Childproof your home — not your life #Offbeat Families in the media#baby-proofing#fears#over-protectiveness#safety January 7 | Guest post by Nikki Cupcake Be afraid of everything! Photo by bcostin I'm starting to get ready to baby proof our home. My little monster is just about to hit the 4 month mark and with my luck will go from rolling over straight to running. I've been researching what you should baby proof and I came across diagrams for every room with everything highlighted. I started looking at some of the contraptions used to keep little hands away and some of these things creep me out! Some of the things used to protect my little one looked more dangerous than what they're being protected from. It really makes me think, are we teaching kids to respect the adult world or are we teaching them to fear it? While I was pondering that question, I came across an article in the January 2010 Parent magazine ("French Lessons" by Debra Olliver) about a woman who was born and raised in the US and moved to France where she raised her kids. She talks about how people in France raise their kids so differently than in the US. The women talked about how children are aren't treated like little royalty and are taught to respect things unlike here, and they most defiantly don't baby proof. In the US, I feel like everything is baby proof, especially our personal lives. All you do worry something bad is going to happen. We as parents want to protect our children, but I think we're over protecting them 90% of the time. I thought about the article and it makes a lot of sense. We baby proof our lives so much we get scared. We as parents want to protect our children, but I think we're over protecting them 90% of the time. We as a culture are taught to over medicate and over protect our children. Just look at the baby care industry for proof. Next time you're in your pediatrician's office look at the drug company posters on the wall or the pen used to fill out your child's newest prescription. When my son was born, I was told not to take him out in public for 4 – 6 weeks! I then became slightly paranoid for a day my son would come down with every illness. The next day I realized I was being paranoid so we went out and took a walk to the park. Remember, you eat a pound of dirt before you die. So now, thinking much clearer, I'm able to make the right choices for me to baby proof my home and not baby proof my life. I figure since I take my son everywhere as it is, he'll respect people … he might as well respect objects too. I will teach my son how to respect things and not fear them. What good has ever come from someone fearing something? Don't get me wrong: I will still put outlet protectors in all the outlets and keep all cords and strings out of reach. I won't let my son get near anything poison or anything too hot … but do I really need to lock the toilet? Join our community! Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Nikki Cupcake Nikki Cupcake is a young eco friendly mama from North Jersey. She dabbles in music business and photography, but does the coffee thing for a living. She lives with her parents, awesome son Aiden and her filmmaker boyfriend. http://mamaslittlemonster.blogspot.com PREVIOUS Stomach tattoo + pregnancy = ??? NEXT Yeah, so my son was born in the backseat of a taxi. Show/Hide comments [ 81 ] So Nikki, where did you find those articles? I'd like to have a looksie as to the kind of differences you're talking about, cross-culturally 🙂 Thanks! Reply I never really got the toilet thing? I mean, I guess to stop them from flushing mermaids (as this is what happened last night at my girlfriends house with her 3 year old) but otherwise, what's going to happen with the toilet? Slam their fingers in the lid maybe? I guess. Great post! I was just thinking about this the other day when someone told me "wow you're house is so nice looking, you're really in trouble when the baby comes and you have to put everything away" and I was thinking "how do I put the fireplace mantel away?". And I SO don't want to have to wrap it in pipe foam and duct tape! Reply I'd rather my daughter didn't lift the lid and touch inside the toilet, but I don't let her in the bathroom if I'm not there. Perhaps it's an issue of germs? Reply Regarding the toilet: I think the fear is potential drowning. It could happen and has happened, but I'm sure is extremely unlikely because yeah… who lets their child play unattended in the bathroom. So I had the same attitude regarding toilet locks and never bothered. HOWEVER! Now my son is 16 months old and mobile and into everything. Not only does our bathroom door not even latch, so we can't just close the door, but not a day goes by that I manage to make it through my morning personal hygiene routine without having to pull a toy out of the toilet or wash a screaming toddler's hands yet again because he was splashing around in there like it was the local swimming pool. And so now, those toilet locks are looking pretty good to me. 2 agree Reply I was hesitant to let my boyfriend's sister come over with her toddler, and I was relieved to hear her say that she's not worried that my house isn't "babyproofed" yet. I'll do a few things before they get here (get some baby gates for the stairs, probably some outlet covers), but since I or my boyfriend will be with that child the entire time, I don't think we'll really need them 🙂 Reply I found that article in Parent magazine, i looked online for a link, but couldn't find one. i'll look around some more because it really made me laugh in one part the author talking about watching french moms walking on cobble stone wearing stiletto heels, pushing strollers and not falling, i wish i could do that! Reply I think one of the reasons we over-protect our children is because we sort of have this cultural feeling that if we do EVERYTHING right, nothing bad will happen. Of course, this is crazy – just read first-hand accounts about, say, babies accidentally left in a car, and it's pretty easy to see that even with products in place to prevent the accident, something still went wrong. I'm not saying it's OK to leave a toddler unsupervised by a pool, but I think it's safe to leave an uncovered socket or two! 1 agrees Reply my "other" and i have decided not to baby proof at all, i think at most i'll buy a gate to block off the kitchen and stairs. and i would HIGHLY suggest outlet covers. my parents believed in the no baby proofing too. we had just moved and there were speaker cords every where in our living room and me being the 2 and half year old i was knew wires got plugged in the outlets. so i took the speaker cords and shoved them into the outlet. causing a whole half of our house's electricity to go nutty Reply Those outlet covers can backfire: by the time I was 8 years old, I was so intrigued by the taboo of sticking objects in outlets, that I stuck a fork into the outlet just to see what would happen (it shocked me and tripped the circuit breaker). By the time I was 12, I was doing my own "science experiments" using the outlets. Forbidden fruit. Reply we gave up on babyproofing after i bought those foam protectors for corners and alice just ripped them off. ha ha. our method of babyproofing was really just to create more room for her to play, so we got rid of our coffeetable, mounted our TV on the wall and mounted a floating shelf so we could get rid of the TV console. we have a gate between our living room and the hallway that contains the kitchen and bathroom, but that is mostly to keep her from getting underfoot while I'm cooking. 1 agrees Reply I never knew foam corner protectors were a thing O_O For the corners of tables and things, or is it walls, or is it a combination? I remember whacking myself off corners a few times as a child. It taught me to try to avoid them – but this hasn't stopped me whacking myself off corners as an adult with no excuse 😀 Maybe I should get them now . . . Reply I don't plan on doing much if any baby proofing. The thing is, my parents didn't and I'm here and doing fine, I think kids need to get dirty, get exposed, build immunities and learn to respect things that aren't theirs. My brother did a ton of child proofing. They removed everything breakable from their home got rid of anything that their sons could get hurt by, they sanitize like mad, & there is nothing in their house that the kids can't mess with. The result, the boys can't go anywhere without that place being completely child proofed too. They grab at everything, have little understanding of boundaries and get yelled at a lot because of it. They don't have any table lamps in their house, so when they went to a friend's house and there was a lamp, turned on, one of the boys was fascinated and grabbed the light bulb and he got burned. Sucks for the little guy, but I bet he won't do that again. Reply Now about getting my husband to read this… 1 agrees Reply Yes totally agree! A friend of mine grew up on a farm with lots of siblings and though I know they were deeply cared for, she tells this story of her little sister sticking something metal she found into the wall socket and yelling that the wall was biting her! Wait ,I know totally not funny but hilarious because you know everything turned out fine in that situation. Reply Actually there's a movement out there called the 'free range kids' that was started by a woman who shock horror, let her kid ride the New York subway by himself at the age of 9. http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/about-2/ Reply I LOVE FREE RANGE KIDS! 1 agrees Reply Right on! Let's hear it for a little healthy skepticism! There are a lot of products out there that have to scare you or you won't buy 'em. I call it the Kiddie Safety Industrial Complex. Keep your wits about you — and your wit, while you're at it — and you'll be fine. Good luck! Lenore "Free-Range Kids" Skenazy Reply yeah there are so many products that scare you into buying them, it's a tactic that green washing does too. it scares you into buy a "better" "greener" product because the tell you the conventional product is so scary and bad, but its actually the fake "greener" product is worse for you or isn't better at all such as clorox's green works line Reply Me too! I read that site right after I read this one!! Reply <3 it! my child will deff. be free range, i was growing up when i get to work tomorrow first thing i'm doing is ordering the book! Reply When the little lad started to move around we bought a play-pen (aka the baby cage). After putting it up once the way it was on the box and sitting the poor wee beasty in his shiny new prison, we decided that if we must have fences, we preferred living in a safari park rather than a zoo, so the play pen went round the decks and record collection and one gate was put up at the door of our tiny galley kitchen. Job done, baby and electrical equipment safe. He's now nearly 3 and (mostly)leaves things alone when we tell him. This means we can visit childless friends and other people with no baby experience and be pretty sure he can be trusted not to trash anything 🙂 1 agrees Reply At the risk of sounding like an internet groupie, I totally heart your work. From a kid who was traveling by herself on airplanes to go visit grandma at the age of 6. Reply Oh my goodness, me too! Lenore, I've invoked your name many many times in conversations about my ideologies about parenting. Thanks so much for popping in to say hello! Reply Oooh, this looks interesting. I just read the Wild Things by Eggers and it made me think a lot about the limited freedom of children these days. Reply In our house we found a medium that worked for us. One example is: we chose to use outlet covers but didn't child proof the bathroom or corners in any way. I want my children to be able to respect their atmosphere without foam, plastic or gated boundaries and so far my soon to be three-year old has done a great job. I feel I am doing him a disservice by making his environment at home TOO safe, it seems unrealistic. When we visit people I usually take my son aside and walk him through the home once or twice showing him his boundaries. After that if he ventures into what we call the "danger zones" some simple re-direction is all it takes. If a parent is present and aware, I think it shouldn't take much to provide a safe home that a child can explore while still learning a bit on their own. Reply I was thinking about this earlier today–my mother only put covers on the outlets, and allowed us one cabinent to play with the pots and pans. My stepmother, on the other hand, childproofeed everything, including the toliet. Crazy. Reply i don't remember the play cabinet. Reply Oh, I forgot to add– this might sound mean but when I saw Alice playing with the A/C plug and outlet, I scared the shit out of her by yelling NO really loud, and she never did it again. I never yell at her though, so it had a big impact. Reply I say "Hot!" firmly when my son approaches an outlet. It is more honest and more descriptive, and he has developed and understanding/healthy respect for hot things such as my coffee cup and a lit lightbulb from personal experience, so he usually believes me and leaves it alone. Love natural consequences. Reply I had a French teacher one who was constantly talking about how different raising children is in the US versus in France. She said while she was pregnant in the US she decided to have about 2 ounces of champagne out with her husband at dinner one night to celebrate a promotion he'd gotten. She was about 7 months pregnant at the time and said a woman came up and got in her face about her drinking while pregnant. As a counterpoint she'd then tell a story about how in the US she once stopped someones unattended 3 year old from climbing on a sculpture at an outdoor sculpture garden by saying "Hello, these are not toys, they are just for looking! It's much too dangerous to play on them." and the child's father yelled at her for "disciplining his kid". What she took away from this was, "In France we help raise and parent children, even those who don't belong to us where as in the US people seem to only want to parent other adults." 6 agree Reply well babies can and have drowned in toilets. But then, why not just keep the bathrrom door closed? Reply I couldn't agree more. Honestly, you need a toilet protector for the 7 and 9 years olds in your house more than you do for your baby! LOL! Reply i liked the idea of having a play cabinet! i'm totally stealing that! Reply Yeah, I use that too and it totally works. Rather than worrying about child locks on everything, I just made sure that everything in the lower cabinets is safe for the little stinker to play with. This means that we have plastic tupperware in a big drawer and cleaning stuff in a cabinet up high, but it works! Reply its funny only in the us is considered bad to drink while pregnant. there is no proof that having a little sip of wine or anything is bad. its just heavy drinking is considered bad. i was reading a study not too long ago about and to be honest i drank while i was pregnant, i didn't know i was pregnant, but if i did know i think i still would have had that glass of wine here or there Reply the drinking thing drives me nuts. i was recently following a thread on FB in which a woman was convinced that a single drop of wine would cause FAS! despite everyone weighing in and saying things like "oh, i had a glass here and there, and my baby is fine," she continued to admonish and plead. For my part, i went cold turkey my first trimester, then for the rest of my pregnancy, i was back to one cup of coffee a day and a glass of wine here and there (not a big drinker in the first place, so it's not like i had to cut back or something.) And yeah, my kid is just fine! Reply It's considered bad in the UK too. Despite the evidence that a unit of alcohol per week is unlikely to be harmful, and may even be socially beneficial to the expectant mother, official guidelines still dictate that pregnant women should be advised to avoid alcohol at all costs. Apparently women aren't bright enough to understand that a small glass of wine is probably okay whereas a binge isn't. I also think this caffeine thing is bizarre- as with anything I reckon moderation is the key. Reply It's the same in Australia. In fact, they have a big campaign here at the moment about how there is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. Reply the other interesting thing talked about in the article is how the french don't hide the fact that they have sex with their partners from their kids. they'll actually say yes me and daddy (fill in the blank with something age appropriate) never making sex seam like a dirty/bad/secretive thing Reply One thing to remember is that, as your baby grows, you'll notice what kind of things your child is interested in messing with, and you can then childproof and/or train the child from there. I never needed a toilet lock with my son; he had no interest in tossing stuff in and flushing it. I did, however, discover that he was madly attracted to the little caps that cover the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. And (on my toilets at least) they were easily removable and a perfect choking hazard. I wasn't able to teach him, at age 10 months, that he needed to leave them alone. So I put clear plastic tape on them to hold them down, and that was it. Some basics, like plugs for electrical outlets or latches for cupboards with toxic contents, I think pretty much every parent should do. And if you have any item that you would be absolutely heartbroken if it got broken, you should probably put it away until… well, until the kid moves out. But for much of the rest, I think you can wait and see and then react as needed. Sometimes there will be screw-ups and things will get damaged, even when you think you're way past the baby-proofing stage. My son was about 9 when he decided to etch "Hi Mom" into the wooden coffee table with a screwdriver. But overall, he stayed safe with pretty minimal childproofing (compared to what the books talk about) and he's learned to be reasonably careful with things. And that "Hi Mom" coffee table is a pretty funny memento of childhood. 2 agree Reply see i don't think like that at all. i'm not going to learn what my child is or isn't into, i'm going to teach him to respect things. and believe it or not i think babies understand a lot more than we give them credit for. Reply Nikkicupcake I am sorry to say that you cannot teach a 10mth old to respect little things that they can choke on luv. I totally agree with Sss each child is intrested in diffrent things and this changes with age and we have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our kids first and foremost then teach respect of things. 2 agree Reply Agreed. Reply Nor can you expect them to respect the outlets. Not until they are quite a bit older, and a lot of damage can be done in the intervening 1-2 years. 1 agrees Reply I have an almost eight month old little boy who is almost crawling [he's got the slide thing going on pretty well] and we are yet to baby proof. We have socket plugs and are going to get gates for the stairs but other than using it as an excuse to get better storage in our house that's all we will do. We also aren't extremely vigilant about sterilising as he puts everything in his mouth and is yet to get sick from it [although for some reason we are vigilant when it comes to his dummies]. I think its a lot more beneficial for the child to learn life lessons than wear bubble wrap all their life. Reply This reminded me of the Reggio Emilia nurseries in Italy and the self guided approach to learning they have with the children there. My mum as a early years teacher went over there and it was refreshing to see young children using tools, drinking from glass cups and accessing and respecting the adult world a lot more than allowed here in the UK or the US. Reply My job is all about 'child safety', and I have to say it's refreshing to hear everyone's opinions on this. My two cents? There's two main things I would say: – Be with young kids when they're near water (pools, spas, bath etc.) and cars – Model 'safe' (for want of a better word) behaviour, talk about it and help children to understand their boundaries. 1 agrees Reply I bought a six pack of eye hook latches and stuck them on each door and I bought one child safety gate for the kitchen. That's the same thing I did with my older daughter who has made it to the ripe old age of 14- so I'm pretty comfortable with it. I haven't read the article mentioned, but it sounds like I agree with the French. I will not make it difficult to get in or out of my own cabinets. Nor will I stick everything out of reach. Instead, I will teach my child what she can play with and what she can't. (Within reason of course). Reply I think that so-called babyproofing can backfire – so much time is spent on making the environment safe that a false sense of security can be created. Reply yeah its crazy! no one really knows how much drinking can cause fas except heavy amounts of drinking i drank here and there and gave birth to a 8lb + monster with no issues oh and i drank coffee while i was pregnant my occupation is barista Reply my husband and i don't quite see eye-to-eye on this issue yet. his idea of babyproofing isn't over the top, but it's definitely excessive in my mind. reminding me of the entry a month or so back about generations of off-beatness, where i commented that i'm second generation and my husband is becoming first generation under my influence, lol. my idea of babyproofing is outlet covers, a baby gate over the stairs, and a cabinet lock for the undersink cabinets where we keep the cleaning supplies. he wants to pad corners of furniture, lock off all the cabinets, the toilet, all the doorknobs, closets…you catch my drift. i talked him out of most of it, but he's having trouble letting go of padded corners on furniture. i'm working on him. maybe this entry will help. really though, i completely agree with this…if we keep our children from every observing or experiencing these things, how are they going to know how to behave when they encounter them elsewhere? if i let my MIL insist that the baby only gets plastic dishes until the age of 13, how is that ever going to teach the baby that you have to be careful with dishes because they're breakable? i had ceramic dishes as a baby…white, with a blue stripe around the outside, and four yellow ducks painted on it, with some waves suggesting that fifth duck was there and it dunked. it had a big epoxied crack down the middle where it had broken. but i can count on one hand the number of dishes i've broken in my lifetime (and one was on purpose, lol). Reply when i was growing up at my aunt's house they had corner protectors around their kitchen island because of me. i remember still bumping into them and how bad they hurt so they really didn't do any good Reply You have a great point. I think that we aren't teaching our kids just to respect or fear adult spaces with this stuff as much as we are telling to them to completely stay out of "our" sphere. Reply It's the difference between preparing them for life and shielding them from it. We don't have stairgates, rarely use monitors but I still doubt whether I'd let the children use public transport on their own before they're 13 (we live in London). Wish I had more faith in my children and the public, but I am a victim of 'what if' as much as the next person. Reply I wouldnt beat yourself up too much over the not allowing travelling on public transport in London. Cause there are a lot of bad bad people out there. Reply As a second generation 'offbeat kid', I support you NOT doing that. My Dutch mom let me fly from America and change trains from holland to germany ALL ALONE at age 9. I was an old soul, but really, wouldn't let my kid do that, it was really scary and I felt obliged to not let on..12 yeah, 9, no 🙂 Reply There may be one advantage to toddlerproofing the toilet, as outlined in this article I read on the BBC a while ago http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7779024.stm which is all about an increase in the number of penile crush injuries that are being seen due to toddlers accidentally dropping wooden toilet lids or seats on themselves. To be fair though, they've only reported 250 cases in the entire UK so locking the kid out of the bathroom or removing the lid may be a bit OTT. Reply ha thats kind of really funny Reply We don't even have outlet covers. My mother in law over protects him to the point where he is LITERALLY afraid of light bulbs, stoves, electrical cords, outlets, light switches, etc. (it took ages to get over his toilet fear while we were potty training) While my mother in law tries her hardest to make him scared, spoiled, shy and obsessive; we have to try twice as hard to "undo" everything she does each weekend. My mother in law could write a book on how NOT to raise a kid!!! Reply I was told not to take my newborn out in public or to be judicious about doing so for 6 weeks too. But here is how my doctor explained it. Apparently, if a baby that young gets a fever, the doctor is obligated (required?) to put the baby in the hospital for 3 days, just in case they have something serious (meningitis?). So the advice not to take the baby out was to save my husband and I the expense, stress and inconvenience of what would in all likelihood be an unnecessary hospital visit. Everyone thought I was typical over-protective mom, but my nightmare scenario was spending 3 days and nights in a hospital with a newborn, and I wanted to avoid it at all costs. My baby did not get any fevers, and once he passed the magical age, I relaxed a lot. Reply actually the reason why i was told not to talk my child out was because of the issues he had at birth he spent the first 9 days of his life in the NICU after i told my pediatrician (2 different ones to be correct) they both said it was complete BS babies get fevers all the time. and while my son was under a month old he had a fever and wasn't put in the hospital Reply Pediatricians are not only obligated to hospitalize a baby for several days but also to draw blood for blood cultures, collect urine for urine cultures and do a lumbar puncture to collect CSF to culture it too. All this is because an infection in a newborn can be really, really bad. UTIs can quickly become kidney infections that do lasting damage. Meningitis can leave a perfectly normal baby deaf and brain-damaged, if they survive. It is smart to be extra careful for the first four weeks (longer for premature babies) but after that relax and let them roll around in the dirt when they get older. Reply my husband and i don't quite see eye-to-eye on this issue yet. his idea of babyproofing isn't over the top, but it's definitely excessive in my mind. reminding me of the entry a month or so back about generations of off-beatness, where i commented that i'm second generation and my husband is becoming first generation under my influence, lol. my idea of babyproofing is outlet covers, a baby gate over the stairs, and a cabinet lock for the undersink cabinets where we keep the cleaning supplies. he wants to pad corners of furniture, lock off all the cabinets, the toilet, all the doorknobs, closets…you catch my drift. i talked him out of most of it, but he's having trouble letting go of padded corners on furniture. i'm working on him. maybe this entry will help. really though, i completely agree with this…if we keep our children from every observing or experiencing these things, how are they going to know how to behave when they encounter them elsewhere? if i let my MIL insist that the baby only gets plastic dishes until the age of 13, how is that ever going to teach the baby that you have to be careful with dishes because they're breakable? i had ceramic dishes as a baby…white, with a blue stripe around the outside, and four yellow ducks painted on it, with some waves suggesting that fifth duck was there and it dunked. it had a big epoxied crack down the middle where it had broken. but i can count on one hand the number of dishes i've broken in my lifetime (and one was on purpose, lol). Reply I am so surprised by the sheer number of people that don't take childproofing their home into consideration when having a baby. Most of these little safety measure are so simple and effective, just get them done and go on with your lives. Reply I didn't do outlet covers. Or cover cords (although they are all zip-tied anyway). I did put a gate between the main room of the house and the kitchen, as well as one on the front door – and before my boys were able to climb (they are now 7 and 3), I put one at the bottom of the stairs. But other than that, I didn't baby proof the house much. However – I (still) don't keep a lot of things in the house that attract small children – not a lot of knick knacks (sp?) or glass or whatnot. I have a lot of kid books and toys available for the kids and at their level. Sure, I spent some time saying "that's not for baby, this is for baby", but really it wasn't that bad. And I liked not having to say "no" all the time. peace… Reply While I love this post, sometimes I think all the baby-proofing madness is more to protect babies from stupid parents. There were things my parents did with me as a child that are recommended to never do now-they let me play with their keys, they gave me whole vienna sausages to chew on (oh no, they could cause choking!), by the time I was in first grade, I walked to school with another 6 year old and no parents, I never used a sippy cup (I graduated to a regular plastic cup at 15 months), I was potty trained before I was 2. I not only survived, I thrived. Reply My mother child-proofed nothing – not even the chemicals or electrical outlets. I made it to age 27 so far and I'm still kicking 😉 I had a sippy cup, but it was the tupperware kind that if you up-ended it, it just leaked all over the carpet 😛 Reply Am I the only one that was never told anything about not taking a new born out in public? My grandfather had a massive stroke the night we came home from the hospital and passed away a few days later. I took my little one to dozens of family gatherings, the wake, the funeral and even up to the hospital to see him before he died… I wasn't worried for a second about her catching something. And as for childproofing – we have outlet covers because of my paranoid fear of them. A friend of the family had a child who died from sticking keys in an outlet. But other than that it's just locks on the kitchen cabinets since we don't use a baby gate to keep her out. But when visiting relatives – it just takes a little redirection to keep her away from things she's not supposed to touch. A simple "No ma'am" keeps her out of most things. Reply Charli: I wasn't told not to take my newborn out in public. I went shopping with one of them when they were 6days old. *shrug* Just because I had a baby didn't mean that life stopped so he could get a bit older. I still had things to do – a family to take care of. I just put him in the sling and did what I needed to do – and refused to allow anyone to touch him. peace… Reply I plan to lock my toilet, not to protect my son (also nearing 4 months), but to save myself from cleaning up the constant playtime in toilet water, ha ha. I agree entirely with your post! I will not be lining the edges of my furniture with rounded plastic or even putting locks on my cabinet doors (given, I will use a baby gate for our kitchen as our kitchen is dangerous to US!). Babies learn from an "ouch!" here and there. Just last week, my son wacked himself in the face with a rattle. My response? "Ouch, huh kiddo? Now you know where not to swing that thing! Ha ha" 1 agrees Reply I kind of wish that I did lock the toilet, then maybe I wouldn't have to spend $400 bucks on a new iPhone – since my son thought he'd practice throwing lol 2 agree Reply Oh that stinks!! Yikes! Reply ha i've dropped my phone in a toilet many many times maybe i need a toilet lock for myself Reply we have furniture in front of all the electric outlets (actually just by chance!) but I have to say I don't even have a baby gate with my 18 month old! she plays in the kitchen with her toy kitchen which is set up in there (copying me!) and if i need to open the floor level oven and she's in there she understands she needs to stand on the other side of the room while its open. I figured she's got to learn boundaries, and the dreaded 'no' word sometime, and also if she hurts herself (eg bumps on furniture etc) she'll know not to do that again! I am thinking of putting a gate at the top of the stairs for when she's up there now though, since she's starting to try to go down them :s she also has ceramic plates/bowls/cups and uses metal cutlery (despite funny looks from several friends who've offered plastic ones!) this is exactly how i grew up, and my brother and sister, and we've all survived into our twenties, so it can't be that horrific! Reply I very much agree with Gem. You protect the things from the kids rather than protecting the kids from the things. Inanimate objects are less likely to do damage to a child than a child is to damage your favourite fireplace/ornament/chair Reply I went crazy baby proofing just to find out that it was a waste of time and money. When my daughter was 5 months old I left her on a blanket on the floor in the very baby proofed living room in the minute tops it took me to walk to the kitchen make her a bottle and walk back she had crawled to the nearest outlet and pulled out the plastic protector, i quickly put it back in and pulled her away from the area since then i have learned that she is more interested in the protectors than she is in the outlet it self we now keep out outlets full or actual electronics or we cover them with furniture/ the plastic covers drew my daughters attention to the danger of the outlet instead of protecting her from it. the only baby proofing i currently have is a gate in the hall to keep her from opening the front door and the little things that keep cabinets closed . my daughter has also been taught to respect her surroundings and i think its making her a more attentive toddler. Reply see after i wrote this i realized just about a month later how active our child was. in the sense that i thought i didn't need to childproof then all of a sudden he goes from barely rolling over to knocking over a bolted down tv. so i was misjudging my child's a abilities as my son's doctor says is that he's lazy. so i went around my house and baby proofed a few things like the wires under my desk and moved the TVs to the wall. I then also moved everything that i kept around on desks and end table that were used a lot into sealed Rubbermaid containers. i'd rather my nook be used for reading in bed only than a chew toy. so how does aiden get into said things? he knocked over the TV 2 more times, so bye-bye tv in my room 🙁 now aiden's favorite place to play is under the desk. he crawls and gets stuck underneath the chair all the time when someones working at the desk, and now aiden has mastered climbing on top of boxes and attempting to jump off them. but someplace like the kitchen where i didn't baby proof he stays out of. he'll crawl or cruise past the kitchen look at me then just keep going. 1 agrees Reply We were also light of baby proofing. didn`t bother until he was able to quickly crawl, then did plugs and cleaning products etc. Though we DID get a toilet lock, and were very grateful for it. He flushed so many dang toys down that thing we had to unblock it over and over. The lock kept me sane 😉 Reply I think we've been pretty moderate baby-proofers. My husband came from an overzealous safety family, and mine was probably more lax than they ought have been about some things. Mostly, we've strived to have most of the rooms in our house be a place where we can say "Yes" rather than "No, don't touch that", and that goes a long way for our own sanity, so we aren't constant redirecting our 12 month old. The outlets are all plugged up and I put outlet covers on outlets that we use/power strips, but that's my only earnest baby-proofing. I let my son play with the doors, as he loves to open and close them (he pinched his fingers once, and never has again!). I could care less if he chews on my keys- I figure they are just as dirty as the floor he is crawling on. We put out kitty food out of reach, but let the kid go to town pulling books and dvds on the bookshelves. It's all about picking your battles, and staying sane 🙂 Reply Speaking as a triplet (OH NO! TRIPLETS! PROTECT ALL THE THINGS!) we didn't actually have very much babyproofing. We'd be watched like hawks, within reason, but all I knew of were outlet covers (stories in the news of kids being electrocuted will do that to you), you weren't allowed out of the (large) garden without an adult, and baby gates on the stairs and the kitchen door. We just weren't in the kitchen at all as babies/toddlers. I've heard of people seeing baby-gating the kitchen as a bit excessive, but with the best will in the world, three small children in a small kitchen with an adult trying to do anything is just a recipe for disaster. Pun unintentional, but I'm leaving it there 'cos that's how I roll 😉 I don't think we had special plates or cutlery. Sippy cups, yeah, but as a partially sighted toddler, I wasn't so good for a long time at judging how far to tip my cup without getting juice all over myself (not that this problem hasn't been entirely ironed out as a partially sighted adult; it's just mostly with chocolate milk and white t-shirts). I don't think a lot of today's babyproofing stuff was around when my mum had us, or maybe she would have used them (seriously, corner padding?) but then, the outlet covers and baby gates stopped most of the actual death/maiming risks and her authority took care of everything else. I think I'll be just about the same with my hypothetical children. Negate death/maiming possibilities, find out property damage possibilities as I go along ("Hi Mom" coffee table, LOL) and we'll see how that toilet lock thing goes. Worst I hear we did was drop a toothbrush in there by accident. Reply I agree that some parents may take things seemingly too far. However, kudos to them for being prepared. So many parents have no idea the risks their homes pose to their small children and even worse, have no idea what to do in the case of an emergency. At the very least I suggest becoming trained in basic First Aid and CPR. This way if something does happen, and all parents experience something at one point or another, you know how to handle the situation properly. Thanks for sharing your personal opinion. Living in fear is ridiculous, being prepared is great! Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Participate in this conversation via emailGet only replies to your comment, the best of the rest, as well as a daily recap of all comments on this post. No more than a few emails daily, which you can reply to/unsubscribe from directly from your inbox. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. 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