Babyproofing, like parenting, it’s one of those things that sounds easy in theory but proves to be a little harder in practice. It’s not so much the act of creating safer spaces that is difficult but rather the realisation that danger lurks around nearly every corner when you have little ones.
Once your baby is on the move, you realise just how many ways there are for them to get into trouble. When you have two newly minted mobile ones, it gets even trickier.
I became a mum to a singleton three years before my twins came along. My oldest was on the move early. He was taking steps at six months and was full on sprinting by eight months. Like most babies and toddlers, he was also naturally curious, a huge ball of energy, and into everything.
I didn’t think babyproofing could get more difficult—until I had twins. My twins are now at the age my oldest was when he started walking, and we are once again in the thick of mobile-babyhood. Knowing I would have my hands full with two, I reached out to more experienced twin mums to find out what I should know.
What your need to know about babyproofing for twins.
Twins are tornadoes.
A single baby can tear a room apart in a few minutes. Twins can do the same damage in a few seconds. They can also take off in opposite directions leaving you unable to rescue them both simultaneously.
Here’s what you need:
This is true in the case of all children, but especially for twins.
We all remember the home video of the twin toddler toppling a dresser on his brother and then pulling him from under it. Since twins are forever at the same developmental stage, they are less able to guide one another from danger the way an older brother or sister might.
Thus, ensuring you anchor all furniture to the wall is important. This includes dressers, televisions, bookcases, stands, and any other freestanding large furniture. Heavy objects such as televisions should also be anchored to the wall and should never be placed on top of furniture.
Outlet/power strip covers
Electrical outlets and power strips should all be covered. Check out Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, or Target to browse options and find the style that fits your needs. Remember that EVERY outlet should be covered—even in rooms you don’t use that often.
Though visually unappealing, baby gates are crucial in a home with twins. There are several different styles available both in terms of fashion and functionality. Gates should be placed at the top and bottom of all stairways, as well as in doorways of rooms you do not want the twins to enter (or exit).
If you have hardwood or other hard surface flooring, consider buying a foldable playmat for the areas in which you spend the most time. Ikea and Amazon both have great options. The best part about a foldable mat is that it will not come apart the way puzzle-piece padding does. It can also be easily folded up and taken anywhere with ease.
Purchase corner bumpers for coffee tables, dining room tables, console tables, built-ins, and other furniture with sharp edges. Again, there are many styles available, many of which are designed to blend in to your furniture.
Ensure you purchase locks for oven knobs and latches for oven doors, washers, dryers, toilets, and all cabinets and drawers. Latch all doors and pay special attention to those where potentially hazardous materials will be kept—cleaning products, detergents, toiletries, medications, etc. Also purchase window guards for additional security on all windows.
Switch out any blinds/shades with cords for cordless versions since cords post a strangulation risk to children.
Softer, rounder furniture
Consider replacing a sharp-edged coffee table with a round coffee table. Better yet, consider a coffee table ottoman, which is softer. Remember, babies can hurt themselves on the undersides and surfaces of tables—not just the corners.
Storage closets that lock
If possible, keep potential hazards in a central location. For example, keep all cleaning products in a single closet rather than in various storage locations. Also, if you are unable to securely latch dressers to the wall, consider storing them in a closet or eliminating them all together by keeping all clothes hung and on closet shelves.
Also be alert for these things
Whether on top of tables or freestanding, ensure lamps cannot topple on top of children.
Purchase fireplace grates and never leave your children alone near an open fire or recently used fireplace.
Place mesh railing guards on balcony railings.
Be mindful of stacking furniture
Kids are rather ingenious when it comes to stacking and climbing furniture. Keep furniture away from things like windows and high shelves. They may still find their way over to these places, but at least you won’t give the kids a head start.
The incredible thing about baby proofing is that once you get started, it’s almost impossible to stop. So, stay vigilant. Even if a safety measure is missing from this list, don’t take it for granted. The most important thing you can do is pay attention. So, keep an eye on your little explorers.