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Creative Baby Proofing for Kids on the Spectrum

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Now that Connor is nearing the ripe old age of six, I can finally look back and laugh (okay, I can at least chuckle) at some of the extreme measures we went too for his safety, and our sanity.

Securing the Fireplace

 We had a fireplace in the living room of our old house.  Connor was a year old, and had just hit his peak for mobility.  Although the base of the fireplace was well padded, the opening was, well, open.  Connor became obsessed about that fireplace, and made a beeline for it a hundred times a day (no joke, I stopped counting at 53 one day).

Now according to the plethora of baby books on my shelf, babies and toddlers can “be easily distracted by moving them away from an object, and giving them toys to occupy their attention.”  After trying this about 30 times one morning, I showed the book to Connor, explaining that he wasn’t following standard operating procedure.  He just toddled back to the fireplace like a drunken monkey.

Much research ensues.  Will I spend over $100 for a fireplace baby gate??  No, no I will not blow a hundie on a gate.  Much brainstorming ensues.  *lightbulb*

A few minutes later, and I’ve duct taped a large, flat piece of cardboard to completely cover the opening of the fireplace.  It’s not like we could ever use it anyway, with Mr. Determined around.  And just like magic, it was like the fireplace didn’t exist anymore.  He completely lost interest.  AND, I did it for the bargain price of $4.99, adding to my peace of mind and lovely home décor.

Mini blinds

 Mini blinds became a source of extreme fascination immediately after the great fireplace war of 2006.  Again, a gazillion times a day I was moving him away from the blinds.  The cords were secured up high, but he would grab at the actual blind and try to mangle it.  We were left with the only choice of having to always have the blinds pulled up if Connor was in the room.

Or were we?

Have you ever seen those annoying dancing hamsters?  They used to have them at Wal-mart, and the hamster would shake back and forth and sing some awful tune like “Kung Fu Fighting.”  Connor did not appreciate the beauty of the dancing hamster.  See where I’m going with this??

I started buying up those awful toys like they were bottled water after an 8.0 earthquake.  One hamster adorned every window sill in the living room which, again, only added to the charming décor.  The hamster’s didn’t induce fear, they just seemed to repel him.  I guess I can see why.

The oven

 Another source of mystery and intrigue in our house was the oven.  Again, many, many redirections, and many, many explanations of serious danger.

The answer to this problem came from the Target dollar bins (yet another reason why Target is the best store ever).  I found a set of 6 tiny, orange traffic cones, and promptly bought two sets.  OHMYF’INGGOD, how much better can you get when it comes to a visual cue???? 

Every night before I started cooking, I carefully set out the traffic cones, marking a perimeter around the oven.  It worked like a charm and kept the boy away from the oven/stove when I was cooking.

Sooner or later, all the above items lost their mojo, but by the time that happened, Connor was no longer very interested in any of those things.

Now we have a new challenge…keeping the boy OUT of our bedroom.  Maybe a combined effort of duct tape and cardboard, dancing rodents, AND traffic cones will do the trick.


About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

5 responses »

  1. Loved this. We had the typical child proofing, but nothing too extreme. Not even as extreme as I had anticipated. You know, all new parents rush out and buy the plug covers, and the cupboard latches, etc. We foudn that duct taping them to the chair worked best. What? Did I just type that? Delete, delete! HA HA

    The dancing rodents, er, um, I mean hamsters is truly ingenius! I dont remember seeing them in the house when we visited, unlike the cardboard fireplace cover. 🙂

    Now, if you resort to cardboard, orange cones AND dancing hamsters at your bedroom door – then you HAVE to take a picture. Of course, I also see potential for injury when you get up in the middle of the night in a hurry and forget the armed services protecting your door. That would be a comedy movie scenario. Yep, better rethink that one. By the way, Savana used to come to our room A LOT. It was very bad for a while. So I think that is pretty darn normal for some kids. She got to the point that she would lay on the floor next to our bed during the night and we would find her there in the morning. (Emily, maybe only a handful of times.) Savana finally outgrew it, um, last month or so. Just kidding! Good luck!

    • We hid the hamsters when people came over. We thought the cardboard fireplace cover was enough of a red flag for people to possibly call social services. As for our room, we let him know that he is to stay in his room until morning. Now we find him in the living room. *sigh* He kindly suggested that we sleep in his room, and he could sleep in our bed. WHAT THE f#$%???? I don’t think so.

  2. It’s called a door-lock. Fortunately we’ve been able to get away with, “If the door is closed you need to wait until we come out.” But in your case…a lock. 🙂 Sounds like you’ve been really creative and to be honest…redirecting very seldom works even on a good day! Don’t feel bad!

  3. What an unusual solution for your blinds! My kids are always playing with the blinds, too, I should try it.


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