Do you have an explorer, an adventurer, a climber? Not sure yet? You’ll soon find out. Personally, I have all of the above. And, with twin toddlers and an infant in tow, you can say that I know a thing or two about baby proofing the house.
Honestly, I used to get offended when people called my twins “double trouble.” Now I understand it’s the trouble twins get into that’s doubled. Parents and caregivers of multiples can confirm, it’s challenging keeping toddlers safe when having two+ at the same stage running in different directions at the same time.
So what can you do to protect them? Try these tips to help get you started, keeping in mind every baby is different and you may need different ways to keep on top of your individual child’s safety through different ages and stages.
When do you start?
While I’m no expert, I suggest to baby proof before your babies' homecoming. Start with the basics, then decide what else you need based on your house’s layout and your babies' personalities, then adjust as your babies grow. It’s important to be diligent; never underestimate the lengths babies will take to get to something. Once, while I was chasing one twin, I caught the other pulling a chair to a counter; these types of things happen in a split-second.
Where to start?
Begin from the nursery, then work your way around, including outside (porches, steps, etc.) because, before you know it curious infants become investigating toddlers. I know from experience that they’ll get their hands, feet, and mouths into and onto anything they can.
Keep it simple
My advice in one word: Simplicity. Start with a lightly decorated nursery. Mix mobility with natural curiosity and your babies will be exploring in no time, and that’s when the trouble starts. I'm sorry if I'm trashing your dreams of an elaborately decorated nursery, but you’ll thank me later.
Because my toddlers saw their cribs as their personal Mount Everest, we graduated them to toddler beds at 17 months old. Between the crib height, edges, and hard-wood floor, we didn’t take a chance of a fall with their antics. Now their room consists of just their beds, a carpet and some toys. While I don’t expect you to experience the same, it helps to keep the décor simple.
You can try floor padding. Be warned though, we tried puzzle-piece padding, but my twins took them apart and threw them around. If your babies are similar, try a one-piece mat or a plush carpet instead. Don’t give up; it’s a matter of trial and error.
Welcome to the world of baby gates, latches and so on.
The basic must-have’s for baby proofing with twins are the following:
Outlet covers: There are a variety of different types and styles available. Most importantly, they are preventative from exploring hands, poking fingers, or objects into electrical outlets.
Baby gates: I call my house a “gated community”. Gates keep babies away from unsafe areas such as stairways, kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, etc. Again, there are a wide variety of types of gates available to suit your individual needs. I like to keep extras for traveling or visiting others’. Caution: Some babies (like mine) learn to climb gates; adjust style/height as needed.
Cordless shades/blinds: Cords are hazardous and children can get injured by pulling on the cords and getting tangled in them. Keep cords tied up and out of your kids' reach. If you have outdoor porch awnings, be sure to tie up those cords too!
Furniture anchors: Dressers, bookcases, TVs, stands, any large furniture should be anchored securely to the wall, because in the world of an adventurer or climber, nothing is off limits. Caution: Don’t put TVs or heavy items on dressers which can tip and cause injury or death.
Door, cabinet, toilet and stove latches/locks: These prevent explorers from opening each. In addition, be sure to relocate medications and cleaning products out of children's reach to a high-up cabinet.
Furniture corner-bumpers: Protects little heads from furniture with sharp corners such as coffee/end tables.
Special closet/area: Encourage guests to put their bags and coats in a closet or area that's off-limits to your babies to prevent curious little ones getting medication, pens, keys, etc.
Keep the number for poison control handy.
Get on their level
Frequently check all areas your babies play in from their point-of-view. Get down to floor-level for search for any trouble-spots, i.e.: sharp furniture corners, loose materials, nails, etc. Continue to check as they grow.
- Check baby gates and tighten screws on cribs, anchors, etc. on a continuing basis due to the constant workout they’ll get.
- Clean the floor (i.e.: vacuum, sweep, mop, etc.) before allowing babies to play in an area.
- Don’t put anything hazardous (medications, sharp, or hot items, etc.) on tables, counters, etc. Your babies will be able to reach them in no time.
You don’t have to hide everything from your babies, or keep them in bubble-wrap for that matter, but, be aware, they watch everything you do. Imagine my surprise after asking my husband not to shave in front our boys to find them mirroring me by brushing their hair with a toy. Even though this was harmless, this shows that they’re observing; even when we don’t realize.
While you can’t avoid every bump and bruise, baby proofing is your first step of creating a safe and secure environment. Keeping safety in mind, it's always best to err on the side of caution. I’m sure that we can all agree, when it comes to your babies, you can never be too safe.
Lorraine Conforti is a proud mom of twin boys and pet-parent of two cats and a dog. Being both conservative and artistic, she describes herself as “a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.” She enjoys the arts, music, writing, and had performed in a Blues/Rock band with her Husband for several years. She is also passionate about health and fitness and has held certifications for nutrition and Personal Training, and has earned a BS Degree in Healthcare Management. For articles by Lorraine on Twiniversity, click here.