There comes a point in any mom’s life when she knows – the house must be childproofed. But how do you get it right and keep the costs to the minimum? Looking back, I can say – if I had to do it over again, here is what I’d do:
The best tip I can give you – think first, buy locks second. The most common mistake people make is that they go to the shops to see what kind of locks are available and end up buying a stack of inconvenient, awful looking, irritating devices that make life so much harder – and they don’t even need half of them.
Make a list
You already know what areas in your house need childproofing, so it is easy enough to walk through those and make a list of all the cupboards, cabinets and other items that need to be locked. That list will keep you from buying locks that you don’t need “just in case”, because you will know exactly the number and the kind of locks you are looking for. It will spare you the confusion and the time wasted wondering through supermarket aisles.
Do you really have to lock it?
Some cabinets can be childproofed by simply putting all the dangerous things such as household cleaners on a higher shelf, so that you won’t have to lock them. Another idea is to relocate the medicines/bug sprays/detergents/acids/poisonous substances of all sorts to just one cupboard that you can put a lock on.
Choose your battles
Sometimes it is much cheaper and easier to childproof a door to a room than render harmless every hazard in it. Let’s take the bathroom, for example. To childproof that whole room, you would need to put anti-scald devices on all the faucets and shower heads, locks on the medicine cabinets, lock on the hot tub and locks on the toilets. Instead, use a door knob cover to prevent access to bathroom, problem solved and it only costs a dollar.
Don’t buy all of them at once
Get just one lock of each kind, come home, install and use for a couple of days. If you like it, go back and buy more of the same kind. I have tried 6 types of different locks for the same drawer and only one really did the job, meaning was safe and easy enough to open and close.
Follow the Golden Rule of Childproofing
There are many different kinds of locks, some do the job better, some worse, and some of the locks are not childproof – they are in fact adult-proof. It happened many times that I had to struggle with a lock and there even was a particular one I cut open with scissors because there was no other way. The golden rule of childproofing says – if the parent can’t open the lock easily, get rid of it.
Return the locks that didn’t work for you
Don’t throw the receipts away! Save the original packaging. You will find that many locks prove to be difficult to open, fiddly, unsafe for the child and not suitable for many other reasons. Collect them all and take them back with the packaging and a receipt, get a refund.
This is a great list of ideas! I particularly like the idea to choose your battles, and restrict access to a whole area. What are your best frugal childproofing techniques?