I always try to balance the necessity to keep my child safe with the reality that I can’t protect my child from absolutely everything and everyone all of the time. Besides, protection is not always inexpensive. Anyone who has strolled the baby aisles of any baby store know this. Keeping your child safe does not have to break your bank though.
Put your unique knowledge of your child to good use. My children have all been climbers but tend to stay away from cabinets. We do remove all chemicals from their reach but only latch one of our kitchen cabinets because that has never been one of their particular interests. Additionally, if they are in the kitchen, we generally are as well.
Remove unnecessary items. Sure, you can invest money to protect your great aunt’s old teacup set…or you can just remove them for a few months or years. Let’s be honest, there is a reason the saying, “We can’t have anything nice” is a cliche. You can also remove things like the stove knobs, if that is a particular concern in your home. Set one atop the stove to use when you need to turn on a burner.
Relocate other things. Out of reach is so much easier than latches and ties and locks. Tie longer window cords up high, remove or shorten unnecessary electric cords. No need for a fancy gadget if you can simply remove the risk. TV wall mounts are great when you have toddlers.
Utilize more natural cleaners. When possible utilize non-toxic cleaners, including baking soda, vinegar, and lemon (among others). While you still must be mindful of whether you child can get to these items, vinegar is less concerning than Clorox, to me at least.
Limit freedom when appropriate. The crib is one example. Transition your child to a less restrictive bed only once the crib becomes a safety concern (e.g. baby is climbing out). Utilize baby gates strategically.
Take advantage of what is already provided. Many bookshelves come with wall tethers--use them! Ikea provides, for free, furniture latches to safely secure Ikea furniture to the wall. Stop by any of their stores. Or buy these lifesavers inexpensive at your hardware store.
Consider delaying the dangers that you can. If your child can’t open doors yet, you may be able to literally shut out some potentially dangerous areas, like the bathroom. Keep an eye on their development though, and come up with a new strategy as soon as they begin building skills that combat your current solutions.
Stroll the other aisles of the store. Consider hairbands to secure toilet paper. Hairbands or thick rubber bands can work with Command wall hooks to secure the refrigerator door or toilet. Pool foam noodles can be cut and split to cover any number of edges.
Tennis balls are great for sharp corners, too. Fabric can be purchased and very simply sewn to create a baby-gate. For areas that don’t have doors, remember sometimes fabric helps keep things out of sight and mind (though not fail-safe). Strong duck tape can cover electrical outlets you don’t usually use.
And if you’re just not the creative type, give a few searches online and you’ll find endless ideas and photos that won’t break the bank.
Lynette is a mom of three children from 18 months to age five. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.