When I was pregnant, I didn’t give a whole lot of about babyproofing my house. It just wasn’t something that crossed my mind (I think I was more preoccupied with the ‘birth’ part). I didn’t put any baby proofing items on my registry, I didn’t purchase any gate or cabinet locks, and I didn’t purchase any outlet covers. About the only thing I did was manage to get my bed lowered off of bedrisers 5 days before his birth. I had met many parents that seemed overly concerned, they weren’t letting their children learn and experience life. So I was surprised when my grandmother had questions on how we were going to safety proof our house.
Why would I do that? That would be preventing him from learning. Ran into the stair balcony? Won’t do that again. Pinched his finger closing the door? That’ll take a few times but he’ll learn.
This isn’t to say our house was a death trap. Our cleaning supplies were already up high in a cabinet, our stray cords were mostly taken care of, and knives were out of sight, out of mind. I did plan on getting some stair guards and outlet covers, but really what else would I need?
As it turns out I needed a lot. After having my sweet baby, things changed. The sound of him crying gets me running, and it physically hurts just thinking about him in distress. Once her started crawling, I realized our house was a death trap. Wide railings on the top of our stairs, easy for a baby to fit through, a concrete and brick firewood holder under the stairs, perfect for an inquisitive baby… and litterboxes everywhere. Not so much a deathtrap, but man they really appeal to my son for some reason.
This is when it dawned on me. Babyproofing isn’t solely about keeping baby safe, it’s about keeping mom and dad sane. Sure, I could follow my son around everywhere and move him when he’s too close to a litterbox; and emptying out every single DVD from our entertainment center won’t hurt him. But having that cabinet locked and secured and the litterbox hidden away is good for me. It’s way less crying (mostly for him) and way less stuff for me to clean up. It’s peace of mind, that if for some reason, I don’t get to him in time, he’s not going to stick his finger in a light socket or go tumbling down the stairs. I know babyproofing isn’t a substitute for adult supervision, but it sure makes my life a little easier.
This isn’t to say he doesn’t have access to anything. I still believe learning comes from experience. It just means instead of boxes of aluminum foil in the bottom kitchen drawer, our hand towels and some rattles are there. It means our glassware is locked up, but the few pieces of plastic tupperware I have are easy access. It means I don’t have to spend more of my already limited time cleaning up 50 books that fell off the bookshelf or reroll toilet paper that’s been knocked down. It’s one of the few things that I can control (for now) and it makes such a huge difference in my sanity. Now if only I could figure out a self loading dishwasher… than my sanity would really be saved.
Did you babyproof your home? What was your biggest challenge?