Living Columns & Blogs

Safety first

It's been drilled into my head at work and then, to top if off, my husband works in safety. It's his job to go around and assess situations for safety.

Given this focus on safety in our lives, maybe not surprisingly, this article on Babble the other day filled me with fear... people rebelling against baby-proofing.

I expected lots of comments chastising the author, but at least the first 20 or so were for the most part in agreement.

I was floored.

I know there is some wiggle room in baby-proofing. People have to assess what is right for their families and for their children. And maybe my son (since we are still in the process of assessing my daughter) was just Mr. Get-Into-Everything.

A year ago, we were at my brother in laws house for Christmas. Little AB walked by carrying a screwdriver. I took it away and handed it to my brother-in-law.

"What's this?" he asked.

"Little AB had it," I said.

"Oh, you don't want him to have it?" he said (three children of his own -- and they fall on the not as into baby-proofing side of the fence).

"Not particularly," I told him.

I wasn't overly concerned about Little AB jabbing it in his throat, or impaling himself, though it was a possibility. Honestly, my first thought was "he is going to scratch up the walls and then stick it in the uncovered electrical socket."

I know my son.

I know my son well enough to keep all medicine (easily mistaken for candy from the eyes of a 3.5 year old), in the highest cabinet I can find and to not let him see where it is kept (since he understands chairs and ladders far too well).

I know my son well enough to know that he isn't going to drink the window cleaner, he is going to spray it all over every single surface. (Cabinet locks installed for my sanity.)

I know my son well enough to know that since the day he could reach the deadbolt, he could unlock it, open the door and leave at will, should he decide to. (Big ball doorknob locks on my doors to the outside.)

I learned when my son was about 18 months that he could reach up and open the oven with no regard to whether or not it was on. (Oven lock installed.)

I am learning that my daughter, like her mother, is a klutz. (Padding around the coffee table's sharp edge.)

I learned that toilet-seat locks are serious pains in the rear, no pun intended. (Sorry to all my guests who didn't know how to use them, they are gone and at least the ones we had were a useless waste of money.)

I have discovered what fun the Tupperware and pots and pans cabinets are to a toddler and that there really isn’t anything they can hurt themselves on in there. (Cabinet locks on select cabinets.)

I know that my daughter puts every single thing in her mouth. (Replacing door stops with one-piece units and my house is vacuumed regularly now.)

Maybe I go overboard with the safety and baby-proofing. But frankly, the thought of "what if" is enough to send me standing in front of the baby-proofing aisle at Home Depot looking for solutions.

Where do you stand?