Baby-proofing with beanbags

Guest post by mamacita
Photo by mamacita.

I’ve always been a big fan of the beanbag chair. It’s great for snuggling while watching TV, sprawling out solo with a good book, chilling with a pet, starting conversations at parties, breaking physical barriers between people, and easy to move when it’s time to vacuum. You can even take a beanbag camping with you and lounge under the stars in comfort. A good beanbag chair can make a room feel fun, casual, playful, and cozy. Turns out, beanbags also make awesome baby-proofing.

Our daughter walked pretty early at 9 months. She was mobile but super tiny, and definitely didn’t have the cognitive abilities to understand some of the boundaries we wanted to set around our entertainment equipment. We thought it prudent to avoid that fight completely and block her access. However, we found no good baby gate solution. Then I remembered the two giant beanbags we were storing for a friend, and a baby-proofing strategy was born.

It was perfect! The baby loved to climb and play on the beanbags — improving motor skills and mobility with built-in crash pads. I had somewhere comfortable to sit when I wanted to get down to her level. We spent lots of time reading books in a beanbag. Occasionally I would put her in one for a nap, knowing she was in a squishy bucket of safety. She couldn’t touch the television or the entertainment system, and if we wanted to watch a show we could easily see over the beanbags. We could move them aside for additional seating on movie nights. Older children liked the beanbags too: jumping into them became a favorite activity, thus entertaining visiting kids and also tiring them out.

For your own beanbags you may be able to find them sold in stores for reasonable prices, but it there are also lots of DIY beanbag tutorials on the Internet. This is a great project for using up scrap fabric, or a good excuse to hit the bargain fabric bin. You can also use spare or thrifted bed sheets or even thin blankets.

Have you used beanbags in your baby-related decor?

Comments on Baby-proofing with beanbags

  1. this is so cool… and what a coincidence. I am just sewing a beanbag and I have a 5 month old baby. Might try that (though I did zero child proofing with the first one and nothing ever happened). thank you for the tip.

  2. I love bean bags and we had several around the house when my kiddos were little for just the same kind of things you used them for! One HUGE suggestion I would make is to encourage people to find/make bean bag chairs with zip off covers. We had the inevitable sick kid reclining on chair vomiting accident and I’m telling you, if you can’t take that cover off pronto, you can wave a sad goodbye to that poor bean bag chair. This happened twice before we started putting in zippers and lining the inside of the bag with something waterproof.
    And don’t even get me started on hairballs from the cats. Oy.

  3. I don’t know that I can get behind this. I’ve read of several cases where children have died when they either crawled inside a beanbag or were trapped underneath one. A quick google brings up even more instances.

    • Hey Natalie! Thanks for this feedback. We trust our readers to do their own research and make their own decisions about stuff like this. Personally speaking, we had a bean bag couch the first 2 years of my son’s life and it was great (and there were zero safety issues), but totally might not work for every kid/family.

      • This seems irresponsible to post. Baby-proofing with bean bag chairs? There is a difference between doing what works for your family and being irresponsible.

    • Those may have been beanbags with vinyl covers, which would make suffocation easy. The ones pictured in this post look like cloth covers.

      Still, I agree with the commenters who said this is a form of “babyproofing” that reduces the amount of redirecting you have to do when watching the baby, NOT something that allows you to leave the baby alone safely.

  4. I can see how there might be safety concerns. Our babyproofing was very specific: we wanted to keep a walking one year-old away from the television and electronics. We never let her play in the living room alone; the beanbags meant we didn’t have to fight about her touching the tv. I would never advocate leaving a small child to play alone.

  5. Hi! I’m going to back you on this one. 🙂 While a lone baby could still get into a heap of trouble with these, I contend that babies and toddlers really shouldn’t be left alone anywhere except a secure crib while they’re (ostensibly) sleeping. With supervision, this setup seems totally legit. I may attempt this myself shortly!

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