How to Baby-Proof a Bookshelf





Introduction: How to Baby-Proof a Bookshelf

About: 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 understanding, and strives to inspire others to lear...

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

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

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.



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    31 Discussions

    I don't think there's enough information in this instructable. Looks like a great concept but how do you measure this out for different size bookshelves? How is the tube affixed to the shelf? Is it around the entire bookshelf?

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

    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.

    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?


    looks toddler unproof though...


    cute baby


    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!

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

    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.

    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

    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!

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


    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...