I have a 4, 2.5 and 10 month old and I can relate to your problem. My two older girls were very good about not touching the speakers, the wires etc. However, I have Krell 650mono's and the heat sinks are a weapon and my fear is they will fall and hit their heads on a heat sink and split it wide open. My ten month old is crawling now and he is trying to tear the foam off my Wilson speakers and pull on the speaker cables and interconnects.
To avoid my kids from falling and hitting their heads on the amps and avoid my son from getting too close to the amps, we have put one of those plastic fences around the amps so they can't get near them and for the interconnects and speaker cable we have covered them up with throw rugs so they can't see them to pull.
With time and coaching against touching, I am hoping I can get rid of the protection. When I am listening, I do move the fence out of the way.
Every child is different, you will have to watch yours and see how he reacts to your equipment and your discipline.
By the time my son was walking, I allowed him (holding him up) to turn the volume up and down on the preamp, and control the CD player. Later when he was about four or five I let him cue my LP's up to play. This required some real faith, as I had a Basis turntable, Graham arm and Benz cartridge.
It is much better to allow children to experiment with close supervision from you, than leaving them to learn in your absence. This has worked well for my son, but as I said in the opening line, every child is different.
My friend visited with his 1.5 year old "Max" last summer. Max is an out-going, happy toddler, that never cried or whined. We left him unsupervised for awhile until we discovered that he had developed an obsession with climbing to the top of my hifi rack on my second system (about four feet high). I did not have a fence to block him, so we sometimes had to tear him away from the rack. There were some painful scenes where he was screaming, crying, grabbing onto the control knobs to keep from getting pulled away from his favorite "mountain." On the last day, he succeeded in scaling the top. I will never forget the joy on his face when I saw "little Max" standing with his grubby feet on top of my turntable on the top of my rack. The parents were horrified, but we all laughed in the end. I have since thought that all babies go through a "climbing phase" as well as a "mirror phase" and a "crawling phase." A simple foldable divider, like the one you mention, marakanetz, might be the answer.
I have a 2 and 4 year old and large Cary 805 Monoblocks on the floor. They both seem overly attracted to the bright and hot output tubes. I had to make a tough decision, either to keep them out of the music room or run the risk of them hurting themselves. I wanted them exposed to music and make listening a family function so I bought a Jeff Rowland SS amp and put up the Carys(for now)We now all listen to music together(but not for long, the little ones are in and out my room all the time)My 2 year old every now and then will get behind a speaker and play with the speaker wire but she is getting better. Good luck.
Luckily, my 15 month-old doesn't care for cords or wires. My wife found a power strip box at Babies-R-Us to secure most of the plugs in my system. My speaker cables only frustrate the baby because she trips on the occasionally on her trips from "here to there".
She did go through a phase where she couldn't leave the power switches on my amps alone. My wife and I were vigilent and told her "no" until she quit trying. Same went with touching the speakers (a real phobia of mine as an Apogee owner).
Finally, I allow the baby to operate the CD player via the remote. Obviously, I have to center the disc after she puts it in the tray, but the look of amazement on her face when the drawer closes and the music starts when she pushes the "play" button is priceless.
I have a 2+yo and a 4mo, The initial solution was to gate the listening room from free acess, and to allow supervised acess only. Additionally I have multiple systems, with most of the equipment-amps, pre-amp, and front end devices in a rack in a closet. THis removed most of the equipment from acess.
The balance becomes a question of disipline and trainning.
My kids are 7, 9, and 11 now. It's really hard, but here's what worked for me. You have to teach your kids the only things they can play with is their own toys, nothing else. If they want to touch or use anything else, they must ask first. They have to learn to respect what's not theirs and leave it alone. As I said, not an easy task. The upside is obvious, but one of the benefits is you can take your kids anywhere (including friends houses) and know they won't end up causing a problem. Childproofing your house is easier, but does not address the fundamental issue. The kids get older and more responsible but the nature of the challenge shifts and make being vigilant even more important. A good example is the internet, they cannot be allowed free reign to do what they want, there has to be some supervision. Am I an overprotective parent? Nope, but the inmates can't rule the cellblock either.
Well for me it's the most unpredictable stage for now.
My parents remember me as very curious boy to any wires, bulbs, motors, cords and other electrical stuff and they're trying to warn me about danger that can happen eventually. When I was 5 I had my own old LP-player(table+phono) and receiver SW/AM with built-in speakers. both of the components were from mid 40-s vintage. From now I cannot say how they sounded -- probably bad! The fact is that I do and don't want my son to be that curious since in my current setup there are much more wires.
I have located my levinson 335 inside a Rack-it piece of furniture that at least eliminates the possibility of the kids hurting themselves with the heatsinks. The shelves are against the wall and that protects cabling behind
I have 13mo and 25mo old kids.. I went with the "hidden room" concept... I modified my listening room with a built-in entertainment center and a 2 ft walk way behind. The doors of this cabinet are secured by locks that you place a magnet on the outside of the door. The speaker cable and speakers are the only items out in the open. I also came up with an old ventilation motor, controller and thermostat from a high grade furnace to circulate air as needed. I have had significant sessions with my kids to keep them off of the speakers and cables, to keep the "inmates" in-line.
We live in a small house and there was no way to keep the kids out of the living room. I had music on all the time and my oldest loved dancing no matter what I played. The equipment was on a rack and moved out of the way in a corner. The speakers then were Maggie SMG 's and one day she tipped one over. The speaker was fine but I didn't feel that I would want to chance that again with her or one of her friends. So I made a sacrifice and bought a pair of Kef s to be wall mounted on shelves. I kept them untill my second child was five. It wasn't untill I replaced those Kefs that I realised what a sacrifice I had made. That stage is over now . My kids have learned to use and respect my discs and equipment and I am now learning to try to like their music. cheers Steve
We had a discussion about pets and you may find some of that information helpful. I just hope that you NEVER encounter Dekay's problem with aiming for the speakers!