When my wife and I first discussed the matter of baby-proofing our home, I didn’t run down to the local baby superstore for gates and latches. Instead, the first thing I did was Google “professional child-proofing Atlanta.”
I’m not handy, and I don’t pretend otherwise. It actually runs in my family – once, when I asked my father if he had a toolbox, he nodded and pulled out his wallet. Given my inexperience and my wife’s reluctance to let me ”test” baby-proofing solutions on our custom cabinets, we decided to call in a professional.
One thing we looked for in a baby-proofing company was a la carte services. You can often hire companies to do an in-home safety evaluation and then pick and choose among the areas you want them to address. The safety evaluation for the company we hired cost around $85 and in my opinion was money very well spent – even if you’re planning to do the baby-proofing yourself.
For the in-home evaluation, a safety expert with the company spent two hours inspecting our house and identified a number of household hazards. Some of these hazards we were already aware of (unlatched kitchen and bathroom cabinets, stairs, and exposed power outlets), and other things we hadn’t thought of (an untethered credenza that was a crushing hazard and the absence of carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of the house).
At the end of the evaluation, we got a list of about 20 things that could be hazards for our son Bennett, either now or when he starts walking. From there, we chose what we wanted the company to assist us with and what we felt we could handle ourselves.
Overall is was a great experience and had a lot of pros:
- Number one was peace of mind. For first-time parents, knowing that we didn’t have to worry about whether the gates and latches were installed correctly was priceless.
- Access to better quality child-proofing hardware. We’ve used the same gates for two years with no issues.
- Minimal damage to cabinetry and molding. The safety expert recommended the best way to fasten gates to walls and the best child-proof latches for our cabinet type, which wound up saving us a number of problems down the road.
The only con in my opinion is the expense. Higher-grade equipment costs a bit more than what you’ll find at big box stores (but not as much as you might think), and there’s an installation cost. In the end, the decision to go the DIY or professional route for child-proofing is a matter of personal preference, but hiring professionals was well worth it for my family.
What was your experience like when you child-proofed your home? What did and didn’t work for you?
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