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Need to babyproof? Here's how.

If you're like me, the idea of babyproofing your home may seem a bit daunting. Other than the obvious (for us, the five separate, rather steep staircases in our Lincoln Park home), I didn't know what might be unsafe and I certainly didn't know anything about the various product options. It seemed like a lot of research followed by complicated installation work, both of which I certainly wanted done right-- my baby's life could depend upon it! But fast forward seven months from my daughter's birth. She had started crawling and we had done zero babyproofing. I knew I couldn't put it off any longer. The good news is it was actually easy-- and didn't break the bank. Here's what I did, and what I recommend to all my new mama clients and friends.

1. Have an experienced babyproofing professional come to your home for an eval. I called Bob Baulac at Safe Surroundings, whose name I had received from a friend, and whom I could not recommend more highly. Bob was very helpful answering my initial questions when we spoke on the phone, and he offered to come to my home to evaluate our needs, free of charge. The day of the consultation, Bob walked through my home with me, evaluating everything I never could have thought of-- he looked at our bookshelves, dressers, cabinets, electrical outlets, tall and sharp-cornered furniture. He considered our fireplaces' on/off switches, provided information on oven locks, toilet seat cover locks and a variety of gates for doorways and staircases. Bob had products to recommend for ensuring the safety of all of these. I could even select colors to coordinate with our decor.

2. Review costs and make your selections. Bob provided a written price list describing each product and its cost of installation, if we so desired assistance. I was very impressed by Bob's professionalism as I worked through deciding which areas to babyproof, and which I thought we could skip. I never once felt pressured, despite the emotionally charged nature of the choices I was making (my baby's safety!). I felt that Bob was genuinely interested in collaborating with me and completely respected my level of comfort, supporting my choices to skip certain items (for example, the temperature monitor for the bathtub water faucet I thought we could live without).

3. Complete the installation! About a week after our consultation, Bob returned with all the products we wanted. We decided to hire him to install everything, and he finished doing so in one afternoon! Unless you are super handy, it is pretty tricky to install the various clips, locks, and gate apparatus. Bob is an expert at doing it efficiently and with minimum impact on your home (PS, he is also a pro at assembling cribs, nursery furniture and baby gear). My husband and I usually prefer to minimize costs by completing assembly ourselves, but Bob's prices were cost-effective enough for us to go for it, and our home looks great due to his skillful craftsmanship.

Et, voila! Stress-free babyproofing every step of the way. We've enjoyed the peace of mind ever since, and had Bob return to babyproof our second child's room. With all the decisions a new baby brings, this one was a shoe in.

Mamas in the Chicagoland area, here's how to reach Bob:

Bob Baulac

Safe Surroundings Child Proofing LLC

Phone: 630-495-6044

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