06 March 2009

Turn babyproofing into a treasure hunt with a 'hazard tin'

Babyproof with a Hazard TinGreg of Womb to Bloom published this fantastic babyproofing tip on his blog, but it's so good I offer you an abridged version:

Our daughter has reached the age where she's starting to roll around to get from Point A to Point B. She's not crawling yet but you can tell she's getting prepped for it. Right now, she's content to just flip and flop her way to the nearest toy or electrical cord, but we know this won't last long.

Because we don't intend to give her the run of the house once she's up and moving, we decided to designate a little play area for her in the family room.

As we scanned her soon-to-be play area in CSI fashion we found a number of potentially hazardous items. Lego pieces, an eraser, a bead. All swallowable and all dangerous. We had a little chat with our sons and while our 13-year old grasped the severity of the situation, we could tell that the message just wasn't winding its way to the 7-year old's brain.

This is when the epiphany hit me. I'll create a Hazard Tin!

Our Hazard Tin was actually going to be a shoebox but we had visions of the thing toppling over and dumping a big pile of impossible-to-ignore temptations right within her reach. We opted instead for an empty Similac formula canister with its nice seal-tight lid.

The concept behind the Hazard Tin is simple and the 7-year old has really taken to it.

1. Wrap a box or tin with regular paper and just write "HAZARD BOX" or "HAZARD TIN."

2. Place it high enough so that the baby can't reach it.

3. Explain to your children that they should have a little Hazard Treasure Hunt every time they enter the room and especially after they are done playing in there so that the area is 100% baby safe.

4. Smother the detective with compliments after every find and you should soon see them feverishly scouring the area throughout the day for any lurking dangers.

Be sure to let the Hazard Tin contents build over time and you'll be amazed at what accumulates. The photo above is what was harvested within 10 days of starting the Hazard Tin policy. Even more beneficial than the artifacts found is the fact that our 7-year old has grown to be the top policeman in the play area precinct.

Related: Babyproof a hearth with a pool noodle

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My first job as a teen was summer babysitting for two little girls (5 and 6 years old, I think). When my baby cousin came for a visit, I had the girls test toys with a toilet paper tube before giving them to the baby to play with. If the toy fits through the tube, then it is too small for the baby.

Great idea! You could also cut a hole in lid approximately the size of a TP tube and if it fits through, it goes in because it's not safe for baby.

Please remember that the old Simulac containers (the new ones are plastic) can have a sharp inner metal edge from where the tin was opened.

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