How to Childproof Your Living Room

Most families spend the majority of their time in the living room or family room. While we typically consider this room as an area to relax and unwind, there are plenty of opportunities here for children to get into trouble.

Trouble Zone #1: Sharp Table Edges and Corners

There are two options when it comes to dealing with tables. You can eliminate or replace the items with more child-friendly pieces, such as ottomans. Or, you can purchase "bumpers" to cushion the edges and corners of those items. Plastic, vinyl, and fabric bumpers are available. Some wrap the edges of tables, and others soften the corners. A simple, if not very attractive solution for wrapping the edges of tables is to purchase pipe insulators. These are long, black foamy tubes with a slit along one side. You typically use them to wrap pipes, but they do a fine job of cushioning sharp edges.

Trouble Zone #2: Cords and Electrical Outlets

Lamps, televisions, phones, and computers quite often reside in our living rooms. Dangling electrical cords can be a hazard because a small child could grab the cord and pull the object down on top of them, or they could bite the cords and get an electrical shock (babies and toddlers put everything into their mouths, after all.) There are special little cord reels and cord spools that you can purchase, but the job can be done equally well by gathering the slack on the cord any way you can and using either a twist tie, zip tie, or masking tape to keep the bundle of wire together. Outlets should always be covered with an outlet cover to prevent small children from sticking toys or other objects into them.

Trouble Zone #3: Tall, Tippable Furniture

If you have tall entertainment centers, book cases, or curio cabinets in your living room, you will need to secure these to a wall to prevent the furniture from tipping should a child climb on it. There are special straps you can buy for this purpose, but a steel L-bracket will do just as well, and they are very inexpensive. Find the studs in your wall and attach one end of the strap or bracket onto the back of the piece of furniture near the top. Attach the other end to the wall where there is a stud you can screw the bracket into. Attaching the furniture to the studs guarantees that the strap or bracket won't wiggle loose should you have an aggressive climber.

Trouble Zone #4: Stairs

Gates, gates, and more gates. That's the only solution for this one. Every stairway in your home should have two gates: one at the bottom and one at the top. This way, no matter which floor your little adventurer is on, they will be protected from a tumble down the stairs. Many experts recommend against those accordian-style gates because they can pinch little fingers. But they are the most inexpensive option, and if it's between an accordian-style gate and no gate, go with what you can afford.

Trouble Zone #5: Accessories

Easily reached, breakable objects, teensy knick knacks, poisonous house plants, and any type of chemical (including air fresheners) you have sitting around need to go away. There will be plenty of time to bring it back when baby grows up, but for now, it's all about keeping baby safe. If you have long cords on window blinds or drapes, wrap the cords up and away from where baby can reach, as these pose a strangulation risk.

The living room is where your family goes to relax and unwind. Once you have it childproofed, you can relax even more.

Anti-Tip Furniture Strap

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Comments 1 comment

Losing It... 6 years ago

Thank you for your ideas on how to secure furniture for aggressive climbers. I'm about to lose it with my adventurous 16 month old daughter. I don't know how to keep her from climing everything like a monkey!! How do I make her stop??? It scares the bejesus out of her daddy and me. At least I can make her a LITTLE more safe with straps, or an L shaped bracket. Oh my GOD!

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