I’ve always been the type of person that likes to over-prepare so that I’m able to go with the flow down the road. It worked well for me in school, it works well for me in my career and I’m hoping that trend continues when it comes to motherhood. At this point, my thinking is that if we put a little extra work into baby proofing our home then we can breathe a little easier as our daughter continues to explore her surroundings and hopefully avoid a few unnecessary bumps and bruises. Of course, parental supervision is the best baby proofing, but an extra layer of protection can’t hurt. Right?
Well, I quickly found that it can definitely hurt your wallet! Baby proofing is no joke but it is big business! When our daughter started crawling, I was floored by the endless amount of baby proofing products on the market and the ridiculous price tags that go along with them. If you’re looking to baby proof your house on a budget, here are a few do-it-yourself tricks that are guaranteed to save you money!
Money-Saving Baby Proofing Hacks
Pipe Wrap = Edge Guard
Our daughter has become incredibly skilled at hurling her face toward furniture. Plus, her new favorite place to play is under our coffee table in the living room which happens to have swirly metal legs. We needed a solution for the harsh edges on our modern furniture and we found it! You can find Edge Guard, which is marketed to pad the edges of your coffee table, tv stand, fireplace, (etc.) and it runs about $15-20 for a 6-foot section.
For a thrifty solution, pick up some pipe wrap (aka foam pipe insulation) at a local hardware store. It’s usually sold in 6 foot sections for about $1. Pipe wrap looks like a foam pool noodle. The difference is it is not as bulky, it is pre-slit, and it has a self-sealer which functions like a strong tape holding it in place on your furniture. It can easily be cut to any length that you need and it comes in a few different widths. I picked this up at Lowes ($6.50 for 30 feet) and used it on the metal legs of our coffee table, the glass edge of the shelves on our TV stand, and a few other random edges around the house. It works like a charm!
Hair Ties & Yardstick = Cabinet & Drawer Locks
There is an endless variety of products to keep cabinets and drawers shut. Just looking at the options makes my head spin: magnetic locks, swivel locks, sliding locks, spring-loaded latches, grip ‘n go features, multi-use straps… AHH! We opted only to purchase the fancy locks for the cabinets and drawers with potentially hazardous materials in them or items that we particularly don’t want tampered with. (Cleaning supplies under our sink and my makeup drawer in the bathroom, for example.) For all the others we’re keeping it simple. Use hair ties or rubber bands to tether together knobs on cabinets and drawers that are side-by-side. For stacks of drawers you can easily slip a yardstick through the handles to avoid having to buy locks for every drawer. It’s not glamorous but it works, and the “installation” is a breeze!
Pet Gate = Baby Gate
Often you can find gates with comparable features in the pet department that are cheaper than the same product marketed for baby proofing. Depending on where you plan to use a gate, this is worth checking out.
Pool Noodle = Pinch Guard
Keep a pool noodle handy for the time that your child discovers the endless entertainment that can come from slamming doors over and over again. Cut a section of the pool noodle and slice it so you can pry it open, then place it over the top of the door. This will keep the door from shutting all the way so your little one’s fingers do not get pinched. (The slamming noise is avoided, too!) Much more cost effective than purchasing pinch guards or door stops.
Tupperware = Power Strip Cover
There are products marketed to cover an entire power strip, including the on/off switch, to prevent children from pulling out plugs or tampering with the outlets. These products are usually sold for around $20. For a thrifty solution, purchase a large rectangular plastic Tupperware container. Cut a hole in the end that is just large enough to push the cords through. Place the power strip inside, seal the lid, and (if needed) duct tape it shut to keep little ones from tampering with surge protectors.
Have you found a baby proofing hack that protects your children without breaking the bank? Please share!