If your kid is climbing all over the furniture, you might delight in the growing skill set for your little monkey. But proud as you are of your youngster's climbing prowess, it's not the safest activity. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in a 2011 report, attributed over 48,000 emergency-room visits to unstable furniture, 58 percent of those listing children as the victims. Hey, you don't have to put the kibosh on climbing altogether; just find safer ways for your little mountaineer to explore his new abilities.
Sit down so you're at your child's eye-level and check out the different rooms in your house. You might be surprised at what's visible from that vantage point and what entices your child to go on a furniture expedition. A boring knickknack might look seriously interesting when only part of it is visible, prompting your child to climb up for a better look. By getting down to his level, you can see which pieces of furniture are the most tempting and then work to make them safer by anchoring them to the wall or removing pieces that can be stepped on for better height.
Put a barrier around certain pieces of furniture that your child seems to visit again and again. Dressers and bookshelves are common culprits because they're easy to climb for little hands and feet, so grab some baby gates and fence them off so they're no longer an option.
Move desirable stuff to a safer place. Your child might really be climbing because he wants to grab the book placed on top of a shelf or check out a picture on top of the piano. By moving these things out of sight or to a safer place where your little one can access them, he might lose interest in climbing as an exploration activity.
Distract your little one when he makes a beeline for the furniture. Toddlers and preschoolers often get into the climbing mood because they're bored. By grabbing his attention and leading him to a safer activity every time you see him zone in on the coffee table, you help him to find safer but just as fun activities.
Head to the park so your little one can climb to his heart's content. Climbing is a skill that he'll be eager to hone, so it's fine to foster his new abilities in a safe space. A toddler-based play structure or indoor playground is the perfect place for him to not only scale the equipment, but also learn that it's OK to climb as long as you give the thumbs up.
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