Piper Roth, 2, is a fridge fanatic. When she's not helping herself to bottles of mustard and ketchup, she's rearranging things or just staring inside, says her mom, Jennifer, of Carriere, MS.
This is simple curiosity, says Kevin Osborn, coauthor of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Preschooler and Toddler, Too. "They think: What's inside there? Is that light always on? Can I catch it going on or off?" he says. The doors also offer just enough resistance to make opening them an irresistible challenge to toddlers building their motor skills.
To keep your kid safe while he explores the frigid zone:
Organize wisely. Store leftovers in plastic containers, and keep them, breakable jars, and spillables in the back on the top shelf. Same goes for grapes and other choking hazards.
Put kid-friendly foods in easy reach. Have a sippy cup of juice and snacks like cheese sticks and yogurt on the front of the lower shelf.
Keep an eye out. It'll only take a few minutes for him to figure out how to reach off-limit items. This stage should pass by age 4, but in the meantime, encourage safer play (and cut your energy bills) with a play fridge or stove and toy food. Direct him there when he heads for the real thing.