My daughter’s five and yet I still have to take an extra second to push the tab down at the top of certain cabinet doors and kitchen drawers when I want to get to something.
It’s not that it needs to be there to protect her anymore. In fact, she can open them just as quickly as I can. She’s cautious, careful, and usually doesn’t try to get into things she shouldn’t (not the ones she knows could hurt her, at least).
I also still have ugly foam padding stuck all around my fireplace and the outlets are covered. We finally took the gate off of her bedroom door, which had become more of a tool for keeping the dog out of the room than for keeping her in it. The gate just started to feel silly, and the dog has learned now that the bedroom’s off-limits.
I keep thinking I’ll at least get rid of the foam, but even at five, she still seems to have her clumsy moments in the worst possible areas, so I haven’t taken it off yet. I’m not too worried about popping the outlet covers back in if I’ve used them for something, so those are gradually disappearing.
Honestly, all the baby proofing could probably be undone, but there are two things I keep thinking about:
Will we have another child? I’m still on the fence about it, and it might be easier to just leave the baby proofing for another couple of years until we’re sure, than it would be to remove it all and then replace it.
We’d have to buy the foam again for sure because it’ll be destroyed when we remove it, and by the time we’d have to baby proof again, all the other items for cabinets and drawers would’ve gone missing. I’ve noticed it with the outlet covers. They get taken out, they go away, then they turn up again in weird spots.
The other thing is, how likely would it be for my daughter to do something silly and hurt herself if we did take it off? It’s not really that likely, but it’s still in the back of my head.
When you should remove all the baby proofing really depends on the child (or children) in the house. Some could probably have lived their whole toddler lives without getting into the things they shouldn’t have even without the extra precautions and you can get rid of the foam, etc, pretty early.
Some are just accident-prone.
Others will want to explore, no matter how many times they’ve been stopped, and it should stay on a little longer, perhaps with one room de-baby proofed at a time to see how they do with the freedom.
Before you remove it, though, think about whether you’re planning to have another child, how long you think you’ll wait to have one, and weigh that against whether it’s worth it to remove and then re-apply all those baby proofing items.
Photo credit: Kelly Sue