If your house is anything like mine, then your living room will be the one in which your family spends most of its home time. I am a sucker for chilling in front of the TV with one eye on the television and one eye on the kids.
It goes without saying that any room your child spends a lot of time in, is going to be the one that you need to make the safest. Let’s jump in and look at how you baby proof your living room by either redecorating completely or modifying your existing layout.
If you were looking to update the design of your living room, now is the perfect time to do it. Even if you didn’t want to redecorate the whole room but rather replace a rug or a coffee table, you can still incorporate baby proofing into the mix.
Giving your living room a fresh new look while making it safer for your child? That’s a winner in my book.
Hold it right there! Before you run out the door to a spending spree at your local furniture store, You must remember that the furniture is for your baby, not you.
Before you let out that big sigh, remember, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick a fun and fresh new look for the living room. it simply means you will need to take the following four points into consideration.
1. Make the living room softer
Your baby will fall. Often. While the falls are unavoidable, where your little one falls is up to you.
Look for areas of your living room that you can soften up. A nice soft rug not only cushions falls against hard floors but also doubles as a play mat for your little one. A darker color will help hide sticky baby had prints while the use of a rug pad will prevent your rug from sliding around the room.
It’s no secret that coffee tables are dangerous to young children on wobbly legs. You will see warnings relating to coffee tables in just about every baby-proofing guide you read.
Since you are looking to redecorate anyway I’m going to let you in on a little secret. An ottoman is the perfect baby proof coffee table any parent could ask for. Cushioned edges and corners coupled with an easy to clean exterior. Some ottomans even have room for storage inside.
DHP Emily Rectangular Storage Ottoman
- Colors: Many options
- Modern Design
- Easy to clean
2. Use furniture anchors for sturdiness
When examining your potential new furnishing, give it a shake. Look for any indications that it may be prone to falling over.
Your young one is going to be forever pulling and pushing on objects. When the inevitable happens you do not want your new purchase to fall on top of your child.
3. Get down on your knees
Your perspective is completely different from that of a young child. What may seem like a safe piece of furniture to you may be a death trap to your little one.
Get down on all fours and examine the furniture from your child’s perspective. Look for the following:
- Hard pointed corners and edges which could harm your child during a fall.
- Pieces that stick out which could catch on your child’s clothes.
- Footholds that could allow the furniture to be used as a ladder to reach unsafe heights.
Crawl around the entire piece of furniture if you have to. You are going to look a little weird and the store workers may very well think you are crazy. Get used to it, being a parent isn’t as glamorous as Brad and Angelina make it seem.
4. How easily can you wipe it down?
If you have a young child, you will know the joy of finding sticky furniture. It’s inevitable. As a parent, you will quickly learn to stop being surprised at finding sticky patches.
Sticky patches are not a problem as long as you are mindful when buying new furniture. Materials such as linen or suede can cause you nothing but grief when it comes to cleaning. Be on the lookout for easy to wipe down materials such as vinyl or leather.
When shopping for your new baby proof living room furniture remember; functional furniture trumps fashion. If it looks nice but isn’t helping you baby proof your living area, move on.
Baby proofing your existing living room
Fortunately, redecorating is not the only option available to you when looking to make your living room baby safe. From this point on the guide will focus on how to baby proof your living room in its current state.
Check your furniture for sharp corners
It is highly likely that your little child will spend a lot of time waddling around your living room. The only problem is that most living rooms are littered with furniture that could easily harm your child.
Side tables, coffee tables, and even some couches all have pointed corners. On their own, these sharp corners are not really an issue. Add a baby who is learning to walk and constantly tumbling over to the mix and things start to get a little dangerous.
If your baby falls and knocks his head against the corner of your coffee table, there is a risk of cuts, bruises or worse. So how can you set about baby proofing furniture corners?
The easiest way to prevent fall injuries from solid furnishings is to soften up those pointy corners and edges with padding. The baby proof furniture padding below not only protects corners but can be used on the edges as well.
- Colors: three options (coffee, onyx, oyster)
- Easy to install
- Flame resistant
While baby proof padding will give the nicest looking end result, there are other ways you can soften up furniture using material that is just laying around the home.
You can simply cut up an old towel, ball the pieces up and tape them to the corners of your table for a quick and easy corner softener.
Alternatively, if you have a few tennis balls laying around, cut a slit in each tennis ball and wedge them onto each corner. They should simply stay in place. Add tape if needed.
Tidy those trinkets
While many families enjoy a spacious minimalistic interior design, others have decorations cluttering up every corner of the house. You may want to reconsider your thoughts about decorations and trinkets while you have a young child in the house.
- Decorations were designed to draw attention. Decorations draw your eye to them and help highlight the features of a room. Unfortunately, they can also draw a curious toddler. You don’t want your toddler scaling furniture just to reach that vase of flowers on the table.
- Decorations are not designed to be played with. Decorations can contain small pieces which may be a choking hazard to your child.
- Decorations can hurt your child. Many interior decorations are made out of hardwoods and metal. If your child was to fall on a decoration the resulting injury could be serious.
Your best bet is to remove all living room decorations that are within easy reach and store them away until your child is older.
Your coffee table is no longer a coffee table
If you use your coffee table to rest hot drinks of tea or rest your remote controls on then I have bad news for you. Those days are over.
Anything that is on your coffee table is within easy reach of a young child. Hot beverages can be spilled and scald your child. And remote controls? Let’s just say from personal experience a young baby’s saliva can quickly stop your remote from functioning. It’s not fun having to walk to your TV every time you want to change the channel.
Long story short, if you don’t want your baby to play with it, don’t put it on the coffee table.
Is your furniture sturdy?
I touched on this in the redecorating section of this article. Most babies will pull and push as they experiment with household objects or simply use them to sturdy themselves.
As your child grows you may start to find that in addition to your bookcase is used to store books, it is also being used as a ladder.
As light as your child is, a bookshelf was not designed to support this kind of weight. The last thing you want is your bookshelf collapsing on top of your little child.
You can prevent your little one from climbing by removing all objects of interest from the bookshelf. If you are still having trouble with your child using the bookshelf as a monkey gym, why not try furniture anchors?
Don’t be fooled by how simple furniture anchors are, they can save lives. Furniture anchors consist of two anchor points and a strap. The first anchor point attaches to your bookshelf while the second attaches to the wall. A tensioned strap will join the two.
The furniture anchors assist in supporting your bookshelf if uneven weight is applied. Their use is not limited to just bookshelves, they can be installed on any other furniture that has the potential of crushing your child if climbed on, such as cabinets and drawers.
- Colors: As pictured.
- Easy to install.
It is not just unstable furniture that poses a risk to your child. Look around your living room and identify objects such as free-standing vases, lamps, the TV, and indoor pot plants. A quick shake of the object will quickly help you determine how much of a risk it poses to your child.
You now have two options to chose from, you can either remove the furnishing from the room completely or look for a way to restrict your child’s access such as moving a side table in front.
Secure that rug
If you haven’t already, you should invest in a rug. If you have tiled or wooden floors a rug will not only provide a safe and comfortable play area but also protect your little one’s hands and knees from the harsh floor.
Unfortunately with a rug comes one extra thing that you will need to baby proof. Place one foot on the edge of your rug and the other on the floor. Without lifting your feet, push off the foot you have planted on the floor. If your rug moves easily, you may need to get baby proofing.
Your cheeky little child is going to be running around your living room whether you like it or not. A rug that moves easily when stepped on can cause your little one to trip and fall. That soft rug that you bought for your child could be the one thing that causes injury.
The easiest way to baby proof a rug is through the use of a non-slip rug pad. The rug pad sits underneath your rug or floor mat, hidden from sight. The rug pad gives your carpet a better surface area to grip than a smooth tiled or wooden floor. The best part is, you won’t even know it’s there unless you lift the rug up.
Just be sure to choose the closest sized rug pad to your rug’s dimensions. Anything too small and the baby proofing effect will be lost.
Non-slip rug guard
- Colors: as pictured
- Easy to install
…And the rest
Now you may have noticed that I have neglected to address how to baby proof obvious areas such as the television. The following detailed guides focus on the remaining areas of your living room that you will need to baby proof.
- Television: A prominent feature of most living rooms that requires baby proofing.
- Electrical: How to baby proof electrical outlets, power strips and extension cords around your television.
- Fireplace: If you rely on a fireplace to heat your living room then you will definitely want to baby proof it.
And that brings me to the end of yet another baby-proofing guide. I would love to hear how you keep your baby safe in the living room. Let me know below.