Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

We have a very curious toddler in the house again, and that means we are babyproofing again. Our home, which has for years only housed teens, tweens, and adults, is nothing more than a giant danger zone for our granddaughter. So while her parents are excited to see every new accomplishment, I’m busy having mini nana heart attacks at realizing how very unsafe everything we have is (this does not even include the little things like Hallie picking up my entire cup of water while sitting on my lap and pouring it on my kindle).

Here’s the down-and-dirty guide to what you better think about the minute baby can move on her own:


Child safety locks: I include this because it’s the right thing to do, but since none of the adults in our house (including me) can open them either, we’ve opted for vigilance and the following:

Reorganizing: If you really don’t want them to get to it, move it.

Granting them access: Hallie knows that if she brings nana the bucket of cheese balls, she will get two (one for each hand).


Luckily, we’ve been on a minimalist streak for the last few years, and the shelves we do have are from IKEA. They are awesome – and they are low to the ground, difficult to tip over. If you have tall shelves, bolt it to the wall. Same with tall dressers. Kids climb, and they pull these massive pieces of furniture over on themselves and get hurt very, very badly. Not to worry – Hallie may not have any bookshelves to climb, but she’s given us plenty of heart attacks standing up on her rocking horse.

Hard-edged furniture

If you have to keep your pretty coffee table in the middle of the room, at least cover the corners with bumpers to protect your baby’s head. We’ve opted to just keep the tables up against the walls and out of the way so she has more room to roam.

Blind Cords

Strangulation is a real worry in homes that have blinds with long draw strings. Keep them tied up high above the reach of your baby.

Remove Temptation

Don’t leave the pretties where the baby can reach them. We learned this also applies to cuckoo clock chains, table cloths, and speaker wires.

Wall sockets

Plug all unused wall sockets with plug covers. This is an inexpensive, easy way to protect your child.


We continue to be surprised at how inventive Hallie is in exploring her environment, and this list is definitely not all-inclusive. In our home, we also have to contend with scalding hot radiators and pipes in the winter and hard stone floors throughout most of the house. No matter how much baby proofing you do, the most important way to keep your baby safe is vigilance. Kids shouldn’t be left alone; if you do have to step away for anything, put them in a crib, playpen, or baby jail.

What other safety steps would you recommend?