Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Swim Noodles: They're Not Just For Breakfast Any More

When a local police officer evaluated my friend's car seat installation, two significant things happened:
  1. The officer cut the plastic tether connecting the LATCH belt to her car seat because her seat didn't have LATCH buckles (he said this was "more convenient" for her to store it elsewhere), and
  2. he replaced her rolled-up towel with a segment of swim noodle.
Despite the questionable reasoning behind his first action (where is a more obvious place to store a LATCH belt than on the car seat?), I didn't really scrutinize his overall judgement. The swim noodle thing sounded good. I cut the end off a swim noodle and replaced the completely functional, manual-recommended towel with a piece of yellow foam. It compressed too much on installation, and crushed more over time. I eventually reinstalled the towel (after, I believe Jim asked, "What exactly are you thinking?") and threw the mangled piece of noodle away.

This left me with half a noodle to contemplate.

BabyGeek is obsessed with doors. As soon as he could crawl to them, he loved to sit near them and fling them shut. He was not so pleased when they latched however. To prevent the constant slamming of doors (and the potential for finger injuries), I cut about 6 inches off the remaining noodle.

I then cut through one side of the noodle (lengthwise- to the channel down the middle), and pulled the sides of the noodle apart to straddle the top of the door. The noodle shows no signs of wear after months of use.

I no longer have to spend my day re-opening doors so the baby won't wail, and his fingers are far less likely to be crushed. We're careful not to leave any noodle pieces where the baby can play with them unsupervised because the noodle may be pliable enough he could bite off a chunk.

The actual over-the-door foam doorstop from Babies R Us cost $4 or more, so I was glad to find a cheaper solution to keep the little slammer from unwittingly confining himself all over the house.

Our beloved kitchen table, built by my uncle, has square steel sliders to allow for a number of table leaves. They are very pointy on the ends and could leave a nice u-shaped gash in a knee or a small forehead.

As BabyGeek began exploring under the table, I decided to try and ward off an e-room visit (I still remember my older brother's bloody emergency run after a Big Wheel accident where his forehead slammed into a 1970s steel bumper). Using zip ties we intended for the banister enclosure, I secured small noodle cushions to the ends of the sliders.

As there is no mass-manufactured solution for this problem, I felt quite accomplished in creating my own. They too show no signs of wear, though they are tested by my knees regularly.

These are super-cheap on end-of-season clearance (which is currently about 8 months away) and aren't too dear before discounts, especially when you consider that you can equip a house full of doors with only one noodle.

Noodle remnants over a foot are also nice for whomping other adults on the head (as appropriate).


Audi said...

During swim season you can sometimes even find these niffty noodles at the dollar store. They aren't as plush as the higher dollar ones but would still work well.

Patrick said...

Another option might be pipe insulation - especially if you want it in black instead of those neon noodle colors.

Anonymous said...

TO add to the last remark about "whomping": I got a bright yellow noodle, cut it in half easily with a utility knife, in order to make two perfectly-sized, perfectly safe, light-sabers for we Star Wars fans in the house!

Together, we will rule the living room as father and sons...

Jim said...

What a great idea!

Adrienne warns to take care near the lamps.

Anonymous said...

Our changing table had a metal bar up high. We split a swim noodle and covered the bar. Luckily the blue of his room and his room even matched.