Baby-Proofing Bookshelves And Books
Books Improve Parent-Child Relationships And May Help For School
Study upon study indicates that there is a strong correlation between book-reading households and the academic success of the children in the home. Even future income levels are connected!
Now, whether that correlation indicates causation as well, is subject to intense debate. But regardless, all agree that reading books can only do good.
More importantly, one of the best ways of bonding with children is through reading.
But ask any parent, the more books at home, the higher the likelihood there'll soon be mounds of shredded paper strewn all over the house.
Of course, babies want all of the things that aren't meant for them, but bookshelves, and books, seem to have an added attraction.
More concerning is the potential booboos a bookshelf (or book) may inflict upon a little one.
In this piece, you'll read:
- How to protect your child from the dangers of a falling bookshelf.
- How to shield your book collection and shelf contents from the all too common effect of childish meddling.
- How to increase the shelf-life of books, especially the ones read most.
- A reminder that life is for living, so your baby cannot be expected to never ruin a book.
How To Prevent A Bookshelf From Tipping To Protect Your Baby
Your biggest concern with a bookshelf, and really any large piece of furniture, is the possibility of it tipping and falling on a child. The danger doesn't require explaining.
If your bookcase was built into the room, it probably has been anchored into the ground and wall by the craftsman that installed it. Especially if the shelf is of the floor-to-ceiling variety because there shouldn't be any wiggle room for it to fall.
Bookshelves with a deep, heavy base also aren't likely to fall. The depth and weight will serve as an anchor for the shelf to withstand the shenanigans of a toddler.
It goes without saying that the safety of a bookshelf should be confirmed by an expert. Also, additional safety precautions will usually only be for the good.
The bookshelves that most often require active danger prevention, are the smaller and lighter varieties.
These tend to be on the more affordable side. Think: Ikea. These bookshelves are also the type that are most prevalent in homes with little children, because the family is likely to be at the beginning of their getting settled.
There are many highly rated, anti-tip wall-anchors, these are some of them.
- Hangman Anti-Tip Kit - 400 Pound Falling Furniture Prevention Device - Uses a steel cable to anchor furniture to the wall.
- Quakehold! 2830 Furniture Cable Silver, 7 Inch - Uses two brackets and a cable stuck through them.
- Sanus Systems ELM701B1 Anti-Tip Strap for Flat Panel TV or Furniture - Uses powerful straps to fasten furniture to the wall.
How To Stop A Baby From Pulling Books Off The Shelf - 5 Tactics
Once your shelf is secure, you can move onto solving the more irksome problem. Your toddler is pulling books off the shelf at the speed of a PhD student with only days left to her thesis deadline.
Once the book is off the shelf that baby is no University academic, they're chaos. The baby will throw the book around, slam it on the floor and (gasp) begin ripping out pages.
There's only a short window of time where the parent can salvage enough of the book to not need to trash it completely.
How to stop babies from taking books off the shelf? We've compiled a list, with each's pros and cons:
Pack the books extremely tightly into the shelf space. In theory, most little ones don't have the strength to pry a book out of that tightness. The drawbacks of this solution is that it's probable that once in a while a baby will be able to remove a book, in which case all the other books will come out moments later. Another con is the annoyance of having to wrestle with the books when you want one!
Place the heaviest books on the lower shelves. In theory these heavy books will be too much for your child to lift off the shelf. This solution assumes you have a bunch of extremely heavy books (of the coffee table variety) in your collection. The cons: this limits the organization of your library but, more concerning, if your baby does manage to lift one such book off the shelf, the boo-boo likelihood is increased with that extra heaviness.
Leave the lower shelves empty. A baby can't dominate a book if it's not there! This one is guaranteed to work but will hamper the style of your book display and limit the amount of books you can house on your shelves.
- Conceal and/or fence the books. If you're ok with the tackiness, there are some very clever ideas for shielding your books that we found on the internet. Linked here are methods using bannister netting, bicycle innertubes and large pieces of fabric. These tricks probably require some DIY spirit.
- Distract the baby with other things. This idea requires a thorough understanding of your child and their wants. If, say, a few Poppits were strategically placed on the lower shelves, our daughter would absolutely get diverted. Though, check in a few weeks and she'll be into something else. We hope one day to make a children's book which has a cover that looks like an adult's book. Perhaps this would be helpful for a diversion as well!
Or you can be like us, and do none of these. With a combination of educational ambitions and wishful thinking, we suffer through the every-so-often book wants of our babies.
I think our cries of "Don't Play With That" are finally being understood and followed.
How To Stop Babies From Ripping Books - 3 Ideas
The question of "how to prevent toddlers from tearing books?" is mostly regarding the books that are meant for them.
No one would ask: "assuming my little one is on the verge of throwing a brick at my kitchen window, what's the best way to minimize damage?" Work on preventing access to the brick in the first place.
So, despite a parent's happiness at their child's desire to read, they may be concern that the books may not last more than a few weeks if they're not properly handled.
How to protect books from babies? We've got a few ideas.
- Only keep the most durable of books in open access. We have two children and the eldest knows to be gentle with paper-paged books. The youngest, not so much. So our current system has been to keep the board books in the playroom, with complete access to all, and the more fragile books are kept in a special area of the eldest's room which is inaccessible to the little. This has worked wonderfully in protecting the books. An added bonus is the excitement of the eldest with her growing 'personal' library.
- Be conscious of the sturdiness of a book when buying one. Obviously we wouldn't expect a parent to conduct a complete laboratory test on a books' durability in the midst of making sure their kid won't ransack a Target. But some common and unnecessary flimsiness can be avoided. For example, those "lift-the-flap" books are soon to be flapless in the average baby-home. Laminated pages are an asset.
- Taping at the edges of a page strengthens the integrity of it. Rebinding a broken book would be too much of a hands-on project for the most of us. But if a particular favorite book looks worn down and the tears begin to be a concern, some clear plastic tape can do a good job of extending that book's life. Simply fold a piece of tape over the edge of the page/s.
At Least Your Baby Wants Books...
Just like there is no silver bullet when it comes to toddler-mess prevention, so too there is no escaping the eventuality of throwing out torn up books.
Books are meant for use.
A worn out book is a good sign of education, imagination and family-time.
So when you are forced to head back to your local book shop to restock or make an addition to your collection, do it with joy.
Please share your tricks for keeping babies safe from bookshelves and keeping your books safe from babies in the comment section.