I've learned quickly with one child how to child-proof a house successfully. But with three the same age, it can be quite difficult. The babies have access to two rooms, the living room and the dining room. I like to call it a gated community - others call it baby jail.
In these rooms, they have more toys than they know what to do with, there are couches, chairs, endtables, lamps and the entertainment center. The problem is that they have learned that if they work together, they can achieve anything. Teamwork is a four-letter word in my opinion. This summer we didn't want the kids to stand on the window seat and pound on the windows, so we put storage containers in front of the window with 40 lbs of weights in them. The babies quickly learned that if they pulled together, they could move these boxes. So I gave up and let them sit on the windowseat. I wish that was all they did, but they like to stand and pound on the windows. Some of the novelty of that has worn off, but days that they are feeling particularly bored or naughty, they do it again. The TV and entertainment center are another problem. There are buttons on the bottom of the TV and they can push them. I put cardboard over the buttons and then duct-taped it. That worked for a little while, but they learned that through patience and perseverance they can get that tape off. I did try one of those TV guards too. But one day I found it cracked and broken. I didn't want them to get hurt by pinching their fingers or cutting their hands with the crack, so I threw it away. The entertainment center. It doesn't have knobs on, its got magnetic closures. John learned last summer that if he bumps his head on the doors, they open. So I tape them shut. But again, with enough patience and lack of supervision, they can get those doors open. Another problem is that they like to unplug lamps. I've rearranged and rearranged furniture so that they can't get at the outlets and lamps, but only one is exposed. I'm guessing that between 5 to 8 times a day they unplug the lamp.
Now imagine taking them to other peoples houses. Most houses aren't child-proofed. I walk into a house and instantly my mom radar sees the following - sharp corner, sharp corner, paper on floor, plants, breakable object on table, tv, christmas tree, sharp corner, plant. Its a lot easier keeping one out of trouble, but three is near impossible. If they work together, one distracts while the other two find trouble and you just can't keep up with them.
We're going to my mother's for Christmas and luckily there will be enough people to (hopefully) keep them out of trouble. But she's got about 100 knicknacks and 20 plants.
Wish us luck!