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Frequently asked questions

The following is a list of the most frequently asked questions to our professional childproofer. If you can't find an answer, please contact us.

Check back often for more questions and answers from our professional childproofer.

Q: We need a gate we can use at the top of our stairs on our outside deck. What will work?

A: There are several gates available for use in outdoor stairway locations, depending on the size that you need. Please keep in mind you MUST use a hardware mounted (screwed in) gate at the top of all stairways. For a stairway opening 27" to 42 1/2" (add extension to fit spaces up to 64") check out the Cardinal Gates Stairway Special. The Kidco Angle Mount Safeway will fit spaces 28" to 42 1/2" and you can add extensions to fit spaces up to 63". Be sure to treat the gate with a rust inhibiting product to prevent rust, and bring it inside during cold winter months.

Q: I need a gate for the top of the stairs but one side is wall and the other is a metal handrail (wrought iron). I cannot use a pressure gate because of the stair use and I cannot use a hardware mount system because of the metal railing side.

A: A wrought iron railing is a common concern. For mounting a gate to this type of railing, you will need a gate installation kit. Using the appropriate kit for your situation, you will create a 'frame' around the wrought iron railing. Hardware mounted gates can then be mounted into this 'frame.'

Q: We have wood sliding closet doors in our daughters room. How can we prevent her from opening them?

A: Bedroom closets, and other doors can be secured with door locks to keep them from opening, and to help prevent pinched fingers. For sliding closet doors, try the Kidco Sliding Closet Door Lock. If your closet doors are bi-folding doors, try the Bi-Fold Door Lock. Have doors with long handles (levers) instead of knobs? Secure them with the Kidco Lever Door Lock.

Q: What’s a safe maximum distance between banister rails?

A: As a general rule, banisters that have vertical or horizontal openings wider than 4" can pose a safety risk for children. This includes banisters inside and outside of the house. Banister guards - clear plastic shields, can be attached to banisters to close off the gaps and help prevent accidents from falls through the railings and from becoming stuck in the railings. Banister guards also help prevent children from climbing up balusters.

Q: This all seems so overwhelming. Is there a professional service that we can hire who can consult and then actually childproof our home? How much would a service like that typically cost? Do you make referrals?

A: Totsafe offers Home Babyproofing Services to most of SE Michigan. Check out our Services page for more information regarding this service, including our service area, contact information, and what our services include! If you do not live in our service area, check your local phone book under "Child Safety" or ask local Mom's Groups to help you locate babyproofing services available in your area. In many states there is no licensing or certification necessary for these services.  Please ask around to make sure you are working with a reputable company.

Q: Should we use something on the stairs to help keep our 3 year old from slipping?

A: Absolutely. Using a non-slip stairway runner can help your little one climb up and down the stairs without slipping. Stairway runners can be purchased at most hardware stores. Please be sure to continue to supervise your little climber closely when she's climbing the stairs, even with a non-slip runner. This is still only practice and she should not be allowed to climb without supervision for quite some time.

Q: How can we baby proof our kitchen without installing all of those cabinet & drawer latches?

A: When possible, we recommend blocking off the kitchen with a baby safety gate, especially while you are cooking. Installing (and consistently using) a baby safety gate in the doorway or entryway of your kitchen minimizes the need for cabinet & drawer latches (and refrigerator & oven latches, stove knob covers, etc). Be sure to read the manufacturers instructions to ensure proper installation and use of the gate, and discontinue use of the gate when the gate is at or below your child's shoulder level. Be sure, though, to check out all the different types of cabinet latches available. There are so many different types, you are very likely to find one that will work for you, your home, and your child. And trust me, it becomes second nature to use them very quickly!

Q: How is your lazy susan latch installed? Is it screwed in or is it an adhesive?

A: The Lazy Susan Latch is screwed in with two screws on the side of the cabinet frame. The latch "clamps" around the lazy susan door, keeping it from opening in both directions. The lazy susan doors must be a part of the lazy susan, not the type that first open, and the lazy susan is behind. This latch does not work on cabinet frames with beveled edges.

Q: I need to buy several of the sliding safety plate outlet covers, but I want to be sure I'm getting the right ones.

A: First, you need to know what type of outlets you have in your home. Standard outlets (1 screw) with 2 prongs, Standard outlets (1 screw) with 3 prongs, or Decorator outlets (2 screws) with 3 prongs. Each item is designated which type of outlet it is for, and the product pictures illustrate it further. Sliding safety plates are under the category "Electrical Safety. Most outlet safety products are designed for standard outlet styles.

Q: We have a gas fireplace and the light switch for it is rather low. Our 2 1/2 year old can easily reach it. Is there any sort of light switch protector that you know of?

A: Totsafe does not currently carry any product designed specifically for this purpose, however, at many hardware stores you can find this type of protector. Check with a hardware store for a light switch lock or light switch guard.

Q: I am looking for something to keep my daughter away from the treadmill. Any suggestions?

A: The Kidco Auto-Close Configure Gate works well for childproofing the space around a treadmill and other exercise equipment. Unlike standard baby safety gates that only mount in a straight line, the Configure Gate can be customized to fit almost any shape and size that you need. It's good for around treadmills, to surround stairways, blocking off entryways, even around Christmas trees.

Q: I'm worried that my daughter will get burned on the wall heater in her bedroom and on other ones throughout the house. What can I do to help keep her away from it?

A: Wall heaters are a common concern for parents. Many models can become hot to the touch, and they may have sharp edges that children can become hurt on. We often recommend parents try to 'barricade' wall heaters from children by placing furniture in front of the heater - if you decide to do this, be sure to keep the furniture away from the heater enough so that it doesn't pose a fire hazard!!!!  A second option is to block off the heater with a gate, like the Kidco Configure Gate. Be sure to mount the gate far enough from the heater that baby can not reach in and touch the heater.

Q: What does childproofing consist of, and when should I do it?

A: It is never to early to start childproofing your home, we recommend that it be done when your child is around 3-6 months of age, before he/she can crawl. Don’t wait for your child to start opening cabinets or trying to climb the stairs before you childproof your home. Do it as soon as you can, and as thoroughly as possible to help prevent the number one cause of injury to children (unintentional injuries). There are several items that you may need in order to properly childproof your home.   Check out our Home Childproofing Checklist for a detailed list.  

Remember, buying products isn't the only thing that childproofing consists of. It also means moving things, putting things out of reach, locking things away, using safe, healthy practices, and supervising children. Talk to other parents, find out what they did to safeguard their children, ask your child's pediatrician for childproofing tips that are appropriate for your child's age, do everything you can do to become more educated on what it takes to keep your child safe at home!


Do you have a question?

  • Read through this page.  Its likely you'll find the answer here
  • Browse our home childproofing checklist and guide to baby safety gates
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