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Grandparents and Inquisitive Three Year Old

By Jodie Lynn


Our three-year-old grandson will be staying with us for a couple of weeks while my daughter and her husband go on a cruise. He is quite active and somehow manages to get doors, drawers and cabinets open. Our concern is him swallowing something that may be poisonous. We have plastic locks and latches but he still gets into things. What do other grandparents or parents put into place to prevent a potentially dangerous and scary scenario with a very inquisitive child?


My grandchildren are two and three and they want to touch and feel everything in my house when they come to visit. Since I'm by myself, I decided to tell my son that before he brings the kids over to call me at least three days ahead of time. This gives me plenty of time to place certain things in boxes and put them on a shelf in the garage. It's a lot of work, but it's definitely worth it to know that the kids will be safe as well as preserving my personal things I do not want them to touch. - Patti G. in Austin, TX


There are some great child-proof, highly sturdy gates on the market today that you could use to simply block off certain areas of your home from your grandson. The best-made ones can be a little pricy, but you could always ask your daughter to help you with the cost. You could also look for them at yard sales or thrift stores. There are also actual locks that have a coated material on them that can be put on doors and drawers. The coating prevents scratches on just about any surface. They come with a key that you would need to put up in a cabinet or somewhere else that your grandson couldn't reach. There are a wide variety of colors, if you wanted to color coordinate them with various rooms. However, be sure that the handle on the doors or drawers are compatible with the lock. If not, you may have to replace the hardware to accommodate it. Regardless, you should always place anything that is poisonous in the garage or if it's something you use frequently, place in an area in the laundry room where only an adult can reach. One of the things you might want to consider is giving him a lower shelf or space where his curiosity seems to be highest. For example, if he seems to be more interested in what's behind the doors or whatever in the kitchen, put some things inside one just for him. Teach him that this specific space is for him to take out and put away certain toys. Just to be safe, you might also want to take turns with someone in monitoring him at all times.

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To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email direct2contact, or go to which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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