Frugal Child Proofing


When my son was born, we–like many first-time parents–baby-proofed fanatically. When he became mobile, however, it seemed as if we had done it all for nothing. He never tried to open cabinets, he never tried to climb furniture, and he never even gave electrical outlets a second glance.

Two years later, our daughter came along. And she tried to pry open every door and every drawer. She tried to pull the outlet covers out of the outlets. She climbed on everything and the word, “no,” seemed to bounce right off her ears. If we hadn’t fanatically child-proofed for her, we would have been in real trouble.

As important as baby-proofing is, baby gates, cabinet locks, door knob covers, outlet covers, toilet locks, etc., can really break the bank. Fortunately, there are a few frugal tricks you can use to help reduce your child proofing expenses. Whatever child proofing methods you choose (frugal or otherwise), always give them a test run before trusting them to keep your baby safe.

Cabinet Locks
Double cabinet doors with knobs can be secured with a heavy duty rubber band. Drawers, single cabinet doors, or double doors without knobs can be secured with self-adhesive Velcro strips or dots. Once your baby becomes a toddler, this may not be effective.

Door Knob Covers/Baby Gates
Slip a small sock over your door knobs and secure them with a rubber band. The sock will just slip and turn over the knob if your child tries to open the door. Consider using this instead of baby gates when you want to block off an entire room.

Edge and Corner Guards

Forget buying expensive bumpers and guards for the sharp edges and corners of your furniture. Foam pipe insulation can be purchased for a dollar or two and will slip right onto any edge.

Outlet Covers
Outlet covers are so inexpensive that there is really no cheaper, safe alternative. However, if you suddenly find yourself lacking an outlet cover, cover the outlet with a strip or two of electrical tape until you get more covers. Remember that this is a temporary fix and do not leave your baby unattended near an outlet covered with tape.

Toxic Chemicals
In addition to keeping your cabinets locked, consider replacing as many toxic cleaners as possible with natural alternatives. For example, baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice are very effective cleaners and are not going to be nearly as harmful to a baby or young child. On top of that, they’re frugal, too!

Non-slip Socks and Pajama Feet
Non-slip socks are great for babies learning to walk but can be expensive to buy. Instead, buy plain socks and use puffy fabric paint to add non-slip designs to the bottoms. You can also use the paint on the bottom of your baby’s pajama feet.

Have any more frugal baby-proofing tips? Tell me about them by leaving a comment of sending me an email.

9 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Alysa Stephens says:

    Using foam pipe installation is a great idea. I have one question, how did you secure it so they wouldnt pull it off? Im also wanting to use it for vertical length sharp edges and corners of furniture, so for that reason also i need a fix on securing it (preferably not leaving a sticky mess from tape or damages)…any ideas?


    • Brian says:

      At the bottom, zip tie around the leg of the table.

      At the top, make a ‘cap’ by gluing a piece onto the top of the pipe insulation. If you NEED to secure the top firmly to the corner, ask the fine professionals at a big-box hardware store, or possibly a home craft store.

  2. Jeff says:

    I’d be careful with the pipe insulation for corner protectors. I tried this until I noticed small chunks having been bitten out from teething. Thankfully nothing happened but I can imagine that if he had managed to tear off a bigger piece it could have been a choking hazard. The pipe insulation is now gone. Better to have a bumped head.

  3. […] there are other related tricks you can try. For instance, the site The Frugal Baby and the site Wise Bread, have suggested using rubber bands in a similar fashion, and I shared some […]

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  5. michaelann says:

    I’m sorry but a lot of these are silly.. I am looking for non permanent or damaging and inexpensive ways to baby proof my home. My child is 10 months not yet walking but pulling up and I don’t consider him a toddler however velcroing cabinets and electrical tape over outlets? If your child is big enough to open a cabinet they are big enough to detach velcro and if your child is big enough to stick something in an outlet they are big enough to pull tape off of it…silly…The tape is probably a bigger choking hazard verses electrical shock….

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  7. Andrew Tinsley says:

    How do you use a rubber band to secure two cabinet doors? It is a puzzle I’ve not been able to figure out tonight, but I’m sure my 18mo could.

    I’ve seen it in use, but could someone please explain?

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