Asked on Jul 07, 2015

Open shelves and a 1 year old. Suggestions?

by Elaine
The 1973 double oven in my rental broke, a new range was put in and the old oven space was filled with open shelves.
I have a 1 year old who likes to climb!! Please help. I need suggestions for blocking off the bottom shelf to keep her from climbing and falling. Remember, this is a rental.
  28 answers
  • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Jul 07, 2015
    Is the middle shelf removable? Perhaps take that shelf out to prevent climbing, or ask the landlord if they can install doors over the openings.
  • Tammie Tammie on Jul 07, 2015
    I would fill the bottom with plastic ware that your child can use for play. As to the top, that's a tough call. Since the landlord won't put doors on, he probably won't allow you to do much, either. The only thing that comes to mind would be to somehow cover the hole, while allowing you access. Can you cover it with something lightweight and attach with the Command strips? In a perfect world, I'd say something plastic and Command Velcro strips. That would hide the opening from your toddler, but perhaps allow you to use it as storage. The Command should remove without damage to the wall. If all else fails, check with your renters' insurance to see if there would be any liability on the part of the landlord if your child is injured. You may need to notify him in writing of something like this. I don't know if that's a boat I'd want to rock.
    • Elaine Elaine on Jul 07, 2015
      Thank you for the suggestions! Very good ideas with the velcro and command strip. It's not the top shelf I'm worried about its the bottom. It high enough for her to get into and also have a good fall. I don't want to "rock the boat" with the owner, he is a lawyer, even had his own contract separate from the rental companies. So that is a battle I don't think I would win.
  • Elaine Elaine on Jul 07, 2015
    I'm thinking I might need to get a REALLY heavy decorative piece for the shelf that she can't move and wouldnt leave room for her to climb up in it
  • TENITA DEAL TENITA DEAL on Jul 07, 2015
    I would measure the space and find 4 large containers(baskets) and use this as a storage area.
  • Carla Carla on Jul 07, 2015
    I'd put baskets with toys, soft things Baskets so that when you pick up you can throw them in. Top shelf of basket with dish towels, cookbooks.
  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Jul 07, 2015
    I would get several small lightweight baskets for the bottom shelf and make that shelf for your daughter toys.I would give her her own cooking utensils,plastic dishes,mixing bowls etc.The second shelf is mommys shelf,also lightweight baskets with your own plastic utensils,napkins placemats,anything that will not hurt her if she pulls them down.It will be a good way for your daughter to learn you both have your own shelves.You may be creating a future chef! even if she doesn't become a chef,you can always stick some crayons and coloring books in a basket if she gets bored cooking.I would also try to find a small table for her to prepare her food on,and at least one or 2 chairs for tea parties!She is going to love it!to make it really safe,I would purchase something that looks like a large staple,and nail it into the back wall across the electrical cord So the microwave cannot be pulled off of the shelf. I would also buy a large piece of Velcro with a sticky side to put on the top of the microwave door,so she cannot get into it while standing on a chair especially if there is hot food in the oven.You should also buy something like it for your regular oven.also buy 2 for the lower drawer in the regular oven.That is a perfect place for a little one to climb up to the cooktop.I had 4 kids,I know.Hope this helps!
  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Jul 07, 2015
    Cabinet latch for the bottom drawer way below the microwave cabinet.You could put a shelf in the middle cabinet that goes on top of the existing shelf but making it several inches longer so it extends outside if the cabinet,and round out the secure it into place,I would use L brackets into the bottom of the shelves and the back wall.It will more difficult for her to climb up.
  • Tracy C Tracy C on Jul 08, 2015
    I'd make a false front for the bottom attached to a roll out drawer and use it for a recycling bin. The top one I'd put in another shelf to divide in half (long way) and add baskets for storage, maybe 2 wire ones for things like potatoes. I don't think the kitchen is a real good place to store toys, unless you are very short on storage. And if you don't have a dishwasher (can't see what's in the rest of the room, Fisher & Paykel make a dishdrawer that I think can fit that space (Tall series gets great reviews) - just throwing that in there because I want that real bad! lol Good luck
  • Cheryl Markus Reynolds Cheryl Markus Reynolds on Jul 08, 2015
    Baskets would look great in there and be very functional. If you're concerned about her pulling them out and climbing up, make them out of cardboard boxes and twine. She most likely won't like the texture and leave then alone. Here are a few ideas I liked. One even uses a diaper box. :-)
  • Sharlie Gooch Sharlie Gooch on Jul 08, 2015
    You could hang a shutter for the door.
  • Angi Matthews Roscoe Angi Matthews Roscoe on Jul 08, 2015
    You couild always put kitchen toys on them so they can "help" you cook.
  • Buster Evans Buster Evans on Jul 08, 2015
    definately some sort of door to block the access to the bottom shelf..something that she cant open or get a foothold in...much better than an emergency room visit.
  • Carol Carol on Jul 08, 2015
    I think TV cabinet doors from a thrift shop or architical salvage yard would work. You can stain or paint them to match the kitchen and install baby latches on the doors and the bottom drawer to keep baby out but still have access to the space. Or see if your landlord will spend the money for cabinet doors.
  • Des Des on Jul 08, 2015
    I agree with the idea about toys. Also, an idea for when she is a bit older, put her cups and plates there, so she can reach them. My toddler has her own cabinet with her stuff, and it helps her feel more independent when she can get her own things.
  • Elaine Elaine on Jul 08, 2015
    Thank you everyone for your suggestions!! I got ahold of a friend of mine who does custom cabinets. He is going to cut some doors to cover both shelves and use the old hinges. Good friend to the rescue!!
  • Kim Fourez Kim Fourez on Jul 10, 2015
    The bottom shelf should have a basket full of unbreakable pans and plates and cups for your little one to play with when he/she are in the kitchen with you.
  • Robyn Dunn Robyn Dunn on Sep 21, 2015
    I would have doors made because the temptation for her to climb will still be present no matter what is put on shelves. Home Depot or lowes or someone could make them for you. Good luck. Keeping little one safe is most important for you.
  • Margaret Margaret on Nov 29, 2015
    Baby gates
  • Bol2172936 Bol2172936 on Dec 02, 2015
    Why not put cookbooks in middle but put Rollo wrapping paper on bar to roll out for drawings and color box above it something for letters and on other side and morrow on the back wall
  • Elnora Lowery Elnora Lowery on Jun 03, 2016
    As long as the cabinet is securely fastened to the wall let your little one climb and play in the bottom shelf. Put some lite weight plastics things etc.that won't hurt the child if they fall and they like to put in and out, up and down, in the middle shelf. They're only this age for a very short time.
  • Elaine Elaine on Jun 03, 2016
    A friend who does custom cabinets added doors for a cheap price.
  • Marilyn Marilyn on Sep 26, 2016
    We are both cookbook freaks so I would use the top one for that and a Yorkie bed below. Yes, we are an eccentric 83 year old couple, so there!!
  • Donna Brown Donna Brown on Sep 26, 2016
    I had the same thing, I bought large baskets to go in the space. I spray painted the baskets red. Added a pop of color and I use to storage small items, like measuring cups and spoons, and plastic lids and bowls.
  • Sue c. Sue c. on Oct 05, 2022

    I know this is a very old posting but I could not resist. Use a tension rod and place a single or double curtain on the rod. Make that your child's little hide-away. Little ones LOVE a cubby where they can take a little blanket and hide away. You could use sheer curtains as long as you agree to pretend you can't see the baby. I would get carried away and find a way to make a pad to fit inside so maybe naps might happen in the cubby(the one where the little occupant is INVISIBLE). I know you will give up storage space, but think of the pictures you can take to send to friends and family and give them warm smiles. And babies are only that small for a short time!

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 09, 2022

    Why not just add cabinet doors to the open shelving and then install child proof locks.

  • I would put a baby gate across the kitchen doorway.

  • Mogie Mogie on Apr 03, 2023

    If you can't put a door on the shelf why not make it kid friendly? Make it a play area for kids kitchen items. And then put a curtain over it to hide their mess.

  • Janice Janice on Mar 28, 2024

    Happy to learn you found an inexpensive solution. I hope your landlord approved of the addition of doors. Sorry that landlord wasn't empathetic enough to your issue to make the change for you.