I’m Not Sold On This Baby Proofing Business

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home safetyEvery parent’s job, pretty much, is to not kill his or her baby. I have already been to the emergency room after Holt flew off the couch into the coffee table, splitting his chin open. The coffee table is no longer in the living room. But now, he’s starting to climb stairs and I thought, ‘Okay, I need a baby proofer.”

I was quite surprised when I asked for a reliable baby proofer on Facebook. My nine month old is already crawling and getting into everything. One moment, he’ll be on one side of the room, and a split second later he’s pretty much chewing on my computer wires on the opposite end. Half the responses on my Facebook gave me suggestions of reliable companies. The other commenter’s actually didn’t believe in baby proofing and basically said, in not these exact words, “He’ll learn once he falls down the stairs to not do that again.”

I wasn’t going to baby proof at all when my daughter was born. She was a good girl, who barely left my side and never went into anything. But even if I had pillows covering every shelf in my house, my son will just move those pillows and get into everything. I mean, he’s a baby! How does he know that behind pillows, I’m hiding things?

I ended up getting my daughter a baby proofer after one of my girlfriends said, “No, you need to hire this baby proofer. He’s the fucking hottest guy you will ever meet.” So what’s a first time mother to do when she hears about the “fucking hottest” baby proofer? Well, of course I hired him…immediately. How could I NOT meet a hot baby proofer?

He showed up at my house, looking like a model, and took me through my house pointing out all the dangers, while I thought, “How does a guy this hot become a baby proofer?” At one point, he pointed out a knob of a window. “She could turn that,” he said. I was like, “I guess she could,” and, “I didn’t even know there was a fucking window there!”

Baby proofers are fear mongers. They really are. They point out every single thing that could possibly go wrong. In any case, I did hire him to put up some very expensive, but beautiful baby gates (as beautiful as baby gates can be) that were so good that almost every day I would scream to my then fiancé, “I’m fucking stuck! I can’t open this goddamn gate. Can you rescue me?” We also got those metallic things for cupboards, which was also a pain in the ass. If I wanted to get, let’s say, a cloth, I would spend either twenty minutes trying to find the magnet to unlock the cupboard, or I would just rip it open because I was so frustrated.

But my son is different. He IS trouble. He gets into everything. So I called Kiddie Proofers and a man came over. (Not hot. Sigh.) He basically told me I’m going to have to rearrange my entire house, meaning that everything down low is going to have to be put up high, my bookshelves are going to needed to be strapped to the wall in case baby pulls himself up, and that my garbage needs to be emptied every day.

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  1. Justme

    March 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    We put gates on our stairs and those plastic locks on the cabinets. End of baby proofing.

    But we also have a child who doesn’t really get into things, especially after being told “no.”

  2. Sara

    March 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    So, I guess hiring a “baby proofer” is a thing? We just put up baby gates where appropriate, put plug covers over the electrical outlets and plastic covers on the doorknobs, etc. We did bring in professionals to mount our flat-screen TV on the wall and bolt our bookshelves to the walls, though.

    I think the “he’ll learn not to do that after he does it once and gets hurt” thing works sometimes and not others. I don’t really want my kid learning not to go down the stairs by falling down them, or learning not to play with knives by getting into our knife collection. Especially when they’re still too young to be reasonably expected to understand cause and effect, or to have any long-term memory. Until then, we just set things up so that she can’t get into dangerous things and we don’t have to chase her around saying “no! no!”

  3. Paul White

    March 4, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    eh. I figure I’ll just lock up the stuff that could kill him; the larger pet snakes, the firearms, the kitchen knives, etc. I’m not worried about stuff that, 999 times out 1000 just ends in a bruise. We all get bumped around a bit.

    • meteor_echo

      March 5, 2013 at 5:37 am

      Holy crap, you keep pet snakes? LVL UP in awesomeness for you!

    • Paul White

      March 5, 2013 at 9:03 am

      I’ve had pet snakes since I was 12; I’ve had my pet boa since I was 14 or so (not saying how old that makes her!)

  4. CrazyFor Kate

    March 4, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    All I know is, make sure your kid doesn’t find the grow-op. They do talk at school!

  5. chickadee

    March 4, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Two things. 1. “someone should be watching this baby at all times.” Indeed yes. That’s what goes along with a baby, especially as he moves into toddlerhood. Babies are kind of dumb about danger and their judgment sucks. 2. Your baby shouldn’t learn that flat irons are hot because he got a second- or third-degree burn from one. You have to beat the older children into compliance about keeping their stuff put away.

  6. Joan of Snark

    March 4, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Ugh, I hate the idea of living in home that has been taken over by Fisher-Price plastic nonsense, every hideous and unnecessary bouncer/jump/saucer/swing on the market and elastic padded coffee table covers. I just cannot deal with that. I agree: baby gate the stairs, cover the wrought iron banister of doom if you have one, and then watch your damn baby. I might be biased but my fun-sized human is pretty good company and I don’t mind the time my partner and I spend wrangling her. I hate the let’s-panic-about-babies mentality!

  7. Gangle

    March 5, 2013 at 2:50 am

    I didn’t even know that a ‘baby proofer’ was even a thing! I don’t always agree with you, Rebecca, but I do on this… You shouldn’t have to wrap the entire house in cotton wool and make your baby wear a helmet and shin pads to protect them… unless you live in a factory full of bio-hazardous waste.

  8. C.J.

    March 5, 2013 at 11:41 am

    We put gates at the stairs and moved the knives up, that’s it. I don’t believe baby proofing is a good idea. Better to house proof the baby so if something accidently gets left out or when visiting people who don’t have a baby you don’t have too worry as much. We house proofed the babies by watching them and telling them not to touch, eventually they learned. When we opened bottles of household cleaners we made a big production about how gross they are instead of telling them not to touch.

  9. sparklesmcgee

    March 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    But no one can seriously have eyes on their baby all the time, surely? What if they’re playing happily alone and you want to make the bed or do laundry or, god forbid, sit down with a coffee and read the news headlines? Or do a poo?! I don’t think over the top baby proofing is necessary either, but lets not make those of us who don’t watch our kids every second of their waking moments feel like that should be possible!

  10. Ris

    May 24, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    When I was growing up, my mom ran a daycare. She actually put doors at the top and bottom of the stairs, mainly because we were monsters and would ram the Baby gates with our shoulders and topple down the stairs. There’s only so much you can do. So put the covers on the outlets. Child lock the cabinets and baby gate(or door) the stairs. But if you have a monster of a child like me(and I just know karma is going to come back to bite me. Thank God we don’t have stairs), the kid is going to get a couple bruises or a couple broken bones. Those things heal.

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