child proofing with dog collar on cabinets

Do You Really Need To Child Proof?

The little ones are on the move and suddenly your house is filled with dangers. Sharp corners, furniture that can topple, doors to basements, steps to climb. What are the best ways of child proof all these things? How do you child proof on a budget? Do you need actual child proofing products?

We all want our kids to be safe. It’s possibly the number one concern of most parents. Of course it is. Go and type “keeping kids safe” into Google. You’ll get a mind-boggling number of results. Mine was 283,000,000. That’s 283 BILLION. An average of 2,400 searches for “keeping kids safe” are run on Google every month.

You can’t control the big wide world, but you can control your home. So, how do you start?

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What Can You Rearrange

When there are only adults in the house you can put your stuff wherever you want. You could focus on fun designs and cool accessories. Not now. You have a toddler. The keywords now are function and safety.

One of the best ways to child proof on a budget is to rearrange. What can you rearrange so your family’s needs are met and the toddler (aka grabby little monkey) is safe. Our family spends most of our time in the living room and playroom. We have a gorgeous bookcase that my dad built. I love it. But where it was in our living room the floor is a bit uneven. My lovely bookcase wobbles.

I need a bookcase in the living room. So we swapped this one with a much plainer (my husband says ugly) bookcase that had been in the playroom. The “ugly” one sits flat in the living room. No wobble. Much safer. I can still have plants and photos on the top. My pile of library books are safe on the top shelf. The other two shelves hold Little Girl’s toys. Less pretty. Still functional. That’s a win in my book.

The beautiful bookcase is in the playroom where it’s wedged into a corner. It doesn’t wobble there. It’s fairly tall so it holds nice things on the top shelves and toys on the bottom. Perfect.

You most likely have furniture you can rearrange too. Your house might not be as perfectly matched as it once was, but you can live with it. Remember, these years don’t last forever. Some day (it may feel very far in the future, but I promise its coming) it’ll just be adults in the house again.

The Safe Room

Hopefully you have at least one room in your home that is off limits to the kids. That room is the safe room. No need for child proofing here. Any and everything that you want to protect from little hands can find a spot in this room. What better way to child proof on a budget then to just lock things out of the way.

Our safe room is my work room. My desk is in there and so is all my sewing stuff. Plus an old glass fronted bookcase that was in my husband’s grandfather’s office. If a second kid joins our family, this will also be the guest room.

No, this room is not the size of an airplane hangar. It does have a nice big closet though. Having this room wear so many hats is just what is necessary right now. And when there is something that needs to be kept far from Little Girl I have a place to dump it. So, its worth it.

The Kitchen

Oh the kitchen. Home to so many cabinets to open and explore. And do you know what is best for you and your little one? To let them explore. So what if you have to pick up plastic ware that’s scattered all over the place. The toddler was busy and engaged while you cooked dinner. That’s a win!

Open your bottom cabinets and see what’s in there. Pots and pans? Perfect. Leave them. Something breakable or fragile? It goes in storage, the safe room or swap it with something in a high cabinet that can handle some abuse.

We have two sets of three drawers in our kitchen. One big bottom one holds all the plastic ware. The one above that is dishtowels and oven mitts. Little Girl can reach both and strew them all around. Doesn’t bother me a bit.

Alright. That’s a lie. It gets on my nerves sometimes. I do get tired of picking up plastic ware.

The bottom of the second set of drawers has a few tablecloths, cloth bags, paper plates and random fun napkins. I decided to leave it as is. I just tell people that the paper plates we use are in a top cabinet. The ones down in that shelf spend half their life on the kitchen floor.

The only bottom kitchen cabinet with child proofing is the one under the sink. Gotta have cleaning supplies handy. Because it has two handles, I simply put a small dog collar through the handles. Easy and cheap.

If your cabinets don’t have two handles there are good child proofing locks that don’t require making holes in your cabinets. Check out these options.

Stuff the Kids Can Play With

Keep an open mind about what is toddler friendly when rearranging the kitchen. Pots, pans, cans of food, towels, plastic ware, plastic or metal mixing bowls, plastic measuring cups, etc. It’s quite a lot. All it takes is a quick rinse to be ready to use these things for actual cooking. Your toddler will be happy and you will be thrilled to not be endlessly fiddling with cabinet locks.

You may have to go on a daily hunt for the colander. Little Girl loves wearing it as a hat.

Actual Child Proofing Products

When we started we tired to avoid child proofing products. Anywhere that we could use a thick rubber band to keep two cabinet doors shut, we did. We left the bottom shelves and cabinets of our end tables empty. We put end table type items up on closet shelves or in boxes in the garage.

Check out Part Two of Effective Ways to Child Proof on a Budget to learn what child proofing products are worth buying.

Watch your kid, see what they are interested in and go from there. And if you have any child proofing hacks to share – please do! That’s what the comment section is for!


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