09 July 2008

Babyproof a hearth with a pool noodle

We've talked before about using a pool noodle as a babyproofing aid, but here's a specific application many folks ask about: the stone or brick hearth. From Jen:

We have a foot-tall hearth on our fireplace, with a stone slab on top. Perfect for head-bashing for little ones. They sell foam things that use strong double-sided tape to stick onto the stone (or brick) of your fireplace, but I'm afraid of how difficult that will be to clean up when we don't need it anymore. So we bought a couple of pool noodles and cut a slit halfway through the long way (cutting through from the outside to the hole that is already in the middle). Then we pushed it on the edge of the stone slab. The tension of the foam trying to revert to its "natural" shape holds it in place - no tape needed. Our baby is just learning to move around, so we also put a body pillow along the edge of the fireplace so he doesn't roll into the stone at the bottom either. I imagine a toddler could probably get the pool noodle off if they tried - but it's not too difficult to put it back in place.

Related:
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I've had similar success with foam pipe coverings. They are similar to the pool noodle; however, they come split with a double sided adhesive already in place. All you need to do is cut the right length and pop it onto the dangerous edge. The only downside is that they are only available in grey.

My method of babyproofing the hearth was just to put a large quilt over the entire thing. It covered the two feet down and two feet deep. It wasn't (of course) usable as a hearth during that time, but we're in TX. We don't really need the fireplace anyway.

It also added color to the room.

I can think of a few uses for that, like the TV base. Great tip...thanks.

The adhesive on the bumpers specifically made for the hearth is not very strong. It's more a worry that the bumper will stay on than that the adhesive goo would be hard to get off!

I'm a big fan of those removable sticky tabs- Command Adhesive- you can buy them without the hooks and they are perfect for so many things, i would think they would work for sticking a pool noodle on the concrete hearth, I sometimes double them up, one on top of another to give it a little more depth, as its not always even but they work great!, I also use the smaller hooks for keeping cords up off the floor and out of little ones reach.

has there been a hack about using pool noodles for better fitting an infant car seat? the car seat installation expert we spoke with told us to use one. Our Nissan Xterra's seats had a bit of an incline that forced the seat position out of the acceptable "zone" so we cut a pool noodle in half, taped the 2 pieces together (with painter's tape...hey, another use!) and placed under the seat so it supported the car seat and gave it a better fit.

Ah, memories. A month or so after our first was born, we're at the store buying all this stuff. And my wife does like I think all wives do - she hands me everything, says "I'm done", then while I check out, she keeps looking at stuff. As I'm handing the cashier my credit card my wife holds up just such a fireplace hearth protector and asks if we need that. "What are you, crazy?" I call back across the 30 or so feet to where she is. "That's how they learn. She crawls into it or off of it once or twice, she'll learn not to do that anymore."

I then look back at the horrified cashier, smile and say, "You're gonna make a call and have somebody take my kid away, aren't you?"

:)

Just be careful...we were using pool noodles for many things but in about 3 seconds one day my 8 month old bit off a large chunk and nearly choked on it. They're great but not so great if they go in the mouth.

Anyone have any ideas for locking or protecting the actual fireplace?

We don't have the hearth to worry about, but our little girl has discovered that the handles on the glass doors make great leverage points to start climbing!

I tried the cabinet locks, but they actually opened the glass doors when you lock them.

Steven,

Are they the accordion style doors that bend forward as you open them? Perhaps you could secure a piece of wood in front of the doors, preventing the accordion motion and therefore any opening?

Steven,

We use black pipe cleaners (the arts & crafts kind) to wire our glass fp doors together. Just twist a piece around the little rollers that fit in track at the top of the doors (ours are slightly exposed)

We had a circular hearth surrounding our woodstove, which we used a LOT. When he began to crawl, it didn't take us long to buy a playden-- google it if you're not familiar. The panels are adjustable, so you can use it as intended (as a playpen) or expand the circle out to surround a hazard. Best $100 we ever spent.

We live in an apartment with sliding shower doors on the tub. Husband took down the doors and used the pool noodle to place inside the tracks for the doors. I can bathe baby in the big boy tub and he can't escape out of my reach behind the doors and I can now rest my elbows on the noodle instead of having the tracks dig into my flesh.

Works like a charm.

Pipe insulation from any hardware store is much cheaper, comes in various sizes, sticky tape included or not, and is in more muted colors than pool noodles. I love that stuff for baby proofing! (Though my toddler just tears it off anyway)

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