Baby Shelves

Baby with Bookshelf - from flickr user 'boost ventilator'

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We live in a world that is often hostile to babies, but we all start out as babies. But arrangements for babies can also be easy, making life simpler for them and those who interact with them.

Babies like to pull things off shelves and sort through stuff in their reach. If you have important items on low shelves, you will constantly be taking things away from the baby, and both you and the baby will be frustrated. If there are only high shelves, the baby will be frustratedly clambering for them.


Wherever a baby is likely to come through, create very low shelves that are kept free of valuable items. Instead, stack them will things that can be pulled down, are harmless and won’t break, like scraps of paper, wooden spoons, and large shells.

4 Comments to “Baby Shelves”

  1. davidweek

    My implementation of this pattern is floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, with “daddy’s books” on the bottom two. Side effect: it draws my attention to books I haven’t read for a long time.

    My friend Hugh has the same implementation. He says, “I put back hundreds of books every day… even though I only own a few dozen.”

  2. kpontikis

    Issues of safety – possibility of shelves tipping over. Living in seismic places (like Greece and California) makes one aware of this issue. Need to safely secure shelves on the wall.

  3. bobtheis

    There is the germ of a larger pattern here: Grownups consider the lowest parts of rooms hard to get to. And knowing that they get most of the knocks,scrapes and kicks, we tend to armor them against that as well. ( witness baseboards and wainscots ) All of which sterilizes this environment for small people. Of course they pull books off low shelves and go into base cabinets: those are the only parts of the room that are relating to them!
    It would be fascinating to compare the lives of toddlers living in cultures where adults still sit on the floor with toddlers who have to navigate forests of tables and chairs, windows too high to see out, and blank walls.

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