Mine are all out all the time. I dont have crates for my kids. If your boy is 4 years old then I would think you should be fine. Cutty and Mugsy mellowed and stopped eating things while we were gone at about 2. Now with Miila here we are risking it but so far she has been very very good. We do close bedrooms cuz she loves to eat Sierras toys and stuffed animals that are on her bed.