8 Childproofing Hacks To Keep Your Little Monsters Alive In Spite Of Their Best Efforts

Last week, my 11-month-old son figured out how to work the childproof latches on the kitchen cupboards. These were legit childproof locks, too, not the crummy cheap kind that a blind wombat on a bender could get open given a few tries. As has been the case the past few months, I’m still staying barely ahead of the kids when it comes to childproofing and safety: they keep finding new ways to outwit me. I am outnumbered and outmatched, but at least everyone else can benefit from my struggles to find the childproofing tricks hacks that will work best to keep your little hellbeasts darlings alive.

1. Elastic hair ties

This is what all of our kitchen cupboards now look like:

rubber band childproof cupboardThe upside is that my son can’t help himself to the dishwashing liquid anymore. The downside is that I keep forgetting these are in place and trying to open the cupboards, only to be confounded. The other downside is that the kids are furious that they can’t take all the Tupperware out and drool in it anymore. Plus, when they’re screaming out their rage over their inability to wreak havoc on the Pyrex mixing bowls, they tend to throw their head forward and bash themselves on the cupboard corners and knobs. Before they lose an eye, I’d better do something …

2. Tennis balls and pool noodles

If you cut a slit or an X in a tennis ball, or slit a pool noodle all along one side, they make terrific bumpers. Stick tennis on sharp corners, stick pool noodles on the legs of tables, voila! No more uncomfortable questions with strangers who do not have one-year-olds and who thus do not understand one-year-olds’ proclivity to hurl themselves face-first at obstacles. This should work as long as – oh god, now they’ve figured out how to pull the tennis balls off. Now what?

3. Onward and upward

If you put things high enough, the baby can’t reach them. This threshold has been moving upward at an alarming clip the last few weeks, culminating in my son (who’s taller by a few inches) being able to pull things off of the top shelf of the changing table. It’s okay! Just keep moving stuff higher! There’s a lot of space on top of the fridge, right?

Don’t forget about things that dangle into a baby’s line of sight, either. Abandon toilet paper holders and just put the TP on the back of the toilet. Until the baby can reach there, I guess. Um. Maybe start going to the bathroom at the convenience store? Oh, and there’s also the blinds and curtains. You can get fancy curtain holders to keep them off the ground, or you can just do this:

curtain knots childproofingSure, it looks silly, but so does putting your laptop on top of the refrigerator. We all do what we have to do to keep stuff out of the baby’s reach … At least until she learns to pile toys in front of what she wants and climb up to get it.

4. Baby jail

If they’re locked up in a playpen, at least you know they’re not drowning themselves in the toilet or guzzling laundry detergent.

baby at childproof gateProbably. As long as they don’t figure out that they can knock it over by throwing their weight hard enough at the free side. Okay. Okay. No, it’s okay! We’ll figure something out. Right after I breathe into this paper bag for a few minutes.

5. Rearrange the furniture

Panic is mounting, and babies are mounting the TV stand. Just put the sofa in front of the television! That way they can’t rip the cables out of the wall and strangle themselves, or knock the TV over onto themselves. Maybe you can watch TV again when they go to kindergarten. Wait, where did they go?

6. Duct tape

If your kids like playing with the remote controls as much as mine do, you can try duct taping the battery cover in place to keep them from becoming an afternoon snack. Conversely, consider covering your kid in a collision-proof, padded suit made of duct tape. Or affixing him firmly and safely to the wall.

7. Rid yourself of all worldly possessions

If you don’t have any stuff, then you don’t have any stuff for kids to destroy and/or maim themselves with. Contemplate the meaning of your loss of tethers to material goods while your kids attempt to chew the bare carpet off the floor.

8. Wine

Pour yourself a big glass, the biggest glass, to relax. It’s okay if you don’t panic over every potential pinched finger or banged head. Take care of the big stuff (no electrical cord strangulation hazards or detergent smoothies), and realize that some bumps and bruises are inevitable. My child likes to crawl at full speed with a bucket on his head.

(Baby gate photo: Olga Bogatyrenko/Shutterstock; other photos: Aimee Ogden)

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