If you have a baby on the way, now is the time to start babyproofing your home. Even though newborns don't really get into much trouble, it doesn't take long before babies are crawling and reaching for things they shouldn't touch. Babyproofing before your baby arrives means one less thing to do later when you would rather be snuggling your new bundle of joy.
You can take steps to make your home safer yourself, but many professionals will happily do the task for you — giving you peace of mind that the job is done correctly. There are both pros and cons involved with hiring professionals, and babyproofing companies offer varying levels of service.
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What Does a Babyproofer Do?
Professional babyproofers offer much more than just anti-tipping furniture brackets and electrical outlet covers. These trained and practiced professionals will do a walk-through of your unique home and put together a safety plan just for you. They can then tell you what they recommend and install the necessary gear for you. Many also sell the necessary safety equipment and can offer one-stop shopping.
Some companies only install the gear that they provide. Others will install baby safety devices for you no matter where they were purchased. They'll often do so only after carefully inspecting the items you bought. If what you have isn't up to snuff, they'll show you why and help you get better accessories for your nursery and home.
Uninstalling is important too. If you're moving or if your kids have outgrown the need for childproofing, many professionals will come and remove any child safety equipment they previously installed (removing babyproofing equipment is often trickier than it looks).
Professionals also have answers to your questions. Education is a big part of what they do, and they can answer any and all child safety questions you may have. These experts can also offer you advice about keeping your child safe when you are traveling or otherwise away from your childproofed home. They also know things about childproofing products that the staff at your local hardware store probably doesn't know.
Pros of Babyproofing Services
One of the most important benefits of hiring a babyproofing service is that these professionals leave nothing to chance. If you're on kid number three or four and have kept everybody safe this long, your babyproofing game is likely on point. If you're a first-time parent, however, a professional can help you make sure you don't overlook anything in the nursery or elsewhere.
Quality is another benefit of working with a professional. You can, for example, pop into your local big-box retail store and pick up a baby gate. Professional babyproofers may work with different vendors, though, and often have access to the best babyproofing products. Cheap babyproofing products may leave you with a baby gate that falls out of place or cabinet latches so poorly designed that no one can get into the cabinets.
Craftsmanship is another consideration. Eventually, your baby will grow, and you won't need everything in your house to be childproof. When that time comes, you'll want to remove safety gates, cupboard latches and other safety devices without destroying your house. Professionally and correctly installed safety devices may uninstall more easily.
Finally, note that a professional service can save you time. Depending on the size of your home and the number of safety devices needed, a professional can babyproof your home in about two to four hours. If you've never installed babyproofing devices before, it could take you considerably longer to get the job done.
They'll also save you research time. Professionals are already well aware of all the potential hazards in a home and which products work to combat them the best. By getting them to do the work for you, you save time that you would otherwise spend researching what you need to babyproof and then trying to discern the best products for achieving these goals.
Cons of Babyproofing Services
The only real downside to hiring a company to babyproof for you is cost. Expertise always comes at a price, whether you're hiring a plumber, car mechanic or babyproofer. The higher-end products that professionals use can also come at a greater cost. You can DIY the job for about $100, but a professional job costs an average of about $400.
You may be able to have your cake and eat it too. If you want to keep down costs but value professional advice, ask a local babyproofing company for a consultation or evaluation. As is true of all businesses, childproofing services all serve slightly different offerings. Some offer free in-home evaluation of your space, but many charge a consultation fee for this service.
After looking around your home, a pro will recommend ways to make your home safer for your baby. You can then purchase every babyproofing product recommended or take an a la carte approach, buying only what you agree you need. You can then install the products yourself or ask the babyproofing service to install the items for you.
You can save money by paying for professional advice but then purchasing or installing some or all of the necessary safety devices yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. Electrical outlet covers, for instance, are simple to install and likely won't require the help of a professional. It is more convenient to have the pro just do it all, but you will pay for that convenience.
Choosing a Babyproofer
It's important to keep in mind that there aren't a lot of rules and regulations about who can call himself a professional childproofer. There is one certification program for babyproofers in the United States, and that is offered by the International Association for Child Safety. This voluntary certification is for experienced babyproofers who must prove their knowledge through a series of tests.
If you can, try to hire a babyproofing service that holds this certification. However, know that this task may be easier said than done. For example, there are currently only two such certified babyproofers in Pennsylvania. If you don't have an accredited company locally, you'll need to choose a professional based on other criteria.
Doing so involves the same standards as hiring any professional contractor plus a few extras. The basics still involve checking with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are complaints against the company. You should also ask trusted friends and family members for recommendations and check a company's references.
There are, however, a few extra steps you should take. The first is to make sure the service you choose will examine your home. You want solutions tailored to your home and the way you live, not generic babyproofing advice. Of course, you'll want to know any warranty information as well. Make sure the company stands behind any products you buy from it as well as its installation work.
Also make sure that you choose a babyproofer who is willing to answer your questions. Reputable babyproofers usually view themselves as educators as well as baby gate installers. A company that brushes aside your questions is likely more interested in making money than seeing your kids safe, and that's not what you want.
The very best babyproofers make sure they stay up to date on the products they sell as well as any relevant recalls or safety issues. Many also help manufacturers design and produce safe, durable babyproofing equipment. Ask any potential babyproofers if they do these things.
- Safer Babies: FAQ's
- Baby Safe Homes: Baby Proofing Tailored to YOUR Needs
- International Associaton for Child Safety: Certification
- The Home Hero: Baby Proofing
- HomeAdvisor: How Much Does It Cost To Install Childproofing Devices?
- Childproofing Experts: Why Hire a Professional Childproofer?
- Safe Nest Babyproofing: FAQ