I wanted to write about my experience with child safety home products. We all look at our house differently once we have a baby. We see things that now appear as a hazard and realize that we have to do something about it in order to protect our little ones. But there are numerous products out there to choose from and some of them are not inexpensive. So it would be nice to know in advance which products really work before we spend lots of money on products that just do not cut it.
Unfortunately for me, I went out and purchased a ton of the products only to find out that some of them just did not work. So I have a wealth of baby safety product experience that hopefully will save you lots of money. I wish I knew what I know now, before I spent hundreds of dollars trying to make my house safe!
So my story starts with going to Babies R Us (love that store) and loading up on Safety 1st products. My daughter was into everything so I really loaded up on a ton of stuff. I had toilet seat locks, oven locks, cupboard locks, and three different type of plug locks. I was ready. I had it all! My daughter was not getting into anything, or was she?
So I started with the standard cupboard locks (Safety 1st item 11658) that you have to push the little bar down as you open the cupboard. Well, I like this product, but it is not perfect. The cupboards still open a bit so they can get their little hands into the cupboard and pull some things out. You still have to make sure that anything they can reach will not harm them. You cannot feel one hundred percent secure that your little one cannot get anything in the cupboards. They still can and they probably will sneak some stuff out. So all your cleaners, plastic bags and other such items will have to be kept out of their reach. Basically, the cupboard locks slow them down and act as a deterrent.
Lets talk about the eletrical plugs. I bought the standard plug blockers, the more advanced ones that you have to squeeze both sides to get the plug blocker out and the ultimate one that is a big box basically to protect a cord when it is plugged in. So here is my opinion on all of them….
The standard plug blockers (Safety 1st item 11721) that just plug in are good. They are not completely childproof though. They can be pried out with a toy if your child is really set on getting them out. The next step up is the plug blocker that you have to squeeze both sides (Safety 1st item 48307) to get them out of the plug. These are better than the last ones I talked about. You really have to squeeze the two sides to get these out.
Lets talk about this advanced cord protector (Safety 1st item 48308)for when cords are plugged in and you do not want your child to unplug the cord. This protector is a box where you change the existing faceplate and a cover clips on over top. It hides the plug and the cord comes out a cord hole on the bottom. You have to squeeze the two buttons on the side to get the cover off. This outlet cover is not child proof or at least it is not for my daughter. My daughter can somehow walk up to it and with a yank she gets the cover off. You can hear that she has gotten the cover off though. I am actually really surprised that she can get the cover off. I am not sure how she does it because the adults in our house have problems getting the covers off. I think it is adult proof, not child proof! The other thing to note is that the place where your cords comes out sometimes pinches and cuts into the cords so be careful closing the cover. This product is expensive and I am not sure I would purchase it again. I was a little disappointed she could open the cover.
Seriously though, the plugs need to be blocked. I would recommend buying plug blocking and protecting products, but not as a method of complete protection. The products appear to be deterrents that simply slow your child down. Nothing is complete protection!
With respect to toilet locks… I got the one that suction cups to the toilet (Safety 1st item 48003). I did not want a bunch of adhesive all over the toilets. Plain and simple, I found the suction cup toilet lock is horrible. Do not buy it! With one pull my daughter had the entire locking system, including the suction cups, off the toilet. Then the toilet lock arm became the newest toy to play with in the toilet water. I have not tried the adhesive locks, but I doubt they are much better. I have no doubt they could just be pulled off as well. I do not even want to waste my money in trying the adhesive locks.
With respect to the oven lock, I did not even use it. I did not want to put the adhesive product on the oven because I figured if my daughter could open the outlet box and rip off the toilet seat cover, then the oven lock would be off in no time also.
I also purchased the cord protectors for blinds. The one that I purchased was a circular container that the cords go inside. The container is too wimpy and kept falling apart. My daughter could grab it and pop it open thereby getting to the cords. It was safer and easier for me to just loop the cords up over top of the blinds where my daughter could not reach them. I used to have this amazing cord protector and I wish I could remember the brand but I just can’t for the life of me. I have been hunting high and low for them again and I think I got them at Home Depot but I cannot remember. They seriously were amazing and if I find them again I will update everyone. If anyone sees a cord protector that is in the shape of a tear drop with a button on the right side, that is the one I am searching for!
So my story now goes to the fact that I was really unhappy with the quality of most of the Safety 1st products I had bought. I thought that they would be better than they were. I had already thrown out the packaging, but I had the receipt. I could not return the products I did not like without the packaging. So I hunted high and low for a contact for Safety 1st. I wanted to let Safety 1st now about my experience with their products. So I went to the Safety 1st website. If you go to their website, there is no contact us page. But if you are persistent, like I am, then you can contact them through the Dorel Juvenile Group link at the bottom left of their website. There was no email though. Only a phone number and fax. So I faxed them a letter.
Just so everyone knows, I am not shy to let a company know what I think of their products. I have contacted companies to let them know I love their products. I have also contacted companies to let them know when I think they need to improve their products. So needless to say, I have experience with contacting companies’ customer service sections.
Well, eventually I received an email reply to my fax. It did not take Safety 1st too long to contact me, but it was long enough that I almost forgot that I faxed them a letter. They wanted to know product numbers and if I had a receipt. Well, I no longer had the packaging and I even threw out the products that I had been so unhappy with, so I did not have product numbers. I did have the receipt though. So I scanned the receipt and sent it to them.
After a number of emails back and forth, I was told to pick out another item I would like to replace the ones I had purchased and was unhappy with. So I picked out more of the electrical plug blockers with the sides you have to squeeze and a bed siderail. I was told that they had to get this replacement approved and they would get back to me. Eventually I was notified that the replacement was approved and that they would ship these items I chose to me. I did in fact receive these items as a replacement.
Overall, I would have to rate the Safety 1st customer service as average at its best. They were hard to find. They did not have email contact. They were friendly though. But it was a lot of exchange in emails until they received “approval” from a manager and got back to me. So it seemed like a lot of work to simply let them know that I was not a hundred percent happy with their products.
Overall, we all are going to go out and buy child safety products. So what products would I buy if I was doing it all over again? I would buy the basic or double side squeezing plug blockers. Plug blockers are a must! When it comes to electrical outlets we do not have a split second to stop our child from putting something in them. So plugs absolutely have to be blocked.
If your child is unplugging certain plugs and this is an ongoing problem, then I would try one of the advanced cord protector boxes. They are expensive so buy one and try it first. I do not guarantee you will like it. It might pinch the cord and cut it. Your child might also be able to open it. But if this is an ongoing problem and you just need to slow them down so you have time to make it across the room, it will work.
I would buy the cupboard locks. They do slow your child down and also prevent them from getting larger items such as the glass bowls out of the cupboards.
I would not buy the suction cup toilet seat lock. It seems to me that kids can get it off in one tug like my daugher did. If you need a toilet lock, I’d say you might have to try the adhesive one to see if it is stronger.
Basically what it boils down to is that safety items are a deterrent. They only slow kids down. Due diligence is still required in order to protect your children. Just because a plug is blocked or a cupboard has a lock, it does not mean it is completely safe. There is no better protection than the keen eye of a parent.