Introduction: How to Baby-Proof a Bookshelf

Picture of How to Baby-Proof a Bookshelf

In the kitchen, we have a series of low bookshelves full of cookbooks.  Our baby finds anything organized irresistible, and loves to pull the books out of the shelf.  Beyond creating unnecessary entropy as she unpacks the books, some of them are quite large, and might smash a finger.  So, I child-proofed the books in place with old bicycle innertubes.       

See how I built the bookshelves!

Step 1: The Problem - Child Grabs and Pulls Books

Picture of The Problem - Child Grabs and Pulls Books

Here's the problem in action.  She's going to try cooking something from the French Laundry!

Step 2: Innertubes Hold the Books in Place

Picture of Innertubes Hold the Books in Place

With bicycle innertubes tied around each shelf, we can still access the books, but baby cannot.  This solution has now endured two months of attacks, and she hasn't managed to get a single book out.  In fact, she likes pulling on the innertubes so much that she now usually ignores the books in favor of twanging the giant rubber bands.


JulesB1 (author)2015-07-17

Do you use nails, screws or tacks to secure the inner tubes to bookshelf?
P.S Thanks so much for this great tip.

catkinson54 (author)2015-06-29

Also, chest of drawers need to be bolted to walls. Years ago, when I was pregnant, a child in the city suffocated from a chest tipping over from him climbing. Ours were attached before my child was born, even though my husband thought I was being over protective.

jannumahesh (author)2015-06-26

this is such a wonderful idea! I had a quesion - what size of bicycle inner tube would you use for a smaller bookshelf? i have one that is about 24"x10X? i purchased one just to try it out but unfortunately the carrier misplaced my package and i just want to confirm this before I purchase again.

Would a 24 x 1.90 -2.35 /32 mm valve be enough or overkill or do i need to get something bigger?

wle1 (author)2014-12-07


looks toddler unproof though...


cute baby


babybayrs (author)2013-12-04

What is this instructables about? I can't take my eyes away from the beautiful baby.

shalomo (author)babybayrs2014-07-11


shalomo (author)2014-07-11


fmarie3 (author)2013-10-13

Thank you thank you thank you! I have been searching all day for something like this. We've secured the bookcases so they don't fall, but I couldn't find anything on protecting the books from the baby!

35Timmy (author)2011-07-24

do not forget the book self falling on the infant and the books falling on the infant you need to protect it from

farzadbayan (author)2011-04-23

Your baby is so lovely !

arpoky (author)2010-10-11

This looks like the baby from the Care Bear Costume by Scoochmaroo. Are they the same?

Jayefuu (author)arpoky2010-10-13

Yup. That's Corvidae.

arpoky (author)Jayefuu2011-01-11

As I obviously am not sure...
Whose is he/she (which one)?

mg0930mg (author)arpoky2011-03-24

She is eric, and canida's(i believe that's how you spell it) baby.

babyproofpro (author)2010-12-05

Hate to be the party pooper but as a profesional childproofer I would suggest wedging the books in tight and reprimand for enforcement. The innertubes, if streached far enough or if it becomes loose, could become an entrappment/strangulation.

matt09 (author)2010-10-09

i would put conductive mesh on it and hook up 2 a telephone pole transformer thatll teach not to touch it infact it would be imppossible

beckyrep (author)2010-07-02

A number of toddlers die each year from pulling bookshelves down on themselves. I found your delightful post thinking it offers a solution for this hurtful, sometimes tragic occurrence. Bolt the bookcase itself to a couple of studs in the wall to avert a tragedy!

superMacaroni (author)2010-05-28

When I was a baby, I would always take out all the CDS from my dad's bookshelf and find the shiniest ones.


Honus (author)2010-05-19

Great idea! Would also work well for DVDs so my boys wouldn't destroy them. Now if I could just keep them from climbing on the piano...

Island-itis (author)2010-05-14

Agree with westfw.  Many moons ago our two young sons pulled an entire bookcase on top of themselves.  Fortunately they both ended up in the area that was empty.  Bolted to the wall is the way to go.

Weissensteinburg (author)2010-05-14

 Corvidae has grown up to much! 

Tool Using Animal (author)2010-05-14

You have a baby??  huh, Cute kid.

Anyways, since you have "How to Cook Everything", are not all the other books redundant?

I would say so.  ;)

Kiteman (author)2010-05-14

She's upright!

PKM (author)Kiteman2010-05-14

Upright?  She's looking straight at the camera! This makes her more media-savvy than 67% of the UK political class!

Wow, what a topical reference from three weeks ago that was...

And using opposable digits... how long now until she gets access to power tools?

westfw (author)2010-05-14

Hopefully the bookcases are well bolted to the wall.  otherwise those innertubes might make fine handles for pulling over the whole bookcase!

Sunbanks (author)2010-05-13

Oh my goodness, she is absolutely adorable!

This is such a smart idea also! 

jess (author)2010-05-13

Quite cunning.  I also suspect that if she figures out how to get around one innertube, you could just add a second one to each shelf that will probably stymie her for a bit longer.

We'll need something similar in about a year, I expect.  It'll sure work for the cookbooks, though I don't think it will be quite as successful with our bajillion paperback books that have a lot of space both behind and above on the shelf, since those can be pushed back and the whole row collapses. (We're thinking perhaps clear acrylic cut to the size of the shelf and velcro'ed on over the front, or something similar.)

kelseymh (author)2010-05-13

Corvidae is looking so cute!  And clearly enjoys playing for the camera. What a great and simple idea. 

We've been using rubber bands across the drawer knobs; Madeleine (now two) is now smart enough to understand that it means we want her to stay out, even though she can easily remove them.

I predict those will last for maybe a few weeks, and then she'll learn that if she twangs hard enough, she can pull the band down below the books....Remember, folks, you heard it here first!

nickodemus (author)2010-05-13

This is nice! Baby proofing the DIY way!

About This Instructable




Bio: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through ... More »
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