making sure your home is safe for your climbing baby or toddler

We all know that we have to baby-proof when a baby comes along. It is pretty much common sense. It keeps our homes safe, but more importantly, our children.

But what about when you have a climber?

Yes – that is right. A climber. You might have the next mountaineering legend on your hands. How old they are when they start to discover the joy of climbing up on your couch, the windowsill, the kitchen sides or even scaling the stairs when your back is turned depends entirely on your child. Some will do it as soon as they are crawling or bum-shuffling, others wait until they are confident walkers. Some children are not naturally climbers and this is not anything to worry about either – as long as your child is reaching most of their milestones, such as their 8 month old newborn development milestones – there really is no problem if they do not climb everything in sight. Of course, if you are worried about your child’s physical development at all, reach out to your doctor or child health professional.

If you are blessed with a baby climber though, you may be wondering how on earth you are meant to keep them safe from harm while also allowing them to explore and have fun. Here, we share some tips to help you with making your home safe for your climbing baby or toddler.

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Super tall baby gates

If you have a younger climber, investing in a set of tall baby gates can be the difference between them staying downstairs where you left them and finding them at the top of the stairs. Opt for stair gates that have vertical bars and no horizontal footholds for them to get onto.

But you should also consider removing the baby gates

Yes, we know this completely contradicts the previous point, but once your child gets to a height where they are able to even attempt climbing up the gate, it is a good idea to take them off. They are incredibly useful for smaller kids, but once they learn to get up and over those, they can be more dangerous than having them on. It is particularly important to take any off at the top of the stairs, to stop them from climbing over and taking a tumble all the way down.

Secure tall furniture to the wall

In fact, secure any furniture that you can to the wall. Bookcases, media centers, shelving units, drawers, dressers and even wardrobes can seem like great fun to a wannabe mountaineer, but they are also very easy to pull over. A heavy bookcase landing on top of a toddler is not a scenario anyone ever wants to experience. Furniture anchors and straps are easily available online and are relatively easy to fit. It really is not worth the risk of not doing it.

Move the ladders and step stools

Ladders and stools are really useful to have around, especially if you are on the short side. There is no need to be climbing on chairs or tables to reach that mug or plate. However, imagine how much fun they are for kids that love climbing?

In the same vein, take care if you have older children with bunk beds or high cabin beds. Children should be at least five before being up on the top bunk. If you do have younger children around who may be tempted by the ladders, consider buying a ladder guard that slides over them when they are not in use.

Think about drawer handles

This is one you might not have thought about, but drawer handles make excellent footholds for a mini mountaineer. If you have a particularly adventurous child, you might want to consider removing them for a while until they have grown out of the climbing.

Locks on cabinets and cupboards

We all know when we have a baby on the move to secure cupboards that are low down to stop little hands from getting into cupboards that they shouldn’t, but we often forget about this as they get bigger. A toddler could climb on the toilet or the side of the bath and reach for the toiletries, medicine cupboard or cleaning cupboard. They might get into your makeup and redecorate your walls with your favourite lipstick, or empty the DVD cabinet and post them through the letterbox. You do not have to lock away everything, but consider what and where they can reach, and the hazards they may pose to your child.

Locks or catches on kitchen appliances

Serious danger awaits climbers who learn how to open household appliances like the washing machine and dryer, as well as the refrigerator and freezer. Installing locks or at the very least catches that deny them entry will put you one step ahead of them. There is nothing quite like a toddler who has discovered the joy of opening and closing the washing machine or tumble dryer, but you do not want them in danger, so do it as soon as possible.

Put covers on the door knobs and handles

The next best solution is to physically keep your climber out of areas with doors, since baby gates may not be able to restrict him or her.

Every handle should have a knob or handle cover on it, and doors should always be closed while exiting a room. This is particularly important for the bathroom, kitchen and utility room – ad definitely any doors leading to the outside of your home.

Keep tables clear

The truth is that you are going to have a hard time keeping your climber away from your table.

The only way to keep your kids from hopping from chair to table is to remove all of your chairs. However, for the vast majority of families, this would be a drastic and highly inconvenient step.

An alternative is to ensure that there is nothing on the table that could tempt them or increase the risk of their actions when they are up there. Tablecloths, glass dishes, and other decorations should be taken down until your child is no longer in this phase.

Consider how safe your stairs are

Depending on your child’s age and the design of your stairwell, this may take a different form.

Is it possible to teach your climber how to go up and down safely in a way that they can understand? Whether or if your stairs are carpeted is an important question. At the bottom of the stairwell, is there concrete, wood, or carpet? Is it possible to install a baby gate that is tall enough to keep your youngster away from the stairs? Consider all of these elements and devise a strategy. No matter how careful you are, it may be necessary to restrict access if the stairwells are too dangerous to use. However, it is possible to teach certain climbers to utilize stairways, so keep this in mind when weighing the risks and rewards.

Create a safe space for them to climb

You are never going to stop them from climbing, so the next best thing is to create a spce for them to climb. You can buy tri climbs which are safe, indoor climbing frames to encourage safe physical play. Other alternatives are to give them lots of time at play parks or in the garden on climbing frames, which allows them to do it safely.

** This was a contributed post.

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stairway to heaven, or something like that

e5556d9f070dcb71dbfdfbde1c06d0f9(Image via Pinterest)

The day is getting closer for when we’ll be able to move into The Little Barn. I would say in two weeks, to be exact. This also means that the decisions are becoming finer in their details and much more rushed at that. Our contractors are scrambling to finish last minute projects, both little and big, and we are calling them almost on a daily basis asking when it is that we’ll be able to bring our belongings over. The only other time that I’ve felt this nervous during our house building was in the beginning, when we were waiting to hear back from the bank regarding our mortgage. It’s torturous!

Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. What is the point is that we were asked to pick out a railing for our staircase. Actually, I was texted that question. My first response was that I didn’t bloody know. My contractor then told me that I had to pick something. Obviously, but what a vague question. Who thinks about railings? Didn’t they just appear when the staircase was installed? What are the different kinds of materials that can be used? How would I know what would look good and what wouldn’t?

In a desperate attempt, I had asked my husband to pick out a railing. He was about as shocked and overwhelmed as I was, and asked me what look we were going for. 

“I don’t know,” I said. “Just type in rustic staircase.” 

So he did. What we came up with was a reclaimed wood railing.

dd14c481e8c7a8520a2b38efd2c3612b(Image via Pinterest)

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038f7fd977cb5472824f871e11babdc0(Image via Pinterest)

What would you have chosen for your own house?

<3

Emory

little green’s staircase.

IMG_1.jpgIMG_2.jpgstaircase before (above). staircase after (below).

IMG_3.jpg IMG_4.jpgIMG_5.jpgIMG_7.jpg IMG_8.jpgIMG_9.jpgIMG_10.jpgloft before (above). loft after (below).

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when we first bought little green, the stairs to our master bedroom consisted of what we called a ‘sladder’ (staircase/ladder). because they were so steep and narrow and without a railing, we limited our trips up into our bedroom. whatever we needed for that day, we made sure that we would bring it down in the morning. it was always an adventure getting up in the middle of the night, and more than once our feet would slip and we’d have a small heart attack as we would grab onto the wall for support! are you surprised that these stairs (and our roof) did not pass our home inspection? we weren’t!

now the construction of our stairs was another matter entirely. when we finally did find workers to do the job, they assured us that it would only take two weeks. four months later, and nowhere near completion, we fired the contractors and got the help of my brother to finish the job. thank goodness for handy family members! he taught us how to add, mud, and patch drywall, install baseboards and trim, and build a railing. we gained about 4 feet of wall space, a closet, a unique landing, a longer and wider staircase, and a bigger opening to our loft. the end result is nowhere near what we originally wanted, but i love it just the same.

do you have any construction horror stories that you would like to share?

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to four (two on earth, one in heaven, and growing another). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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