What is a Baby MacGyver?!
A Baby MacGyver is a tiny human that will use anything in his environment to get into trouble.
You may think you have baby-proofed to the moon – but you are wrong.
Every time you turn around, your tiny human has found an exact way to do the one thing you specifically baby-proofed them against doing.
They find a way to scale the Christmas tree, the TV stand, and the kitchen counters.
They surpass your wildest dreams in what they are capable of given their age and are determined to get what they want at any cost.
When it comes to the Baby MacGyver, baby gates and outlet covers aren’t going to cut it.
‘Normal’ babies and toddlers get into things.
They poop when it’s the most inconvenient time.
They throw themselves down in a fit of rage on the hard Target floor because you stopped pushing the cart for a full four seconds.
But the difference between a ‘normal’ baby and a MacGyver baby is their willingness to go the extra mile to make their wildest dreams (and your worst nightmares) possible.
With that said, some extra preparation needs to be taken when it comes to ‘baby proofing’…
As the mother of a Baby MacGyver, I’ve compiled some tips to help you survive the toddler years, and keep everyone in your home safe!
*This post contains affiliate links, however, all opinions are my own, as always.
Diaper Bag Prep
My Baby MacGyver will not want to have anything to do with toys – he will want to mess with everything I don’t want him to touch once we reach our destination.
Keep a few toys in rotation, and switch them out every 3-4 days to avoid boredom and increase your chances of him being semi-entertained while you are out.
When this doesn’t work, you might end like our family – running around in circles.
Getting your daily cardio in, and preventing boredom with healthy exploration ;).
Keep Your Windows Locked
Toddlers are natural escape artists.
This hasn’t happened yet where our little guy has physically opened the window – but I’ve seen him attempting it.
And that’s plenty enough for me!
So keep those windows locked – especially if yours slide to the side vs. lift up.
It’s easier for a toddler to open a sliding window!
Another point to make when it comes to windows would be to pull your toddler’s crib (if they’re still in one) away from the window!
Deadbolt the Doors
Okay, now I probably sound like a crazy person.
But Jax can open a doorknob now – even with being in a smaller percentile for height for his age!
I know what you’re thinking – just get some child-proof doorknob thingys!
Unfortunately, we don’t have round knobs.
So, we’ve started to deadbolt the doors just to keep him safe.
If you have a professional escape artist like we do, you’ll want to take the extra step to deadbolt him in.
Only Place Dishwasher Tabs When In Use
Ever heard of the Tide pod Challenge? *rolls eyes*.
I can’t remember where I saw the commercial or PSA – but I saw something a while ago about how children think dishwasher/laundry pods are actually candy.
Jax has not tried to eat them, but he can absolutely open the little compartment they are placed into, and popping them into his mouth would be the next step!
Please try not to place these handy little pods into your appliance until you are ready to run a load.
Secure The Oven
Obviously, this is pretty dangerous!
Grab yourself an oven lock, and remove any knobs within reach.
Secure Battery Compartments
A Baby MacGyver can slide the lid off to the battery compartment of your remote control or device.
Secure it with some clear plastic shipping tape for good measure.
This way you can easily change the batteries when it’s time, but prevent your little one from taking out the batteries and chewing on them!
Minimize Plugged In Devices/Cords
The very first time I saw Jax with my phone charger plug in his mouth, I freaked OUT.
I was in full-on panic mode when I realized three seconds later that the cord wasn’t attached to the wall plug.
Thank God for USB phone chargers, right?!
After our phone chargers were moved to the kitchen counters, the TV stand seemed to be Jax’s next easy target.
Our soundbar, receiver, and even the heavy glass shelf that seemed impossible for a tiny human to lift and throw down was attacked.
We removed all wires, extra devices (we went with a tiny ROKU if you’re wondering!) and took down the glass shelf.
It’s the perfect height for little hands to grab and pull on.
So clear off your TV stands, bookshelves, and store electrical cords out of reach (as much as possible).
Only charge your phone in a safe place.
Behind the couch is a prime hiding spot for kids, so hiding your charger there isn’t the best idea for the mom of a Baby MacGyver.
Cabinet Locks and THEN SOME
Cabinet locks are no match for the Baby MacGyver!
If he wants something in our cabinets, a lock isn’t going to stop him.
We’ve resorted to, once the cabinets are closed with the locks engaged, wrapping a thick rubber band or hair tie around the knobs.
Luckily for us, right now, Jax’s fine motor skills aren’t quite up to the challenge of undoing a hair tie!
*PRO TIP – Figure 8 the hair tie.
You can even wrap the hair tie around an extra loop on one of the knobs on one side for a little extra oomph.
No matter how tiny your toddler may seem, always put items in the center of the counter, or as far as possible from reach.
Special considerations need to be taken for anything sharp, and anything you wouldn’t want your child to put directly (and immediately) into their mouth.
Think knives, cheese graters, can openers, fish tanks, paper towel holders, dish soap, glass dishes, kitchen canisters, house plants, your nightly glass of wine, and your keys/wallet.
I’m just saying…
My keys have ended up in the play kitchen oven, my husband’s wallet has been de-carded and thrown behind the couch (and Lord knows how often that gets cleaned), and I have only one out of my set of four canisters in my kitchen.
And it’s currently chipped on the side.
I’m looking into getting more – but I think I’ll wait another year or two…
Store Cleaners Up High
Even with considerations to switching to more natural cleaners – I can’t name one I’d want to end up in my toddler’s mouth or eyes.
And trust me, he’s totally sprayed himself in the eyes with our furniture duster spray, poor baby!
Store your unsafe chemicals and cleaners wherever you can get to that your toddler CAN’T.
I have a friend that stores her cleaning products above her fridge – we store our products in a very top cabinet that I need to actually climb onto the counter to reach.
So physically, Jax would need to be at least 4 feet tall to even attempt to reach it.
NOTE: We tried to store the chemicals under our sink in sealable food containers.
That idea is GREAT for a normal toddler – but our Baby MacGyver figured that out really quick! So this method might work for you, but better safe than sorry.
Put away stools and chairs
Baby chairs and step stools are great for climbing explorers to get into things you don’t want them getting into!
We do have these in our home, but they’re only brought out of the closet when they are needed for their intended purpose. Hopefully, they will lose their luster in the next few months.
Tie Up Cords To Blinds
Strangulation hazard, anyone? Tie these puppies up, ASAP!
There are cordless blinds you can purchase, or you can carefully loop the cords up high onto a curtain rod if you are pinching pennies.
Baby Toy Purge
Ball up your fist – any toy smaller than that needs to go.
Young toddlers still explore with their mouth the way that babies do, and anything smaller than your fist is going to end up in their mouth and has the potential of choking them.
There’s probably only the smallest chance your little one could choke on a toy – but it’s happened before, and the Baby MacGyver is especially curious….
So keep these toys in the garage/basement for now until they are a little older!
Anchor Your Furniture
This problem hasn’t plagued our Baby MacGyver, but I felt it was important to mention whenever baby proofing is brought up.
Anchoring your furniture (dressers, appliances, anything that can tip over and really hurt your child) is extremely important!
We didn’t think so until it happened to us…
We asked one of our older children to pull pajamas out of his drawer, and he decided to pull every single drawer open to be funny, causing the dresser to fall forward onto him.
I can tell you that taking the risk is NOT worth it – please secure your furniture.
I’ve learned a lot raising my own little Baby MacGyver – for my readers that have your own Baby M.G., what are some tips you’ve learned along the way? Tell me in the comments below!
*Post originally published January 2018, last updated December 2021.