Last weekend, when my friend came by with her two year old, I had no worries. I love kids; I had a jar filled with toys. I had a box of cookies. Boy, was I in for a big surprise. There's nothing like having a tiny guest to make you realize that your home is a landmine of accidents waiting to happen. With the holidays rolling around and many of us having friends and family over, there's a good chance there will be a kid somewhere in the mix. And, while you hope that the parents will watch their children with an eagle eye, that's not always possible. While I'm not planning to baby-proof my house, here's a couple of things I learned.
- My glass coffee table is not quite stable: Now, I'm not planning to redecorate but I will do something to make sure the top doesn't rock. With a lighter coffee table or one with corners, consider pushing it out of the way. Not only will it put it out of harm's way, but you'll have a clear floor space so a kid can play within easy view.
- I have exposed outlets: This is one place were I'll probably buy a couple of outlet covers. They're inexpensive and fairly unobtrusive.
- Wooden boxes are breakable: You won't be able to prevent all accidents. Even if you don't think something is breakable, if you're going to be upset if something happens to it, it's better to put it out of reach. Store small objects (children will attempt to put anything smaller than a shoebox in their mouth) and clear all surfaces lower than waist high.
- Gingersnaps are not for kids: On my shopping list: a box of plain cookies, a jar of applesauce, a bunch of apple juice in boxes, plain macaroni and butter are all staples that seem to be key components of the under 5 diet.
- Having two faucets on my bathroom sink makes hand washing precarious: Putting my small stepladder in here would've elevated my tiny guest to the right height. Another option, a washcloth which could be wet down to wipe sticky hands. And, if you don't use it already, liquid soap. Baby wipes are another good idea.
- Elmo is every popular: my friend pulled up a couple of videos on YouTube which I bookmarked for the future. You don't need more than a few; kids are cool with repetition. Blocks or crayons are other good things to have around.
- However high you put your fishbowl, a kid will find some way of sticking their hand in it and then attempting to put said hand in their mouth: You will not think of everything and it's likely something will break or get a little mangled. Keep stain remover, and your sense of humor, handy.
(Image: Carrie McBride)