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CPS showed up at my door today. - Page 3

post #41 of 100
I "only" have four, but here's what works for us:

The front door is kept locked, as well as the front scren door. Additionally, there's a hook and eye waaaay up on the screen door. No one goes out the front door without me knowing about it.

The back door opens into a fenced yard. The gates are padlocked. So, if our three goes out there with his brother and sister (for some reason, he doesn't like going out alone), he's contained. Of course, this doesn't help the fence-climbing issue. I'm in luck because if Nicholas was doing something he wasn't supposed to, the other two would rat on him so fast, it would make his head spin.

Could you elicit the help of your older children and make it clear that if they leave the back door unlocked and the little ones are out with them, they need to help keep an eye on them and let you know if they're doing something not safe? Because from what you're describing, they should only be able to get out if someone older is out as well.

I know in our house we put a strong emphasis on the fact the it's everyone's job to keep our house a safe and loving place. If my older ones were leaving gates and doors unlocked, I would probably start enacting some natural consequences. And if my toddler was such a handfull that it would be too difficult or unreasonable for the older ones to keep an eye on him, I would carve out specific time for outside time everyday when I could go out and supervise. I'm actually going to need to do this anyway if I want my three-year-old to have sprinkler/wading pool time, because obviously it would be unreasonable to expect my eight- and six-year-olds to supervise that.

It does sound like you recognize that it's a real safety issue. Definitely document what you've done so far and maybe also brainstorm an action plan. Would a climber help your little climbers?

BTW, while I was typing this, Nicholas, my three, did try to escape. Luckily, the door was locked. I may add wind chimes as well, just as a safety precaution.

Last thing, you won't really know what the complaints are til they formally give you something, right? Here's hoping it ends up being something relatively easy.
post #42 of 100
to the OP.

Of course toddlers in the street is a bad thing, I think everyone here gets that.
I can look at my own life and find things that need improvement, as I am sure that everyone else who has posted on this thread does.

I am just lucky that Owen was never an escape artist. I have a friend whos son is a little Houdini. He could get out of just about anything. It was easier for her to figure out a solution because he was the oldest child. I can't imagine if I had older kids and 2 younger escape artists!!
It sounds like she is doing pretty good!

But I think that this thread shows us that people have very little sympathy for parents when their little ones do get outside-hence the fact that the OP had CPS show up at her door after a couple incidents.
Would it have been that hard for the neighbor to just come and talk to the OP and see if there was a real reason to call CPS??!!
post #43 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubfam View Post
But I think that this thread shows us that people have very little sympathy for parents when their little ones do get outside-hence the fact that the OP had CPS show up at her door after a couple incidents.
Would it have been that hard for the neighbor to just come and talk to the OP and see if there was a real reason to call CPS??!!
She said that the neighbors have talked to her.
post #44 of 100
Yikes!

First of all; *HUGS*

Worst nightmare, for sure! My oldest and youngest were/are escapists/explorers. We took every measure and then some! And still, you turn away and they are gone... or into something you never thought they would try to get into. *sigh* It is never ending stress with that type of child. I ran on pure adrenalin and no sleep with my oldest.

I am hoping a praying that CPS backs off and leaves you alone. I can barely imagine... You poor dear.

As for keeping the little ones IN... well, 3 locks is a good step, with the older kids it isn't enough though because they forget. Is there a way to block the door with a baby gate? Or maybe a baby coral of some type? The door alarm idea sounds good, jarring but good. I wish I had better ideas to offer. Knw that lots of us are thinking of you.
post #45 of 100
annettemarie, windchimes are such a fantastic idea! I will be getting some today. We also double lock the front door and a chain, double look the porch door and are constantly vigilent, and he is really quite honestly the most amazing child I have ever seen, so I can really relate to the op.

Here is an illustration that might help those who are having a tough time understanding how fast these kids are. My guy who was so sweetly looking at me, no more than two feet in front of me, while I blinked my eyes, managed to run to the fridge(which we also have locked, but he has subsequently figured it out) cracked 6 eggs on the floor ran back to me and when I opened my eyes(again, remember, I was just blinking, not playing hide and seek our anything) he says, with his raw egg hands raised in the air, Look Mama. In his mind he was cooking, in my mind I wondered how I had given birth to Houdini.
post #46 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Houdini View Post
The judgment from someone who isn't experienced with multiple children was cringe-worthy.

The judgment that all you have to do is watch them at all times, which btw is impossible once you have multiple kids, is cringe-worthy.

The judgment that you can just do xyz to make certain that an escape artist/climber can just be contained easily is cringe-worthy.

The idea that you can just tell an older child to close/lock the door and they will comply every time is naive. You may have one in the bunch that never forgets (my nine year is like this), but then you will have others that remember sometimes (my 10 year old), and then there are the ones that rarely remember (my 12 year old).

What do you think would be a good idea for helping the other kids remember to close/lock the door?
If someone posted that their toddler managed to escape to the street from their daycare three times, everyone would be telling the poster that was unacceptable and that she should change her daycare provider.
post #47 of 100
I was just thinking that if a mama posted how a little one got away from Grandma while she was babysitting and went into the street three times, there would be multiple posters suggesting that grammy never be allowed to babysit again.

As for what to do about it, it's seems clear that you need some kind of door inside or gate outside that locks or latches when it swings shut. Anyone old enough to go in and out by themselves should have a key or be tall enough to unlatch it.

Windows need to be secured all the time or only open from the top above the heads of tots. I heard on the news this AM about a local 3 year old who went out a third floor screen window. She's in critical care.
post #48 of 100
Maybe look into security doors. I usually go out the garage so the front door is always locked and cannot be open without a key. We also have one on the back sliding doors that is also always locked.

I'm sorry, this sucks.
post #49 of 100
Quote:
any kid who is too young to understand that he's jeopardizing his baby siblings life when he doesn't lock the door is too young to be allowed to go in and out without mama. You and/or your oldest and most responsible child will have to be the gatekeepers. You want out? Ask mama, mama will lock the door.

Use alot of language around the whole family to reinforce rules. When you go to the bathroom (taking the toddlers with you) remind everyone in the house, "I'll be in the bathroom for a minute. Don't go out until I get back, and don't open the door for anyone." Say that every single time, and the toddlers will soak up the rules, too.
My child is not an escape artist, but this seems like EXCELLENT advice to me.
post #50 of 100
The judgment in this thread really stinks.

To the OP: It sounds like you know the real safety issue here and I'm sure you'll get a lot of advice here if you weed through the rest of the posts.

The CPS thing certainly sucks. Good for you for knowing your rights!! I hope it is resolved quickly and as painlessly as possible.
post #51 of 100
At least 2 of my 3 ( and probably the 3rd, too, I'm not remembering) escaped at least once. It happens, it's life. Now of course, we try to minamize the chances but as long as there are humans involved there will be an error factor, too.

Hugs, mama. You are in my thoughts.
post #52 of 100
Just wanted to chime in (before I get up and go looking for where my 11 month old just crawled off to) - I used to babysit for a very nice family of 5 kids. One day the mom drove to get me and the dad was watching the kids. We are driving down their street and mom stops with a screech - there's the 2 year old sitting in the middle of the road. We scoop her up and procede to find the rest of the family - dad was helping the older kids, and no one noticed the baby had got out the front door. It *does* happen to nice people. I think we could cut people a little slack.

How about jingle bells on the doors - you know like you see in some stores? A dog with a loud bark in the yard might be really good - I know our dog would go crazy if someone tried to climb a fence. I just know that dog is going to save somebody's butt one of these days... well hello, baby's back!
post #53 of 100
Quote:
always locked and cannot be open without a key
I tried to get a locksmith to put these on our house and was told - duh! I can't believe it didn't occur to me - that it was a major fire safety hazard and he couldn't do it.

I think the OP can find some good suggestions around these boards, but man some of these posts are really making me : I'm picturing some of those moms having a few more kids (whoops! it's twins!) and having a kick from karma!
post #54 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by townmouse View Post
A child under the age of 4 *can* be kept in sight at all times. If you go upstairs, he goes. If you go to the garage, he goes. If you are loading the washer or hanging laundry or going to the bathroom or taking a shower or cooking supper: so is he. Have something for them to do in each room or area, but always keep them with you. I've done it, you can do it.

In the yard, if he doesn't stay near you, then explain to him, "You didn't stay with mama. Outside time is over, let's go in the house." Next time before you go in the yard, remind him. "We may not go by the street. Stay on this side of the tree (whatever) with mama or we will have to go right back in the house." and then enforce it.

As he gets older, lengthen the apron strings. Give him chances to prove he can stay where you left him without escaping. Use rewards, charts, stickers or whatever to get it into his little head.

Concerning the older kids: any kid who is too young to understand that he's jeopardizing his baby siblings life when he doesn't lock the door is too young to be allowed to go in and out without mama. You and/or your oldest and most responsible child will have to be the gatekeepers. You want out? Ask mama, mama will lock the door.

Use alot of language around the whole family to reinforce rules. When you go to the bathroom (taking the toddlers with you) remind everyone in the house, "I'll be in the bathroom for a minute. Don't go out until I get back, and don't open the door for anyone." Say that every single time, and the toddlers will soak up the rules, too.

This all sounds awful but it is not too harsh or extreme when you have babies in the street and neighbors calling CPS. And you can do it all lovingly, with a gentle voice. I did it, for several years. The boys are older, they don't even remember those days, and all they do remember is our fun, games, playtimes, togetherness, outings, etc.

I did not punish them for leaving doors unlocked or escaping. I took it as a warning to myself that I wasn't watching closely enough if that could happen. So I'd return to the previous level of supervision, and try again to expand his freedom in a month or two.
I like these ideas a lot. I have an escape artist too. It's a huge issue. There's only been one time he got out where I wasn't right on his tail, but it scared the crap out of me.

Our best solution has been a door chime. It's not like an alarm that keeps going and going and going and aggravates everyone so much that they're tempted to turn it off, more like something you'd hear in a small store-- chimes loudly twice, then quits, any time the door is opened. Jingle bells, windchimes, anything like that would work too....something to make you look up every time the door opens. The thing is, whatever you chose to alert you, it has to be loud enough to be heard anywhere in the house, and has to be used consistently. The time ds got out, it was through a door that didn't have anything on it. We're fixing that ASAP. When he figures out a.) how to reach the box and 2.) the code to turn it on and off, we may have problems, but so far, that hasn't happened and he's almost 6 and fairly tech savvy. If you'd like a link to the model we use (I'm pretty sure we got it at Target), just let me know and I'll dig something up.

The fence climbing, boy, I don't even know what to tell you. Is it at all in the budget to build a taller or harder to climb fence? I know that's pretty extreme, but 2 and 3 yr olds escaping unnoticed is something so scary and dangerous, I'd be willing to take extreme measures if it were at all within my abilities to do so.

to you. I hope this all blows over quickly and uneventfully.
post #55 of 100
WOW! I know the OP was looking for support and advice...not a hell storm! Geez! Anyways, good luck to you on finding a solution. I think the older ones shouldn't be allowed to leave without momma's permission is a great idea and if they forget to ask, they don't get to go out the next day or something...this would solve a lot I think....might drive you nuts on the days they have to stay inside all day but I think they would get the point pretty quickly if they love playing outside. I only have one so far but she's already an escape artist! I will be taking all this down mentally for the next for years! Good luck!
post #56 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teensy View Post
I tried to get a locksmith to put these on our house and was told - duh! I can't believe it didn't occur to me - that it was a major fire safety hazard and he couldn't do it.

I think the OP can find some good suggestions around these boards, but man some of these posts are really making me : I'm picturing some of those moms having a few more kids (whoops! it's twins!) and having a kick from karma!
I've worried about this too, but there is always the garage that we can get out of and we also have a key hanging up right next to the door on the wall that the kids cannot reach. So, I'm not worried about fires. I know they do happen, but not very often and we have taken the proper precautions to ensure our safety. They sell these doors right at Home Depot so I'm sure I'm not the only one who was "stupid" enough to get one.
post #57 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by offwing View Post
Windows need to be secured all the time or only open from the top above the heads of tots. I heard on the news this AM about a local 3 year old who went out a third floor screen window. She's in critical care.
I find this amusing. The only way to keep a lock above my nephew's head was to get rid of any furniture that he had a prayer of moving around...including all chairs. A lock that he couldn't reach was a game - that's all it ever was.

Am I saying my sister should have just given up? Not at all...but I certainly understood, from observation, that her best efforts weren't ever going to be enough. She once walked into the kitchen to get him something from the fridge. He was right behind her. She'd just finished chopping whatever it was when there was a knock on her door...it was a city work crew, asking if a small boy in a diaper and a boot lived here and whether he was inside. While she was cutting something, he'd gone back into the living room, climbed onto the window frame, opened the latch, put on one boot ( ) and bolted outside. When the city crew came to get him, he ran back in. She was chopping a single piece of fruit! I've never had a true escape artist, and I hope I never do.
post #58 of 100
Dear UCmama2many:

I wish you all the best. You've received a lot of impractical and judgemental responses here. I agree with several of the refutes to those.

I can totally empathize. My now-2.5-year-old started escaping double-locked doors last fall. Winter appeared to have cured him, but you know what people say about "spring fever". . .

We have had two different neighbours each return him home once in the past year. We've also had a couple of times where he escaped (older sister forgot to secure door, etc) and we found him next-door at our neighbour/friend's (good thing she has a really appealing backyard full of toys)!

Since you've continually escalated your security system, I thought the most helpful advice you got was from the mama who kindly insisted that her 4-year-old was never out of her sight. There are all kinds of reasons why this would not work for me, including a modicum of attempting to preserve my own sanity. (and in spite of the wink, I'm not simply kidding on that point). But I appreciate her detailed and thoughtful response. Perhaps her style will work for you.

On the other hand, I took a different approach. Since our efforts to reinforce the doors are only somewhat successful (we are now securing the locked doors with knives in the top trim), I concentrated on what sort of training/parenting I could do for the inevitable escape - even if it only ever happens one more time!

I have put a lot of effort into teaching our little guy about crossing the street safely. He is now so hyper-conscious that he is far better at crossing the street than his 4.5-year-old sister and is downright scared of vehicle sounds! (ie. He hears a truck accelerate from 2 blocks away and he's a scrambling bunny right back onto our front porch, even though he was standing in our lawn, 25 feet from the curb when he heard the truck).

We have also done a lot around training him to stay in our frontyard and sideyard if he is for some reason outside the house and not in our fenced-in backyard. I know a 2.5-year-old isn't compromising in any sort of rational way, but this seems to be working. He feels like a big boy to be outside (not within the fence) with his older sisters, yet he makes ZERO effort to leave their company and head for the edge of the lawn, the back alley, the street, etc.

I just think it's prudent to prepare for the "what if" rather than directing every bit of energy into trying to ensure "what if" could never, ever happen.

There was also a comment that it's a natural next step for a neighbour who has brought a child home once to call CPS if child escapes a second time. Sorry, I think there's lots of room between "0 and 60"! Being a good neighbour usually implies helpfulness and friendliness. I'd certainly be willing to steer a neighbour child home several times. Being neighbourly may also include offering to take a little houdini out on an errand to the corner store so he gets that "escape-itch" scratched. It might also include asking the busy mom if she needs help with anything in the house: Prior to adopting the knife-in-trim "security system" we had bought a hook to add to the door. But our house is crazy: kids 6, 4, 2, and baby twins, so we just weren't getting it installed. Yeah, I know, it's a 5-minute job.

My last piece of advice to you, UCmama2many, is to consider moving. I know people often throw that one out as a smart-aleck response to a problem. But yeesh! Who needs neighbours like that!? Moving is an extreme answer, but sometimes a necessary one. You may well be better served (in all kinds of ways) by moving to a less-populated area, or a community with a different mindset.

Good luck.
post #59 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
If someone posted that their toddler managed to escape to the street from their daycare three times, everyone would be telling the poster that was unacceptable and that she should change her daycare provider.
Really couldn't answer that one as I have no idea how daycares are set up, but I would say most have security measures in place. We have gone to Pre-K's that had younger ones and there is a locking door that requires a key card to get in and out.

As far as home daycare....again no idea how they are set up, but I would guess they have security measures in place as well.

This mama is setting extra measures in place which is what she can do as she tries to teach the kids the safety aspects.

The poster asked what was judgmental about her post and I answered with what my opinion was.
post #60 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by ManitobaMom View Post
Since our efforts to reinforce the doors are only somewhat successful (we are now securing the locked doors with knives in the top trim),
Hey - my sister did that, too.

Quote:
There was also a comment that it's a natural next step for a neighbour who has brought a child home once to call CPS if child escapes a second time. Sorry, I think there's lots of room between "0 and 60"! Being a good neighbour usually implies helpfulness and friendliness. I'd certainly be willing to steer a neighbour child home several times.
....

My last piece of advice to you, UCmama2many, is to consider moving. I know people often throw that one out as a smart-aleck response to a problem. But yeesh! Who needs neighbours like that!?
I think the fact that the original complaint also included an unfounded accusation of education neglect proves that this wasn't about being neighbourly.
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