Parents Perspective

Drew Barrymore's Genius Childproofing Hack

Actress, author, and mom-of-two Drew Barrymore shares a quick child safety trick. (Hint: The only thing you need is probably around your wrist!)

drew barrymore headshot Robin Marchant/Getty Images
Like so many moms, Drew Barrymore can often be found with a hair elastic around her wrist. But it's more than an accessory; it's a childproofing device when she rents a house or visits a friend's place with her kids: In a pinch, "you can loop it around the knob to keep a cabinet closed. Under the sink is a cornucopia of toxins," Barrymore says.  

It might seem odd that an actress/producer, writer and winemaker (who also owns a beauty company, Flower) has time to Macgyver-childproof people's cabinets, but Barrymore is, above all, a mom—to Olive, three-and-a-half, and Frankie, two—and safety is always top of mind.

On the day we talked, the eve of Frankie's second birthday, Drew was making a #MyHigh5 list in honor of Safe Kids Day, listing her family's safety to-dos. Her list is pretty short because she's already taken most of the steps recommended for a mom of toddlers: "I store my soaps and dishwasher pods up high in a cabinet and that has given me more peace of mind," she says. "I'm not letting my kids play in the bathtub without my eyes on them. I didn't put them to sleep on their stomach when they were babies. My windows have standard 4-inch stoppers on them [to prevent falls]. We can all relax because we've got it covered."

This weekend, Barrymore is headed to L.A. to celebrate the annual event organized by Safe Kids Worldwide, the nonprofit dedicated to reducing preventable injuries in children around the world. "I was a fairly new mom when I got involved," with the organization, she says. "The words 'preventable injury' really hooked me as a parent, and I know I've been a much better parent through my involvement with Safe Kids. My children are at less risk and I'm so much more aware of things that I might not have known about. I love a foam corner, I really do." 

Even thought I serve on the board of Safe Kids Worldwide, I can't say I thrill to foam corners. My kids are tween/teens though. I'm more focused on getting them to wear helmets and practice smart pedestrian safety moves (put down that phone!). But after talking to Barrymore, I checked to make sure I had the number for poison control on my phone.  And she was right. Doing that does make you feel just a little more calm and capable as a parent.

"Everyone's babyproof, babyproof, babyproof. But when the sibling is older... There's baby proofing and there's childproofing. There needs to be a manifesto for such things," Barrymore says. Fortunately, there is, and Barrymore has clearly read it. You can read it too: Visit the Safe Kids site and you'll find lists of suggested safety moves, sorted by age, for your family. Make your own list and share it using #MyHigh5. Then get to work checking off those safety to-do's between now and Mother's Day so you can put your feet up and truly relax.

Dana Points is the Editor in Chief of Parents and a mom of two.