Baby-Proofing Our Apartment
Updated: Mar 13, 2021
It's a lot, it's necessary, and it sometimes fails.
There's no smooth transition for baby-proofing a home, and it turns out that there are many spots that can be a safety hazard to the little one. As Mason grabs, reaches, and bumps into things, we pretty much follow with caution tape. Here are the baby-proofing products currently working for us and the ones that didn't work out. Every child and household is different. Please keep in mind that this is what worked for our toddler and home. This post is more photo and list-based, so enjoy!
Be sure to click on each list to read all my pros and cons!
Corner Bumpers & Bumper Strips
When we first moved into our apartment, Mason was only crawling, so we put these corner bumpers on every baseboard corner. These bumpers have worked great for the past five months. Recently, Mason discovered that he could rip the bumpers off (and he finds it very amusing). *Sigh* I'll have to find another solution for baby-proofing our corners.
Mason is also a huge fan of playing peek-a-boo and an early form of hide-and-seek. He'll giggle and walk around the corner of our kitchen counter and wait for me to find him. While I keep reminding him that his giggling is giving away his hiding spot, this game never gets old, and I love it. What I don't love is if he rounds a corner too quick or trips, he bumps into the side of the counter. I considered getting the foam strips, but I have to be honest - these are so bulky and unattractive. I found this clear bumper, but ended up not making a difference. Why? Within the same week of installing the clear bumper, Mason found he could rip this off from the bottom. Loved hearing his chuckles of amusement, hated that it was off the side of the counter within a few seconds. Luckily after a couple of bumps, Mason has learned to be more cautious and makes a wider turn when going around the counter. I haven't put a new bumper strip in place, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he remains cautious around this part of our home...BUT WHO KNOWS, AM I RIGHT?!
Cabinet Locks & Latches
For our kitchen cabinets and the buffet table cabinets, I installed these magnetic safety locks. I try to find hidden and as minimal products as possible, which can be a challenge when coming to baby-proofing since naturally, I still want a product that works! These magnetic locks work like a charm! The locks are installed on the inside of the cabinets, so our kitchen and furniture still look the same. I installed these back in May, and Mason cannot open any of our kitchen cabinets, which is fantastic! I found that allowing the locks to adhere overnight works best (they come with 3M tape). When I put these on the buffet table cabinets and immediately let Mason explore the cabinets, they popped right off. Thankfully, there was no damage to the cabinet, and it was my fault to let Mason go at the cabinets so soon.
After re-installing the magnetic safety locks, I noticed another small challenge with the buffet table cabinets. When Mason tried to open the locked doors, the top (where the locks were installed) would stay shut, but the cabinet's bottom would come out a bit. I didn't want to put a bulky latch on the cabinet's handles, so I found these rotating cabinet latches. These are super low-key and simple to install with their VHB ("very high bond") adhesives. Mason cannot figure out how to open this latch, no matter how many times he pulls and spins it. More importantly, the cabinet doors on this side of the buffet table remain closed.
Door Lever Locks
The doors of our apartment have handles, making it very easy for Mason to open and close. I quickly ordered these door lever locks. I have to say, I'm impressed. I placed these towards the end of the handle so that Mason couldn't have any shot at opening the doors. The top and bottom brackets can be moved one at a time, so we've found that by leaving the bottom bracket engaged and the top one disengaged, we can still go in and out of rooms without having to reset the lever locks every time. A big plus - we can even use the door handle per usual on the other side of the door! I don't know anything about door handle construction, but I found it reassuring that we won't get stuck inside of a room due to one side being engaged (granted the actual door isn't locked). Cool, huh?
We did have one door that this lever lock couldn't be installed upon. The door is to our washer/dryer and is not a solid closed door (it has shutters to allow ventilation). I simply applied one of the rotating cabinet locks (same on the buffet table cabinets), and it did the trick! Mason can pull the door handle down, but the door does not open at all.
Sliding Door Lock
The majority of our closets have sliding doors. The one in Mason's room is the only one he has access to, and he would slide these open and close very quickly. Besides the fear of pinching his fingers, the sliding doors would slam into the wall very loudly. To avoid both of these instances, I found this sliding door and window lock. This lock is another product that I'm very impressed with. Mason has tugged at the sliding door and tried to open it but is unsuccessful. I placed the lock higher up on the sliding door (out of his reach), and it's simple to maneuver for adults.
Standard Latches for the Oven & Stove Knob Covers
The stove and oven were Mason's latest interest. While the oven door is currently too heavy for him to open, the bottom drawer is an easy one for him to do so. I was looking at many different latches but realized that not all of these are oven-safe. After carefully reading through the descriptions, I found these latches that come in a pack of 4. Again, these are low-key and, so far, very strong!
The stove knobs were a bit tougher to conquer. I had these stove knob covers but ended up returning them. While these covers came highly rated by other customers, it just didn't work out for our home. Immediately after installing, Mason was only more interested in the knobs. He tried to turn the stove knobs - which he could not because the covers spun loosely around the knobs instead (great! they work!). However, the sound was way too loud, as if someone was taking a bunch of plastic cups and just banging them into each other. This mama was NOT having that!
Additionally, Mason decided to pull at the new covers, and he could get a couple of them off the stove. We double-checked our installation, and all appeared to be correct. The fact that Mason could get this off with such ease was very concerning, so we removed the covers. Oddly enough, Mason has lost interest in the stove knobs (for now).
Retractable Safety Gate
I admit I went down a crazy spiral while researching baby gates - what's the best, safest, most affordable, easy to install, best customer reviews, etc. I knew that we wanted a retractable gate as again, I tried to keep it minimal and out of the way as possible. Our need was standard, separating the entrance hall from the rest of the apartment. This gate was the one that kept coming at the top of each retractable gate list that I read. I have to say it hasn't disappointed us! While I wish it weren't at a higher price ($135 for 52"wide and $165 for 72"wide), I'm impressed by how well it withstands Mason and our big pup, Harvey. Mason will lean, scratch, and push into this gate, and it doesn't budge. There's a child safety lock on the top that locks the mesh material gate in place. Harvey has a big sturdy tail that wacks into this gate all the time, but again, it doesn't budge. I also love that I can open and close this with one hand, which is super helpful when there's a busy toddler in the other! On another note, if you have a baseboard on your walls (as we do), you'll need this wall spacer set to ensure the gate is standing straight.
Whew! That was a lot. Congrats to you for finishing this post. Hope you found some of these tips helpful for your home! I'll try to update as we add (or rid of) safety items. Feel free to share any baby-proofing items or tips in the comments below!