Childrearing

I’m Not Sold On This Baby Proofing Business

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He scared the crap out of me, looking at my custom made banisters, which are wrought iron with flowery swirls that apparently are now banned in new houses. “See, he could climb on this swirl and then up this on and then fall over to the first floor,” baby proofer said. I hadn’t even thought about that. But I almost had a heart attack, thinking about it. The next day I got an invoice for $1600 for all the things he suggested for ten rooms in my house, including coverings for my fireplaces.

I never really believed in baby proofing, aside from baby gates. The truth is, someone should be watching the baby at all times, especially this one since we know his curious personality. I can easily move all the wires up to a higher shelf. I mean, yes, the little dude can move fast. But if I was going to baby proof the entire house with all the baby proofers suggestions, I swear, I’d feel like I was living in an insane asylum with padded walls. And, even if we did cover the fireplaces, am I still going to leave the baby in a room with a fire going on? Hum, no.

The truth is, I hurt myself all the time in my house. It needs to be adult proofed more than it needs to be baby proofed. I stub my toe almost every day on the same chair. My clothing racks in my bedroom are so full, they collapse. Sometimes on top of me. I somehow manage to bang my head on my bedside table when I’m trying to turn off my alarm. And my hardwood floors are so slippery that sometimes I need to go barefoot just to walk to the kitchen without falling.

I do believe babies will learn on their own what they should and shouldn’t get into. You just have to be diligent parents as well. Crawl around like a baby, and you will see what the baby sees. And, yes, he will get hurt, but babies are dumb. Then they become not so dumb.

My daughter, when she was a baby, crawled across the couch and fell off because she didn’t realize the couch ended. She never did that again. So, yes, I will get some Plexiglas to cover my banisters and some baby gates. But the rest is up to my family to make sure our baby doesn’t pick up a hot hair straightener or get his hands stuck in a drawer. You can baby proof your entire house, but I still think that babies will get into something.

Of course, if this baby proofer looked as hot as the one that was around when my daughter was a baby, who knows. Maybe I would shell out the $1600.

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13 Comments

  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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