How To Baby-Proof a Bookcase

There are literally thousands of thoughts, worries and questions that come to mind when you learn that you are going to have a baby. What do we need in the nursery? How do I start a college fund? What do I do when he or she is crying and I don't know why? To be certain there are many anxieties like these, but most prominent in the new parent's mind are issues of safety.

There is one indelible truth when it comes to babies and toddlers: even an empty room is not safe. Terrified? Don't be. The fact is that when we realize nothing is safe, it means we don't miss even the smallest detail. There are hazards in the home that people immediately recognize. Electric outlets, small toys, heating elements and more. However, there are some items in the home that are taken for granted. One such item is a bookcase or book shelf. We tend to look at it as a stationary item. It's large, so there is no danger of choking. The danger lies not in the object, but what the baby will do when interacting with it.

By their very nature a bookcase is too heavy. The taller the bookcase, the more so. As stable as it may appear, it is in reality fairly easy to tip over. It is not hard to imagine a baby starting to explore and move, attempting to climb chairs, beds and even the bookcase.

The good news is that securing a bookcase and making it baby-proof is relatively easy and affordable. The only tools required are a drill and stud locator. Relatively inexpensive materials include lag screws and brackets. It is also a good idea to ensure that the stud locator includes an added feature to detect electrical lines. Your safety during install is just as important as baby's. Most home improvement stores have the screws and brackets in a single package. If you are unsure what to look for, the salesperson will be able to direct you to the proper materials.

Once you have your materials and tools you simply locate the wall studs nearest to the book case. Follow bracket instructions when attaching to the bookcase and then drill the lag screw through the bracket and into the wall stud. It is a good idea to secure the bookcase in two or three places, depending on its size.

Finally, pay attention to the organization of the bookcase. Ensure that heavy items are placed on lower shelves and that items on upper shelves are well balanced and secure. If able, adjust the lowest shelf to exceed the baby's reach to prohibit climbing. Following these tips will ensure a baby-proof bookcase.


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