Babyproofing W/ a 5 Year Old Sibling

Updated on July 27, 2011
A.K. asks from Minneapolis, MN
11 answers

Hello Moms
Now that my baby is almost mobile, I guess it's time to Babyproof. I look around our house and it is overwhelming because of my (almost) 5-year old's toys everywhere. We do pretty good about having designated play areas for her, but the little stuff is everywhere. She doesn't have barbies but does have polly pockets and their clothes are always laying around, and her art desk in the kitchen has marker tops and other small items on it. My plan was to make her keep all of her toys with small parts in her room only. But I really like her playing in the living room when we are getting dinner ready and stuff, I don't want her banished to her room to play. Now I am thinking I should get some kind of babyproof toy containers for small toys and teach her to keep them away for baby and just make sure we pick up random small toys more often. Any tips on babyproofing with a 4 year old that is fair for everyone?

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answers from Dallas on

Remember the gated area on Rugrats? I would put big girl and her stuff in one of those and babyproof everything else. That is her safe zone and anything in there is ok, but if it gets out of there, it's moms to put up for a designated period of time. She may like having her own special designated Princess play area. Something to call her own with all the new baby stuff creeping in everywhere else.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I've had some friends who used play yards or playpens for the older child to play in, instead of the baby, so the baby could crawl around but not get into the older child's "stuff". The older child was usually old enough to either work the gate on the play yard or was big enough to climb out of the playpen. This idea works if you have the room for something big - wasn't very practical for apartments.

Ditto the totes with lids. That's probably what kept my youngest from eating all of my daughter's polly pocket stuff, lol.

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answers from Detroit on

Lidded totes work great. Also maybe restrict which toys she can bring out of her room until she gets used to how grabby babies are.

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answers from Houston on

The only thing that works for us is to have the toys with small pieces in the older kids' rooms. They have lots of their toys in the common area of the house that both they and baby can play with, but to tell you the truth, they usually rather play with their toys in their own rooms because the baby just terrorizes them. My daughter (5) is very vigilant about anything going into the baby's mouth. She's noticed small objects in there before i did a couple times. Sometimes they play on the stair landing just beyond the baby gate so they can still be near everyone but beyond baby's reach.

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answers from Honolulu on

You ALSO, need to teach your Eldest child, about baby safety.
I did that, when I had my 2nd child and my eldest was 3-4 years old.
I EXPLAINED to my Eldest daughter, what a baby is, how they are, how they can get hurt or choke, what is dangerous for her baby brother, etc.
She understood. And understood well. Even if she was only 3-4 years old.
So in addition to making the home baby proofed/safe, you also explain to your Eldest child, why.
And still always supervise.... the baby.

I baby proofed my home, per the youngest child.
And then we and my eldest, just adapted to that.
Being aware of safety and choking hazards. Until my youngest, my son, was old enough.

I never banished my Eldest child, just because her brother was a baby.
But you still have to baby-proof.
OR... get a Super-Yard play yard, for baby to be in.
And sequester the baby. When you are busy cooking etc. or in the bathroom.

Don't make the Eldest child feel 'punished' just because the sibling is a baby.
The ENTIRE family, has to practice baby safety and around the home.
Not only the Eldest child.
You cordon off the baby.... via a play-yard or play-pen.

To this day, even if my youngest is now 4 years old, my Daughter... will tell me things like "Mommy, I found this small plastic thing, brother can choke..." and she puts it away up high.

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answers from St. Louis on

Although it is not a bad idea to teach your five year old to clean up after herself it is also a good idea to teach the baby not to eat things that aren't meant to be eaten.

I never baby proofed anything. Not everyone does not everyone has babies. By teaching them in my home what is right and wrong I could take my kids everywhere without going spaztic with don't touch, no no no.

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answers from Rochester on

I have a 6 year old with lots of little toys, and a 15 month old who likes to put everything in her mouth, so I totally understand.

We have all the toys in containers...and thankfully, my 6 year old decided she was done with her polly pockets (they're the legos) and we sold them at a garage sale. But anyhow, any toy with small pieces or sets with small pieces each have their own bin, container, etc, and she is VERY good at putting them away because she knows the risk.

And to be realistic, you are going to HAVE to "banish" her to her room to play with small things when baby is mobile...or some other area. Personally, we use the kitchen because it's blocked off from the baby, so she sits on the carpeted area and plays and enjoys it. Or, I occasionally let her take her toys into my room. That's another bonus of toys in bins/boxes/etc, is that they're easy to put away and carry around.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

My girls were almost 6 yrs apart and my oldest was into the whole Polly Pocket thing too! I would have her play w/them up at the dining room table where the baby couldn't get to them. There was no way I could be everywhere all of the time so the quicker I realized that, the better. But the more of a help she was with certain things, the better things went for all of us. Maybe you could designate certain times to be for just for the big girls (u & her could use the markers or fingerpaint while the baby napped). Or you could do different crafts while the baby was in her high chair playing with some toys. The important thing is to keep it fun for her, not make her think she's being banned from ever having fun again because of the baby, my oldest ended up really enjoying the fun things we did because of her having a little sister. Now that they're 7 & 13 she won't admit it, but she did, she really did!!!!

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answers from New York on

My kids are 3 years apart. So far the baby is 2.5 and has survived long enough to get past the everything in the mouth stage. I did my best to keep the toys with small pieces in containers out of the baby's reach, mostly stored in the bedroom. I also tried to only have one thing with small parts out at a time. But there are a heck of a lot of tiny Lego pieces around and we were far from perfect on picking up. Even now I still have to do a major clean up every so often to get everything back in the right places. My older still colors and does crafts at the kitchen table (I have an arts and crafts cabinet in the kitchen so everything really messy gets put in there).

I had a few places that I could put the baby (like a play pen or jumparoo) in case I wasn't right there to supervise. I like the idea of having a play area for the older child. My mom did this with a corner of the kitchen when I was 4 and my sister was a baby.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My son was 4 when his brother was born, and we put up a gate (that he could operate himself) on his room. The legos and tinker toys and other small toys had to stay in his room. Other toys (cars, trucks, etc) could come out whenever he wanted, but the small stuff was strictly for his bedroom. Yes, it means that sometimes he's playing alone in his room, but that's actually fostered a lovely independence in him, and for the most part he plays out in the rest of the house with his brother. (He's now seven, and his brother is three, and the Legos and tinker toys have re-migrated into the rest of the house, although we still keep the gate up, just to maintain some private, safe space for the oldest.)



answers from Philadelphia on

You could set up a table that your older daughter could play on top of--like literally let her sit on top of the table, so she can have a safe zone to play with tiny things, instead of on the floor.

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