Something that many people forget about until it is too late is that they need to child proof their furniture before it is too late. The growth and mobility of a new baby can creep up on you so fast and the necessary precautions can get pushed down the priorities list without you noticing. So it is best to plan ahead and act before you need it.
Your child can injure herself in many different ways while playing on or near your furniture. While the only fool-proof way to keep your child completely safe is to replace all of your furniture with baby-friendly options, that is obviously out of the question. So, here are some ways to make your existing furniture safe for your little one.
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Furnitire Prone to Tipping Over
One of the greatest risks that your furniture may pose for your child is falling over. It may seem sturdy to you, but most furniture is not made to be pushed, tugged, and climbed on. And your child is guaranteed to try all of these things as her curious little hands check it out.
The first thing you want to do is to check the stability of your existing furniture. Think like a child, and try moving it in every direction. If it seems like it is a bit wobbly, or if there is any give to it at all, you are going to want to childproof it. The last thing you want is for that bookshelf to come crashing down on your little one.
An excellent, cheap, and easy option is to anchor your furniture to the wall. Furniture straps, like these from Bébé Earth, are ideal. They come with all of the hardware you need to install them, and all you need is a wall stud and an electric drill.
Practically invisible, they attach from the back of the article of furniture to a wall stud (a necessity for stability), so if your furniture begins to tip, the straps will catch and prevent the piece from falling to the ground.
Baby Proofing Sharp Corners
It is an exciting time when your child starts to be more mobile. You wait anxiously for her to move forward once she has learned to get on her knees, and you watch as she becomes strong enough to pull herself up to standing. But, these are also prime times for the occurrence of accidents.
Until she builds up her strength and becomes more steady, your little one will fall. A lot. And then she will try and try again.
No matter how closely you watch her, and are ready to catch her when she falls, there are bound to be sometimes when you are not right by her side. All it takes is that one time for her to fall and hit her face on the edge or corner of the end table.
You are going to want to soften your furniture so that your child does not end up with cuts and bruises from the sharp angles of tables and shelves. Roving Cove has a great product that can help you do just this.
The product comes with premade corner pieces and a roll of pre-taped foam cushioning for furniture edges. Simply measure, cut, and stick to soften those sharp edges and protect your child when her next fall comes.
Removing Trip Hazards
We’ve all seen it. A child is running through the house, playing happily with parents, siblings, or pets. She is laughing and care-free, until something catches her foot and she goes tumbling. Suddenly, the fun is gone and the world is ending.
Furniture and rugs can pose a threat to children who may not be as wary or as sure-footed as an adult. Their little feet can trip on a gap under the rug, where it is not secure to the ground and may have slid up. Couches and chairs, as well as table legs, lie in wait to catch a careless foot.
To prevent these falls from occurring, you will want to rethink your furniture layout. While it is not realistic to rearrange every room in your house to accommodate your child, you will need to examine the areas that she plays the most.
Keep the floor plan open, moving furniture closer to the walls or out of the room altogether to create a wide space that is safe for her to run around to her heart’s desire.
If you need to keep your rug in your child’s play area, a layer of non-slip padding, will do the trick. Try this one from Gorilla Gripthis one from Gorilla Grip, available in multiple sizes, up to 72 x 72 inches. Just measure and cut to fit your rug, lay it out on the floor, and place your rug over top. The material will keep your rug from sliding and prevent it from creating gaps that could lead to unnecessary trips.
Makeshift Ladders Everywhere!
If there is one thing a child loves to do, it is climbing. She wants to touch everything in your home, and if something is out of reach, she will try to find a way to get to it. Any piece of furniture that looks like a good ladder to her will be used as one.
These include bookshelves and tall stacks of drawers (whether in the bathroom, kitchen, or a bedroom dresser).
Climbing can lead to falls, and falls can lead to bruises, or, even worse, broken bones. Not to mention, if your furniture is not anchored to the wall (as we talked about earlier), climbing on drawers can lead to dressers falling due to uneven weight distribution.
You are going to want to child proof these pieces of furniture before your child can even think about trying to get her foot up on them.
For drawers and cabinets, you are going to want to lock them shut so your little one cannot open them. In order to achieve this, you have a couple of options. You can use the traditional drawer catch, or you can use versatile locking straps. Both are easy to install and easy for you to work around while keeping your drawers closed and unable to be made into a ladder.
For your bookshelves, you best option is to move them into an inaccessible (for your child) room in your house, as there is no 100%, fool-proof way to child proof a shelf so it cannot be climbed on.
If this is not an option, you can try a recommended DIY method, using Velcro and some sort of material (either cloth or vinyl). Just measure your shelf openings, cut your material, and use Velcro strips to stick the pieces over the front of the shelves. This will allow for easy removal for you, when you need to get to your books, while keeping the shelves covered and unable to be climbed on by your child.
There are a lot of dangers to look out for when it comes to child proofing your furniture. You may not catch them all at first, but as you get to know your child and figure out how she thinks, you will be able to better anticipate what may happen and take precautionary measures to prevent an accident.
Even though keeping your child safe is a priority, do not let yourself become so overwhelmed with child proofing that you miss out on enjoying those little moments with your child.
If you want more information – Check out our complete guide to child proofing here.