Hidden locks, clear bumpers and baby gates that are downright lovely elevate the baby-proofing basics.
It’s a headache known to many new parents: Suddenly, your stylish abode morphs into a menagerie of outlet covers and cabinet locks.
While the phrases “baby-proofing” and “kid-friendly” rarely conjure up images of elegance and sophistication, recent years have seen an increase in modern and stylish products available to those who want them.
Baby-proofing has gone glam, so to speak.
Parents can now cover the corners of their furniture with a variety of soft materials, or cordon off stove burners with a slick-looking adhesive guard. There are products for window-blind cords, door pinch protectors, locks for doors and toilet seats, covers for stove knobs, and more.
There’s no need, any longer, to block your stairway with a white plastic fence. A Georgia company, Qdos, sells a “crystal hardware mount gate,” a clear acrylic panel that looks like a window. Qdos also sells outlet covers that can be slid open when you want to plug something in, and an adhesive stove guard that attaches around the front and sides of the burners.
An Illinois company, Fusion Gates, makes baby barriers that resemble stained-glass windows. They come with a satin nickel, white pearl or black finish.
For table corners, the online retailer Ellas Homes makes clear, orb-shaped covers. The products are made of adhesive plastic but look like gel.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for locally, there’s always the internet, says Philadelphia mother Danielle Cormier-Smith. “I live in an older home and we have narrow stairwells that need smaller gates,” she says.
Stylish, inconspicuous baby-proofing was a priority for Rebecca Stanton, a New York City mom.
“We sprang for a wooden safety gate and playpen that looked nicer and wasn’t a giant hunk of plastic,” Stanton says. “We got magnetic, childproof cabinet locks that are invisible from the outside.”
Such baby-proofing accessories are a boon to retailers. A 2016 report by market analysts Sandler Research said many parents are hiring child safety specialists to outfit their homes.
Jeff Baril, who owns Safe Beginnings Inc., a Massachusetts baby-proofing and child safety business, warns against putting too much emphasis on chic.
“Style and sophistication have improved, but stylish is not always safest,” he says. “Parents should evaluate for safety, which should always come first.”