Baby Proofing isn't eco-friendly. I haven't found any plug covers or cabinet latches online or a store that are made from silicone or wood. They are all, unfortunately, plastic. But alas, alas, there comes a time when baby proofing becomes essential. When HB turned 6 months, we went for his six month check-up. The nurse asks a series of questions usually is the car seat rear facing. This time it was "baby proofed the house?" My response was no because he wasn't really rolling around the house like crazy. But I knew that it had to be done eventually.
My eventually came when he started getting into stuff: paper, power chords, the surge protector, the cats' water bowl. Sure I could duck tape the whole house and try to remember not to put magazines on the coffee table, but I have cats. The magazines will get knocked off no matter what and they have to drink water. And I live in a tiny house with virtually all electronic gadgets downstairs. Baby proofing. How?
Well, I ended up installing cabinet latches on all the cabinets where he could hurt himself if he got into their contents ie. cleaning supplies, medicines, lotions, bath stuff. I also (with the help of Hubby) installed them on drawers in the kitchen for knives and batteries etc. Yes, the batteries are kept in the kitchen. Hey, don't judge. We lack space. I also put plug covers in all the unused outlets and tried to stow long cords behind things. In his room, the chords are behind book shelves and his crib. Although he still managed to pull out a chord from under his crib. I put that one underneath a box of packed up clothes.
I still worry about him hurting himself in his room. We have a glider and I worry about him pinching his fingers. We also have books still on the lower shelves. When he gets older we'll have to rearrange the books and pack some of them up.
We also bought some wooden gates made in Mexico and biodegradable (because they are wooden and not plastic). They use pressure so they can be moved around. They are for the kitchen and the stairs or his room so he won't roll out and down the stairs.
And finally my piece de resistance, "The Prison." It arrived on Friday. Okay, what is The Prison. It's HB's portable play-pen from Kettle. It's made in Romania and you can definitely tell how it is different from all Chinese-made products.
The box was cardboard. Okay, big deal. I opened the box and the stuffing was folded pieces of cardboard, not chunks of Styrofoam or packing peanuts. That's the first thing that I noticed. No styrofoam. Our crib and changing table (Chinese made) had loads of the stuff in the box. Styrofoam does not degrade and it is bad bad bad for the environment. Second thing that I noticed, no styrofoam sheets between the sides of the play pen. They used paper with some sort of waxy coating to keep the pieces from rubbing into each other. Again the Chinese products used styrofoam sheeting or plastic sheeting. The small pieces were still in a plastic bag. I suppose they could use a paper envelope or wrap them in the same paper, but I'll live with that tiny plastic bag.
The product is wooden. In fact there is no stain or paint. It's made of birch and seems to be sealed with some sort of natural wax because it feels grittier and appears to be unfinished, but it isn't. And it's not made from composite wood, at least not from what I can tell. Birch is light so it's not heavy.
There is minimal amount of plastic. There is the plastic connection tubes to connect the sides, a vinyl top for water proofing, plastic wheels, and tiny plastic springs so you can fold down the sides. That's it. The rest is wood or metal. Even the dowels, which were plastic in my desk, are metal.
It's really easy to stow. You simply push in the springs and pull the sides apart and lay them down flat. It does have three adjustable heights so if you aren't using the lowest one, you'll have to remove the top, but that's easy too. Just remove the top and the nuts, bolts, and u-shaped supports. You don't need a screwdriver or wrench.
Now the playpen is more expensive than a conventional pack n' play. I ended up agreeing to spending some of my own mad money just to have it. However, I absolutely love it. It seems much sturdier than HB's crib. Crazy really. I've seen him kick in both. The crib jiggles. The playpen doesn't move.
In case you wanted to know the reason for the play pen, well our house has more blind corners than the city of New York. I needed to have something that I knew was safe for HB while I was cooking and things like that. All the baby proofing in the world would not keep him out of everything. Our house is just too small. This was the simplest solution.