How To Baby Proof Coffee Tables And Bookshelves

How To Baby Proof Coffee Tables And Bookshelves

Your home might appear safe to you the adult because you know where to go, what is what, and the dangerous areas where you need to tread carefully.  You will hardly do anything that poses danger to yourself because you know better.

You can hardly hit your head, wander into the kitchen and set it on fire or break your head as you try to climb on your coffee table or bookshelves.

Why would you be climbing on your coffee table or bookshelves in the first place? See, you got the sense and know it is not right.

However, your child is a different matter. As much as he is cute, he lacks experience and the knowledge of good and evil and therefore has to be vigilantly watched. However, the baby doesn’t need much time to wreak havoc, a few seconds of lapsed attention on the baby are all he needs to do major destruction around your the home you have worked so hard to make.

Since we can’t keep our eyes glued on them all the time, you can take measures and baby proof various danger zones around the house for your own peace of mind in case your curious explorer manages to escape your watchful eye and wander off.

You could, for example, baby proof coffee tables and take more measures in baby proofing bookshelves, stairs, doorways and so on.

Baby Proofing Your Coffee Table

The coffee table is one of those items in the house that can be a danger to your child especially at that age when they are crawling and learning to walk.

That stage is the most headstrong moment in the parenting journey. Therefore don’t be afraid to baby-proof your beautiful coffee table just because you will ruin its lovely look. Just think about the sharp edges causing injury on your baby and you won’t mind adding a baby-proofing layer to your coffee table’s sharp corners and edges.

You don’t have to spend too much when it comes to baby-proofing your coffee table. If you don’t mind the spending you can always buy a baby-proofing kit from baby stores.

However, if you do mind the cash and love going the DIY way in most of your home improvement projects, then consider getting a few simple things that will help you make your coffee table safe. With your coffee table baby proofed, you won’t have to worry when  your child plays around it or tries to reach for the stuff on it.

  1. What You Will Need

You will need the following supplies to baby proof your coffee table and just a few minutes of your time to complete your project.

  • A plumbing foam pipe insulation and consider getting the self-sealing type but if you don’t whatever you get will still do.
  • Scissors for cutting the insulation foam.
  • A duct tape in case your foam pipe insulation isn’t the self-sealing type.
  1. How To Do It

It is done in a few simple steps:

  • Step 1: Take a hard look at your foam insulation pipe. Just make sure you bought one that is enough to fit around the edges of your coffee table, including the sharp corners. You could cut the protective corners first and then cut the added pieces to stick on the area between the corners covering the length of your coffee table.
  • Step 2: Cut the V shape out of the middle of each corner, a single V-shape on either side of the pipe. Just make sure you are careful by ensuring that you leave space between the V-shapes to wrap around the corner. Cutting your pipe in half is a mistake hence the V-shape option.
  • Step 3: This is where you apply the corners by fitting the cut pieces over your corners. Slowly and carefully peel the yellow backing if you are using the self-sealing insulation foam pipe. Then let the sticky part come into contact with your table to hold it in place.

Just make sure you hold the foam carefully in place as you work then firmly press to your surface to secure it.  If your insulation foam is not the sticky type, you can always use a duct tape to hold it in place on your table.

  • Step 4: Inspect your handiwork and ensure that it is satisfactory in that the baby will not hurt himself in case he bumps his head on your coffee table. If you are satisfied, you can call your spouse or friends for a second opinion and if they love, it then you have successfully baby-proofed your coffee table!

You can do all this yourself, seeing that it is a simple procedure or if you don’t have the handyman hand you can always get a baby proofing expert to do it as they baby-proof other parts of the house.

Baby Proofing Bookshelves

Babies who are already crawling love going towards areas where things are neatly arranged so they could cause some disarray. Book-loving parents will experience this problem because the bookshelves are usually a common target for the little ones.

Most bookshelves in homes are usually within reach for the babies and a majority of the babies just love pulling the books off the shelves and throwing them on the floor.

Who knows maybe they find the sight of neatly arranged books too irresistible for them and then something inside them snaps and they go for them, grabbing and ripping them off the shelves.

Most of them get so determined that they make sure they have removed every volume within reach from the shelf and when their energy has been fully spent making sure the shelf area within their reach is empty of books, they will then sit down to begin ripping the pages off your precious volumes.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t take a lot of time for your baby to cause all that damage, a few minutes or seconds of going to the bathroom and leaving the baby is all they need to do all the damage. This is why baby proofing your bookshelves should be your best option. And there are four ways that you can do this.

  1. Using Bicycle Inner Tubes To Babyproof Bookshelves

when your is a very simple procedure all you need to do is find old bicycle tires, they could be from your garage or you could go to a yard sale. After finding them extract the inner tubes and then tie them around each shelf to hold the books in place.

You could also go to the store and buy new bicycle tubes if you happen not to find old ones.

Your baby cannot access the books but you can.  He will never manage to get any book out and by the time they can with the tubes in place, they will already be old enough to know that books should be treated with respect and the content within enjoyed not destroyed.

You will however, notice that your baby might love to pull on the bicycle inner tubes that they might even ignore the books in favor of snapping the giant rubber bands.

  1. Baby Proof Bookshelves With Fabric Panels

This is another great way of shielding your bookshelf from your little explorer. All you need to do is use some fabric to cover the bookshelves and then hold the fabrics in place using tension rods both at the bottom and at the top.  All you will need to do is draw the fabric apart to access your books and draw it back after you are done.

The best thing about this is that your baby will not see the books and the urge to destroy the books will not be there. He might not even know that there are bookshelves with neatly arranged books behind the fabric unless he carefully watches you as you take and return your books. In this case, you can do this when the baby is not watching!

Also if you are keen on preserving the great decor in your home, choose a fabric covering for your bookshelves with patterns that will perfectly blend with the rest of the decor.

On the other hand, the worst thing about this idea is that if you love showcasing your bookshelves and creating this tasteful and welcoming display of books to highlight the interior decor of your home then you might find the idea of covering the lovely display with fabric unappealing.  However, don’t worry because the next option could be just for you.

  1. Setting The Bookshelves Higher

You can cut off the baby’s access to your bookshelves as a way of baby proofing them. You can set them higher and get rid of the lower bookshelves that are within reach of your toddler.  This way your baby will automatically focus their attention on the playpen for example since they can’t reach the books.

In the end, both your beloved books and beloved little one will playpen.

As we said earlier that by the time he is old enough to reach the height of the bookshelves he will no doubt be past the age of ripping off the pages and into the age of respect for the books.

  1. Fencing The Bookshelves Area

This could also be an option if you love your precious volumes so much. The same way you fence the fireplace and the stair area is the same way you can fence your bookshelves. Since most bookshelves are wide, it might be a challenge finding a ready-made fencing for it.

Some bookshelves may take the length of your living room wall from corner to corner and in such cases, the best solution is custom- making your fence. Again by the time the baby can open the fence or climb over, he will be old enough to understand about not causing damage.

Baby Proofing The Rest Of Your Living Room

Your baby-proofing efforts as a parent should not stop with the coffee table and the bookshelves.  The rest of your living room too should also be safe for your baby.

If you love spending time in the living room watching TV or working with one eye on the baby, then you will need the room to be as safe as possible for your toddler.  More things that you could do are as follows:

  1. Redecorate Your Home

By redecorating you can not only update your current interior design, but you can also incorporate more baby proofing into the mix. Your room can get this fresh new look that is not only appealing to the eye but also safer for your baby.

As you buy every decorating piece, from rug to furniture, remember that you are not buying for yourself, but for your baby.  There are still some fun and lovely decorating pieces that are safe for your baby which you should give first priority to.

  1. Create A Softer Living Room

Falling is a great part of your baby growing up and where he falls is always your choice.  You can soften up your whole living room with a nice soft rug that will not only cushion your baby’s falls but it will also act as a great play mat for him.

Choose a darker color that will help hide the baby messes like food hand prints, urine stains and so on.  Don’t forget to use a rug pad to prevent your rug from sliding around the room.

With coffee tables being the most dangerous to babies, ensure that the coffee table that you have just baby proofed stands on sturdy legs. If it isn’t  sturdy enough, consider getting a coffee table that is already baby-proofed complete with cushioned edges, corners, and a cleaning-friendly exterior.

  1. All Your Furniture Should Be Sturdy

As you examine your new furniture, just make sure that it is sturdy enough by giving it a shake and carefully looking for any sign that it could fall over. Heavy furniture falling on your child is definitely not a pretty sight.

Keep in mind that most babies love to push and pull as they explore household objects and often they use them to support themselves when walking or reaching out for something. Your bookcase, for example, could be used as a ladder to reach for something that has attracted his eye above.

Do not assume that your child is light and that your bookshelf will support his weight. There is a high likelihood that the bookshelf might collapse on top of your little one if they try climbing on it. Therefore simply prevent them from climbing on the bookshelf by removing any fascinating objects on the bookshelf or above it.

However, there are those toddlers that just love climbing on anything that is taller than them. In such a case, the best thing to do is consider installing furniture anchors which have two anchor points and a strap. The first anchor point will be attached to your bookshelf while the second one will be attached to the wall while a tensioned strap joins the two.

The furniture anchor can save the life of your child or prevent serious injury from happening. They will also help support your bookshelf when a lot of weight is applied to it. Their use is not only limited to bookshelf but they can also be used on any other furniture that is likely to fall on your child such as cabinets, drawers and so on.

  1. Survey Your Room When Down On Your Knees

This is not some weird practice but a way of being extra careful. You will be surprised by how much you will get to see when you are looking at your room from your little one’s point of view. Your baby will not recognize the danger when they look but you will and rectify it.

The viewpoint of your child is, of course, different from yours because you are tall and high up. What may seem safe from high up there might not be when you are down that the baby’s level.  Therefore, take time and get down on all fours and look at everything from your little one’s perspective.

Look for the following:

  • Any hard or pointed corners and edges on your furniture that could harm your baby during a fall.
  • Any sticking out pieces that could catch on your baby’s clothes.
  • Any footholds that your little one can use as a ladder to reach unsafe places.
  • Any openings that your baby can pass through and head to unsafe zones in the house.
  1. Get Easy To Clean House Items

With your little one in the house, you will no doubt find sticky patches of food from little hand prints on couches, carpets, tables and so on.  Therefore as you look for furniture and other items, look those easy to wipe down materials like leather and vinyl.

As much as you want to get that nice looking furniture for your home, if it isn’t helping your baby proofing efforts then you shouldn’t consider it. Keep in mind that functional furniture should always take precedence over fashion.

  1. Tidy up the Trinkets

Your home might have this minimalist interior design with little or no decorative trinkets. If your home is one of those with many decorations that are cluttering up everywhere, you might want to take a more laid-back approach when it comes to the excessive decorations since you now have a moving baby in the house.

Keep in mind that decorations are only for the purpose of highlighting the features of a room. Since they are meant to draw the eye, don’t be surprised when they draw the eye of your curious toddler too. When your little one starts scaling furniture in order to reach that lovely figurine on the bookcase, know that it has gotten to a dangerous point.

Decorations are not for playing with and they can hurt your child. Consider a small decorative trinket as a potential choking hazard and imagine your child breaking that vase of flowers and falling on it. The best thing you can do is get rid of all decorations within reach of your child and safely store them until your baby is older.

  1. Your Coffee Table should No Longer be Your Coffee Table

The days of resting your hot drinks, food, or remote controls on your coffee table are long gone with the coming of your curious and exploring baby. Since the coffee table is within easy reach of a young child and they can easily climb on it, refrain from resting hot scalding drinks on them or your remote because the baby’s saliva is enough to render your remote useless, and you definitely don’t want your baby’s skin scalded.

Anything that you don’t want your baby to play with, simply don’t put it on your coffee table.

  1. Make It Easy For Your Baby To Run Around

Whether you like it or not at some point your baby will discover the joy of running on his own two little feet and he will never stop.  The least you could do is make it easy for him to run around by investing in a rug and its non-slip pad.

The soft rug will break heavy falls from running and the rug pad will ensure that he doesn’t slip when running on it. The rug pad will give your carpet a better grip on the floor compared to when you place it on the bare wooden or smooth-tiled floor.

Ensure that you select the closest sized rug to the dimensions of your rug or you will risk losing the baby-proofing effect.

Why Should You Baby Proof  Your Coffee Tables And Bookshelves?

Some people might think that this baby proofing business is baloney, just a waste of money and the making of a beautiful coffee table look ugly. They claim they cannot baby proof and that they will keep an eye on their toddlers to ensure that they don’t hurt themselves or spoil stuff around the house.

What they fail to understand is that the home contains many potential hazards and identifying and setting measures like baby proofing to prevent them from happening in the first place is making the home safe for the child.

Most babies just require seconds to get into trouble and it is always up to you the parent to ensure that the home is fun, stimulating and extra safe for playing and growing up in.

There are various benefits of baby proofing bookshelves and coffee tables and they are as follows:

  1. Your Baby Stays Safe

A safe home for your baby is your responsibility. Baby-proofing offers safety which will prevent serious injuries, a trauma of both the baby and the parents. Your home should be safe and fun so that your baby is happy playing and develops his cognitive abilities.

Besides, you will save a lot when it comes to medical bills to treat injuries, replacements, and repairs. Above all remember that a baby who feels safe is more confident and likely to be successful as an adult.

  1. More Peace Of Mind

Baby proofing any part of the house gives you some peace of mind. Therefore when you babyproof the most obvious places like the coffee table and bookshelves you will have even more peace of mind since the baby will often go to these objects because they are the most visible.

With the great effort that comes with raising a baby, anything that eases your mind from worry is welcome. As you babyproof more places within your home, you will not have to rush through chores so that you can be done before the baby wakes up because now you can do your chores with one eye on the baby as they have fun in a safe environment.

  1. Offers safety For The Whole Family

Baby proofing your coffee table, bookshelves and other parts of the home does keep your home safe for your little one and the rest of the family too.  Can you imagine for one reason or another,  you happen to fall on your unprotected coffee table, or the entire wall of bookshelves fell on you?

Your injuries will, of course, be more serious if the objects involved weren’t baby proofed.  Baby proofing will also protect the older children in the home if any not to mention your guests when they come visiting with their children.

It is evident that the causes of child and youth injury often depend on their exposure to hazards (Canadian Pediatric Society ). Most of the hazards result to hospitalization and they can be avoided by the simple act of baby proofing crucial objects in the home like the coffee table and the bookshelves.

The Decision Not To Baby Proof, Why It Is Not A Good One

Many parents who really don’t understand the hazards that lack of baby proofing can pose tend to frown upon those babyproofing checklists online and in parenting magazines. They consider them purely propaganda used so that it can send them and other “unsuspecting parents” into panic mode and a spending spree on products they don’t like.

They don’t want to compromise their cool coffee table and lovely looking book collection on the shelves, but it is ironic that they are willing to compromise the safety of their children.

When that accident finally happens (God forbid) and they are rushing to the emergency room with their injured baby, they will then look back and think how all that could have been avoided by the simple layering of that coffee table or anchoring of that bookshelf.

The decision of not baby proofing is the most unwise decision a parent with a toddler can make.  Even if it means storing away your most prized possessions in order to keep your little one safe,  so be it because a child is definitely not replaceable like that coffee table.

Constant Supervision Is Best For Child Safety

Your little one will be safe from injury from the coffee table and bookshelves, but being the little explorers that they are, babies will always go looking for trouble. It could be the pool in the backyard, the stairs, the detergent in the bathroom, the electrical sockets, the oven, the fridge and so on.

A watchful eye always is the best child safety tip because there are more potential hazards inside your home and most of them from unexpected places. Always be on the lookout for any objects posing danger to your child and eliminate them or discourage your child from going near them.

Teach Your Child Early To Avoid Dangers

Your toddler might not talk yet but you can try and communicate your displeasure when you notice that they are trying to get to places that will cause them harm. Babies are very sensitive and once you continuously express your displeasure they will learn to understand that they are not allowed to do or go to certain areas of the house.

You can voice your displeasure by telling them, frowning, or taking them away from the dangerous place they are heading to every time they begin moving towards it. With time they will learn that you only need them to play within their play pen and run fast only when you are both out on the playground.

It is never too early to begin teaching your child responsibility. Start by leading by example and keeping your home well organized and baby proofed. Parents are models for their children because they often tend to emulate their parent’s behavior.

Therefore if you want your baby not to be reckless but cautious and responsible be the best role model for them. It all starts with parents who baby proof coffee tables, stairs,  electrical areas and for the book-loving parents, baby proofing bookshelves to protect their  baby and precious books which will come in handy when establishing a reading culture in their child.