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August 1, 2014

Baby Proofing with Older Kids in the House

baby proofingThe last time we had a baby in our house, my oldest was 4. “baby proofing” was a matter of teaching the kids not to sit on the baby.

Now my youngest boy is 4 and all of their toys fit through the opening of a toilet paper roll. This time around, baby proofing may involve moving and not taking anything with us.

Months before the baby was born we banned all Legos from our family room. I’m still finding pieces in every crevice. I think I may just have to teach the baby to digest them.

My baby is only 3 months old right now but I’m already dreading what is going to happen when she discovers that movement is possible. She rolled over for the first time last night and while my kids were cheering her on I had to suppress an urge to wrap her up in a swaddle and make her stop.

So I’m faced with an imminent baby proofing challenge.Here’s what we’ve done to get started:

Teach the Why

A few months ago my kids didn’t understand why anyone would put a toy in their mouth. They told me our baby would be smart enough to do that. Within a few weeks of bringing the baby home, my youngest came up to me and said, “Mom! Babies really do put things in their mouth!”

Yep, welcome to reality my boy.

Now that they understand the reason for baby proofing, my kids are working on changing habits and getting better about keeping their small toys out of reach.

Create a Place for Everything

One of the biggest challenges of keeping any toys off the floor is that they need to have a place to go. Stock up on storage containers that seal tightly enough a baby can’t open them and label them clearly. Place baby-friendly toys on lower shelves and  things with small pieces higher up.

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Create a Safe Zone

We’ve banned small toys from our living area. So far it isn’t working but I have high hopes. Kids generally miss things when they “clean up” so creating an area where no small toys are allowed makes it easier to keep babies safe.

Get on Baby’s Level

Many things that are a hazard to a crawling baby aren’t visible from our viewpoint To really see what your baby can see, get down on their level. Crawl around and look for anything that could be dangerous if your baby reaches (or tries to reach for) it. Older siblings will love this step and can help you keep an eye out for new hazards as they pop up. Don’t forget to anchor tall furniture to the

How do you babyproof when you have older kids?

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About Rachel

Rachel knows what it is like to be busy and worry about balancing everything without losing your sanity. As a homeschooling mom of 4 boys (ages 9, 7, 5, and one tiny angel who passed away at birth) and a baby daughter, juggling is a way of life.

Rachel holds a B.A. in English and is a former teacher. She is the creator of Busy Mommy Media and works as a freelance writer from home.

Comments

  1. We had to do that for a while too. Naturally, my youngest was also the most prone to putting toys in her mouth. We used baby gates to give the bigger kids their own spaces when she started to get mobile. Time came when she needed enough space that the gates came down, and they just had to be careful about taking any small toys out of their rooms.

    These days it’s all about keeping an eye on my youngest. She had stopped putting things in her mouth so much for a while, but now she has started up again.
    Stephanie´s last blog post ..Being a Green Soccer Mom

    • Our current setup doesn’t even really allow for gates. It’s a good thing she had 3 big brothers to watch out for her. We really need to have a massive yard sale and get rid of half the stuff that she’s going to get into when she starts to crawl too.

      That stage where they put everything in their mouth always drives me crazy. We’ve been lucky so far and haven’t had a baby swallow anything they weren’t supposed to but I’d better knock on wood fast.

  2. The BEST thing we did was downsize. They didn’t need Or play with most things anyway. We ended up with 60% fewer toys. Then we made places that were baby zone…not army men, Polly pocket, etc were allowed in the zone. We explained to them that everyone if our family deserves a safe place to play. In the other area we have had to enforce a strict containment policy. Small things are high or in containers when not actively being used. If not, they are confiscated and you must buy them back with a chore…usually cleaning a room or two of baseboards. Did I mention I have really clean baseboards? It took a bit, but my three orders kids, 9, 6, and 4, do really well and police each other often.

    • Shelly, I love that idea! We’ve been doing a lot of decluttering but Legos are non-negotiable in this house so we have to learn to contain them. I’ve been confiscating them but I love the idea of having kids earn a chore to earn them back. I’d probably have REALLY clean baseboards too :)

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