Cafe World on Facebook – mostly trying to come up with the most efficient layout to serve my customers and recently with figuring out how to time the cooking and serving of dishes to maximize profits.  Check it out – the “Buzz Rating” (the thumbs up in the top right hand corner) maxes out at 105.0 when everything is flowing perfectly in your cafe!  I admit it — I am a little bit obsessed with Cafe Revolution.  I mean, in many ways, it’s much like managing my household.  Keep high traffic areas free of clutter, make sure there’s enough money in the bank account for groceries (and upgrades!), keep the hungry mouths fed throughout the day, create an inviting and homey atmosphere for friends & guests – add a bit of personal flare – and there you have it!  A home away from home, so to speak!  (And, if you’re not convinced, start playing the game and you’ll understand!  Hey – we all need an outlet.)

In light of my recent online gaming addiction, some of my domestic duties have fallen by the wayside — just a little bit.  But, I DID do ALL of the laundry this weekend, including the linens.  Made amazing carrot muffins for C1’s pre-school class.  And, did a fair bit of reorganization – I had to re-locate a number of items out of a certain pre-schooler’s reach – childproofing is an ongoing task.  Never assume you are completely safe.  Always be on your guard for the new thing your little explorer will Houdini his way into – especially those curious boys!

So, what I have been meaning to share for awhile are simply a few of my favourite childproofing items – I’ve tested and tried many, many different items with varying degrees of success.  You will ultimately need to do the same as you are figuring out what degree of lock-down you need your home to be in through these early years.  I am not a safety expert.  There are many exhaustive lists and materials for you to read on baby- and toddler-proofing (I am a big fan of the Ann Douglas The Mother of All… books – very comprehensive Canadian information).  These are just a few products that are functioning well in our home right now.

Right now, these door stoppers are by far my favourite.  Patrull, from IKEA retails for 4.99 for a pack of 2.  Kidco (available at Babies R Us) are 7.99/pair.  I have three doors leading into my kitchen and I have two boys with an affinity for doors.  If it weren’t for the stoppers I would have pinched fingers and doors slamming every 2 minutes!

These are the Safety 1st door knob covers, 4.99 for a pack of 4.  Note that these ones have the open finger holes that only a bigger hand can manipulate – and have proven challenging for many of our friends!  Other door knob covers with the grey buttons on the sides were ineffective.  I have to reinforce the seams with duct tape, because C1 can pop the covers open with minimal effort.  They even fit over our front door knob – otherwise, he’d be perpetually wandering around our neighbourhood.

Of course, outlet covers are a must. Safety 1st has a 24-pack for approximately 2.99.  I like these “press n’ pull” ones.

The multi-purpose appliance latch (4.99) by Safety 1st (along with other adhesive cupboard latches) have been most effective at keeping the boys out of the fridge – until now, C1 has figured out how to unlatch and now is learning that he must ask permission to open the fridge.  I have had to replace them every so often, but well worth it.

I don’t have a personal recommendation for a good gate – we haven’t had to use one (in a condo for awhile and now we have a locked door to the basement).  But, if possible, the best type is one that bolts to the banister and/or wall.  I wouldn’t cheap-out on a safety gate.  $70 is the ballpark.

Tub stickers – the Safety 1st package contains 10 and is 7.99 at Babies R Us.  I think you need about 15 to adequately cover the tub.  If you install them according the the instructions, they adhere perfectly.

What hasn’t worked – and again, this is just for us – toilet locks (didn’t suction well enough), adhesive corner protectors (not sticky enough), drawer/cupboard latches (the kind that screw inside the drawer – too finicky).  There are some great-looking safety latches for closet doors and windows, but I haven’t found one that seems to work on ours.

The majority of childproofing in our home has simply involved the removal and storage of contra-ban items, which is why, when you come to our home, it looks like we’ve just moved in – it’s pretty sparse.  With boys on the loose in the house, I’ve found it’s pretty much futile to keep anything beautiful or decorative.  No plants, nothing on the mantle, no lamps, and probably no Christmas tree again this year *sigh*.  Home electronics are up high (although they could be climbed to by a determined child).  I have just removed everything from the under the sink in the bathroom… until now, the bathroom has been locked, but since C1 is toilet trained, he spends a lot of time going in there… and tends to linger… *groan*.  It’s just for a “season” of our lives, right?

Naturally, we do a LOT of teaching, re-directing, reinforcing, re-directing, reminding,  But, it’s a lengthy process and until the age of about 4, it’s difficult to rationalize the concepts of danger and safety with a child.  And, as you have probably already guessed at this stage, it’s much easier to teach your child to do something good than to UN-TEACH him to do something that’s not particularly good or safe.  Let’s face it.  Patience is a virtue.

I’m curious to know what others like, dislike, and have used with some degree of success.  There is tons to discuss on this topic which I haven’t even touched on. It could be a good forum for sharing.

We are not by far out of the danger years… just trying to keep them happy, healthy – and alive!




One response

27 11 2009
Babysafe Childproofing Services

Great job on the write up! Loots of good tips.

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