Sunday, 15 January 2012

Babyproofing... Or crazy-proofing?

As my curious and energetic 11-month-old continues his quest to touch, taste, grab, bite, feel, bounce off, climb and conquer every object and surface in our home, I find myself baby-proofing more than I ever thought possible.

There are those who believe that it's not a good idea to overdo the babyproofing thing, but rather to supervise and teach your children to respect their surroundings. I was one of those people until my son became mobile. And is he ever mobile. He's a speed-demon on hands and knees! And he wants it all.

So my house is becoming more like a fortress with every passing day. To paraphrase my mother-in-law, who had a similar experience with her own children, I don't want the only thing my son ever hears me say to be "no!"

I'm tired of peeling him away from potentially dangerous situations, rescuing him from slamming his fingers in drawers, trying to pull the television down onto himself and gnawing on my coffee table. His little teeth marks have left traces all over the house!

I can't help but wonder: Am I doing all this to keep him safe... Or to keep myself sane? Probably both!

So for those of who are embarking on this process for the first time, here are a few tips from my experience:

- Do the hands and knees test. Get down on the same level as your child and look for potential dangers.

- Place cleaning supplies, detergents, bleach, etc... on a high shelf or somewhere else out of reach. Same for medications and toiletries.

- Any small object narrower than a toilet paper roll presents a choking hazard for babies, so make sure the floors are clear when baby's crawling around.

- It was funny when the kids on Mad Men were playing with dry cleaning bags. But for crying out loud, keep the plastic bags away from the kiddies! My son eyes them hungrily, loving the sound, the feel, the forbidden allure....

There are so many more things to consider but here's what I've found: if a contraption exists for use in babyproofing, it is because babies will do the exact thing the contraption aims to protect them from. In other words, if your kid is anything like mine, he will stick his fingers in electrical outlets, pull down tall floor lamps and try to open every drawer and cabinet in sight.

One more thing: make sure you have the phone number for your local Poison Information Centre within reach because there will inevitably come a day when your child will ingest something questionable or scary. That day hasn't come in my house yet (knock on wood!) but if I know him, it's only a matter of time!

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