Childproof your home — not your life

Guest post by Nikki Cupcake

DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!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?

Comments on Childproof your home — not your life

  1. 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. 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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 😉

  6. 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 🙂

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

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