The scenario is familiar for any new mother of an energetic little tot who has just started walking: you keep a watchful eye on your toddler for close to an hour, decide he has finally slowed down and is busy playing with a toy in a corner, so you begin picking his toys up. You lose sight of him for a second and voila! He has already walked much too close to the stand fan, and you’re racing against him towards the fan because it might fall on him. You can’t even scream because any sound you make might make things worse.
Despite the media’s hype on the supermom, no mother can keep up with a toddler’s energy unless the environment is ideal for each playtime’s specific needs. This means you will have to make your bedroom space, or any play space, safe enough for your child to move around in even if you’re not 100% focused on his every movement. Below are helpful tips to keep the first three years of your child’s life less nerve wracking.
Mark your targets
You need to identify danger zones in your living space. These danger zones include sockets, electric cords, breakables, tall appliances and furniture that are too unstable to hold your toddler’s weight should he lean on them, rags he could slip on, cabinets he could open—the list goes on. Some parents with bedrooms that are simple enough to toddler-proof go ahead and do so because it’s easier for them to let their tot loose.
While it’s impossible to carve and round off corners from your furniture just to make bumps less painful for your little one, there are products out there which allow parents of small children to cover and “round off” those dangerous corners. These don’t cost much apiece, but could be an expensive purchase if you’re toddler-proofing the whole room. Consider only toddler-proofing a portion of your bedroom and finding ways to isolate your toddler in that space.
Out of reach
Things that could break, spill, or hurt your toddler should he get his hands on them should be placed way out of his reach. That might mean you’ll have to invest in wall fans from now on to ventilate the room, and put most of your decorations and other precious nothings on the topmost shelves. Toddlers need to explore, though, and they will get bored if you keep everything out of their reach. My son likes slippers and things that roll, remote controls and whatnot, so what I do is let him play with a clean (translation: never-used and close to sterilized) pair of adult slippers, a broken and clean remote control, and other round non-toys he can tinker with. He doesn’t put things in his mouth much anymore, but I still don’t give him items which he could choke on.
Good quality locks
If you plan to let your toddler crawl about in areas in your bedroom with drawers and cabinets he can open, you must invest in good quality baby locks. These are pricey but worth it. Aside from the possible clutter your tot could make should he be able to open your cabinets and drawers, he is also most likely to hurt himself too. Do not underestimate your toddler though. Read reviews about baby cabinet locks and choose a design your toddler won’t be able to figure out. Kids are very smart these days and they could surprise you.
Storage boxes as isolation fences
There are storage boxes in the market today which double as benches or seats. I didn’t want our bedroom to be cluttered with toddler toys, but I also wanted to have some toys ready for my son so I bought these seats-slash-storage boxes. The nice thing about the storage boxes I bought was that they were covered in faux leather, so they still looked adult enough for our bedroom. What’s nicer still about them is that they were stable and had padded tops. Since they weren’t fixed nor heavy furniture pieces, I was also able to line them around my toddler’s play area, and voila! I had instant fences.
They should be good enough to isolate my son in a safe corner in our bedroom until he’s around two years old. He doesn’t mind the “fences” either because unlike his play yard, the storage boxes weren’t that high. He could still look over them, and I suppose that created the illusion of complete freedom. I’m sure he’ll figure out he’s contained in a small space pretty soon, but while he’s learning to walk well, I am grateful these storage boxes were invented.