S/O MIL Thread . . . Do YOU Childproof? How much? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 03:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Reading the MIL letter thread got me wondering . . . a lot of what was described are things that are normal for my house . . . no baby gates, doors leading to stairs left open (with a two year old, the basement door was closed until he showed me he could open it and go up and down the stairs unassisted), no outlet covers, no locks on kitchen drawers or cabinets, chemicals under the sink, etc. We don't have a lot of breakables around, but my mom and partner's mom do (and their houses are no more child-proofed than mine). I don't trail my kids around the house, either.

Are we the odd ones here? How much child proofing do you all do?

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#2 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 03:16 AM
 
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I've always thought it made more sense to do minimal childproofing and instead teach your kids to stay out of things that could be dangerous. DD is only 5 mos. old though, so I haven't had a chance to test out the theory yet. I think I will probably do outlet covers and keep the door to the basement closed, but that's about it.
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#3 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 03:43 AM
 
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I focus on chemicals/products that are unsafe to have in one's mouth even for a moment. I see no reason to keep such items around a child who may not have proper impulse control or who is curious. The potential ramifications just don't seem worth it when the only negative is the minimal trouble of moving potentially harmful substances to a higher shelf and out of reach of a newly mobile child.

We do some childproofing but we don't put our kids in a bubble either.
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#4 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 04:08 AM
 
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OP from the other thread here....
IMO chemicals should never be kept under the sink even if there is a cabinet latch those can fail the safest place for chemicals is over possibly your washer/dryer or your fridge, I think that once a child shows proficiency at opening doors all of the doors leading to the outside of the house should be secured and I think the bathroom should probably be secured, any drawer that has sharp/heavy/pointy things should probably have a latch and windows especially 2nd story should be locked not be easily climbed up to.....
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#5 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 04:13 AM
 
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I put the outlet covers on when my first was a baby. Same with the cupboard locks and stove locks. We didn't use anything for our next two and prob won't for the future ones.

We too believe in teaching the child, not baby proofing. We keep our cleaners and such on the top shelf of the pantry, but mostly because we use under the sink for the dish rack and recyclable drink containers.
I *might* get a baby gate but I doubt it, since the only stairs we have that a baby could fall down has a door.
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#6 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 04:31 AM
 
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All we really did when dd was tiny was lock up all the chemicals and medications. No outlet covers, toilet locks, etc. Dd was just 'easy' in that respect I guess; I never felt the need for any of it. This may change if the next baby is different.
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#7 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 05:49 AM
 
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We did outlet covers and put the heavy things that he could pull down away until he was older.

We didn't baby proof anything else. I never saw the point in it, redirection and careful watching worked very well for us.
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#8 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 08:39 AM
 
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In our case, DS1 has never been interested in outlets and we showed him early on how to use them properly, so they were never much of a "forbidden fruit". We let him exhaust his curiosity under close supervision and he seemed to quickly move on to the next thing. He also never put much in his mouth. We keep any chemicals and knives out of reach or out of the house, and only put things we are okay with him playing with in the cupboards. We removed all floor plants and lamps so he wouldn't pull them onto himself. We also moved our cats outside cause the litter was becoming an issue.
But to just walk in our house it would not look childproofed...no gates, cabinet locks, or corner pads. We also don't have stairs, which makes it all easier.

Now, DS2 seems to be much more into mouthing everything, and having 2 mobile babies makes supervision more difficult, so our house may look different in a few months depending on what we feel DS2 needs irt baby-proofing.
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#9 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 09:24 AM
 
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What has not been mentioned yet is that there is a huge difference from one child to another. DS is so cautious and careful that if I cross the street he says "No mommy, you MUST ALWAYS walk on the sidewalk or a car will run you over." I let him wander outside our yard and down the street because of his personality. DD - no way! She would run directly in the middle of the road, laughing the whole time and ignore me while I shout "STOP." I really think after the basics have been covered, different children require different levels of safety measures.

I consider myself middle of the road. Though I suppose everyone else does too? I do not put my dishwasher detergent in an open cabinet at childs level, but I allow 3yo DS to put the detergent into the washer when I am there.

No gate upstairs.
Downstairs is an open, wooden, spiral staircase to a cement floor - that is gated.
Some outlet covers, not always used.
Four locks to child level doors that has all the fine china and crystal, and one with junk food, candy....
Chemicals are kept on a high shelf.
"Not safe for children under 3" labels - totally ignored. Common sense is used instead.
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#10 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 09:39 AM
 
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We dont do much at all. I have a few cabinet locks left over from when I had my home daycare, but thats it. We dont have stairs, so that's not an issue. We did install a high lock on the front door, because dd1 likes to open it when she hears someone knock, and at 2 ,doesn't realize the danger in that. We dont use chemicals (we use vinegar/essential oils to clean) in the house, so that's not an issue either. The garage is the only place I would somewhat worry, but the chemicals/dangerous things are up very high, everything within her reach is somewhat safe. I guess I don't think many things are innately dangerous, like my sewing machine (this was mentioned in the other thread) I just show her the needle and how it moves and tell her honestly what could happen, same with the plugs. We have a few random plug covers, but more are exposed than not. She was not all that interested in them, so we never really bothered. We have a smallish house, and it's pretty open, so I can see her from wherever I am. I also am pretty vigilant about making sure I can see and hear her, because she is quick and curious (as any healthy toddler is!)

When it comes to others' houses, I don't expect them to baby-proof or be as mindful to dangers as I am. MIL's house is a disaster for a toddler. Open stairs, a pool (without a safety gate) tons of breakables, ect. I don't let dd run around there unless *I* or dh is with her. MIL just doesn't always have the common sense to stay with her on the patio near the pool. And I'm not a freak about it either, I don't hover. If she is near the pool, I simply tell her to walk slowly because the deck is slippery. I don't even go stand next to her, so long as I am within her sight range, so IF she fell in, I could go get her. I'd rather her fall in while I'm there and experience what it is to fall in a pool than to shelter her from it so much that she has no idea what a pool/body of water is like, you know? FTR, she does know how to swim, but still, I'm not comfortable with her out there by herself.

And as for the other things, I think it's just respectful to monitor your children at someone elses house. I certainly dont expect my MIL or my dad to know all the latest about chemicals, toys, dangers. And since they don't live with dd everyday, they have NO idea what she is capable of doing in half a second! So if we are there, I assign either myself or dh to watch her.
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#11 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 09:43 AM
 
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A lot of our babyproofing was for our convenience - cabinet locks so he couldn't pull out ALL the mixing bowls, but sometimes we'd open them so he could play. He knows what's in them and doesn't care for the most part. Chemicals are kept in the laundry room, but there are messy things like bulk spices, baking soda, etc. under so it's easiest for us to keep them locked.

We do outlet covers. We don't have breakables around, because we prefer to allow throwing in the house. We removed books from the lowest bookshelves until he could handle seeing them without ripping them open. Small stuff. The main one I guess that relates to the other thread is that we have a 2nd deadbolt on the front door, way high up.

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#12 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 09:46 AM
 
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I put the platic covers on electricity sockets, and a guard in the VCR. If I needed to baby proof more I would. But the house is naturally safe. I don'thave chemicals, the kids aren't left unsupervised for long periods of time. There isn't much to get into really.

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#13 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 09:57 AM
 
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Just enough to keep her safe while I pee or shower. Dd is ~ahem~ spunky and very curious, the complete opposite of her older brother. I have doorknob locks on the bathroom (after a toilet paper incident), ds's room (deathtrap for toddlers) and the front door because it technically has no lock. We had a gate at the stairs when she learned how to crawl, but started teaching her how to do the stairs once she was ready, about 10 months. There's also a cabinet lock under the kitchen sink. Other than that, she is pretty free to go where she wants.

My sister's husband had a fit when she first moved in his house because she left the fish food down where the kids could get it. The kids were 5 and 8 at the time. He was dead serious that it was dangerous for it to be down low, they could eat it. Um, yea, fish food isn't deadly, just gross and if your 8 and 5 year old don't know not to eat fish food, you have much bigger problems. There is a happy medium to safety and living a normal life.
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#14 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 10:19 AM
 
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I am a babyproofer. I have three kids that are three and under, and two toddlers, and it's just not possible for me to watch everybody all the time. The level of supervision I was able to provide when I had just DD1 meant that I didn't need much babyproofing, beyond putting away the most dangerous things, but with toddler twins it would be foolhardy not to make the house as safe as possible.

I like having everything babyproofed, because then I can sit and chill and hang out with them, and they're free to explore to the limits of their curiosity, and we don't have to spend time on no-no before they're ready to learn it anyway. I'm busy most of the day, and I don't have as much time as I used to to follow them around and guide their explorations.

I start teaching about things that are off limits when they're two, and bring back a few of my less precious breakables and a few other off-limits stuff that's minimally dangerous, and start teaching then. But before two, it's just more hassle than it's worth for me.

We are not fanatically babyproofed. No bump guards on tables or anything like that. But my stairs are closed off, and all my cords are concealed, and all the heavy furniture is bolted to the walls. I have latches on drawers or cupboards that contain dangerous things or breakables, and I keep dangerous items like medications well out of reach.

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#15 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 10:38 AM
 
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We childproofed when dd started to crawl. We put up a gate at the hallway to the basement stairs which are wood stairs leading to cement floor. We put all chemicals that were kept under the kitchen sink and put them in the laundry room. We removed all the breakables, candle holders and dust collectors to higher shelves because we got really tired of redirecting Dd every 2 minutes. It wasn't a big deal to change those things. It just made it easier on us and Dd.
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#16 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 10:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessy1019 View Post
Reading the MIL letter thread got me wondering . . . a lot of what was described are things that are normal for my house . . . no baby gates, doors leading to stairs left open (with a two year old, the basement door was closed until he showed me he could open it and go up and down the stairs unassisted), no outlet covers, no locks on kitchen drawers or cabinets, chemicals under the sink, etc. We don't have a lot of breakables around, but my mom and partner's mom do (and their houses are no more child-proofed than mine). I don't trail my kids around the house, either.

Are we the odd ones here? How much child proofing do you all do?
Your house sounds a lot like our house. It was hard when dd was a toddler, but since I was pretty much always with her she wasn't in any danger. My only concessions to childproofing were that I put medicines up where she couldn't reach them and I secured her 8 foot tall bookshelf to the wall. I also replaced the removable, tension baby gate at the top of the stairs with a permanent one. (The removable one had been for confining the dogs.)

Oh, and I also had a lock on the refrigerator, but that was for the cat. Don't ask.
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#17 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 10:42 AM
 
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We have a gate at the top of the stairs because they are really narrow and steep and a latch on the food cupboard because DD is forever getting food out and making a mess but other than that, nothing. She never once showed an interest in opening the cabinet underneath the sink where we keep our cleaning suppllies and chemicals so we've never locked it. Never did outlet covers or corner guards or toilet locks either.

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#18 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 10:44 AM
 
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We have a gate at the top of the stairs, one leading to the kitchen, outlet covers, and no breakables. Our kitchen is not proofed, mostly b/c thats where the dogs stay and the kids arent allowed around the dogs unsupervised so the only time they are in the kitchen is with an adult.

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#19 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 11:08 AM
 
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We have two cabinet locks in our entire house, one on the chemical cabinet, and the other on a cabinet that I don't want my 2-year-old getting into because there's so much junk in there. Other than making sure our big kids don't leave pennies or whatever on the floor, that's the extent of our babyproofing.
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#20 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 11:13 AM
 
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We have one baby gate we put at the bottom of the stairs when we are busy and can't pay attention though our 19 month old doesn't need it any more. We have a cupboard lock on the cupboard with our garbage, green, and blue bins, but that is because we don't want green bin waste all over, not for safety reasons. 1

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#21 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 11:37 AM
 
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We have outlet covers, but aren't always good about putting them back in we take it out to plug in the vacuum or whatever. We also have cabinet locks on the cupboard under the kitchen and bathroom sinks - they were already installed by the previous owner of the house, and since dd1 was 2.5 when we moved in we just left them there. It keeps them from playing in the garbage. Cleaning supplies are kept up out of their reach. We did have a gate on the top of our stairs for a while because the stairs started from the living room and it would have been easy for either girl to accidentally fall down them while playing. We took it down because dd1 started swinging on it and then dd2 started copying, so it was safer to not have the gate at all anymore, since we stopped closing it when dd2 was confident in going up and down the stairs. We also have doorknob covers on the outside doors just to keep them from running out without us noticing. We have also secured our tall bookshelves to the wall since both girls are climbers.
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#22 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 11:41 AM
 
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Oh yeah we secure furniture like bookshelves to the wall. When my dd was a toddler, she pulled the entire entertainment unit over on her. The coffee table prevented it from falling right on her. If it had have fallen on her, it would have killed her.

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#23 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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Not much. We do outlet covers on exposed outlets, a lock on the cabinet where the trash and cleaning supplies are (all of which are natural, non toxic). We do have a gate that we used to use to keep the kids away from the stairs but once they learned not to go near them without mama or daddy, we leave the gate down. I have a 21 month old who does just fine with the stairs. We do put the gate up at night so there's no wandering toddler, he can go to our room or his. Once he's used to that, we'll leave it down.
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#24 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 12:20 PM
 
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we don't do a lot of childproofing. I have latches on a few cabinets, the one with board games in it, the one with glass pots and pans, and the one with canned goods. my 4yo and 3yo know how to open them so they can get a game out if they want, and my 16 month old is free to play in the other cabinets. I do use outlet covers in the playroom, mostly because my MIL has given me about 200 of them over the years. We have had a couple of babygates over the years, usually I put one up at the bottom of the stairs when I have a new crawler.

I have three very different kids, but they all seem to pretty much stay out of trouble. I don't track them around the house and they pretty much roam free, though I do like to keep the baby on the same level as me.
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#25 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 12:36 PM
 
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When ds was just crawling/walking we had a maze of babygates. We have three sets of stairs and an open floorplan (no doors to shut). One set of stairs are what I call "the stairs of death", open stairs with no backs that a small child could easily fit through, leading to a loft with a railing that a large adult could easily fit through. This area is under construction currently and is still gated off.

We switched all of the floor level outlet covers with those ones that you have to slide the plug over to the side before you push it in. It's easier than dealing with outlet caps and having to remember to put them back in. Plus if something gets unplugged accidently, the outlet is covered automatically. We had some baby locks on cabinets, but we've remodeled the kitchen since then, so we don't have any now. Ds become a very cautious child, so I'm not worried about the kitchen stuff. We keep all chemicals well out of reach and all meds in a lock box.

Top heavy furniture is latched the wall. We have a lock of some sort that ds can't operate or can't reach on every outside door.
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#26 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 02:11 PM
 
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I put chemicals on a high shelf but that's about it.

My kids were not oppostional or adventurous that way though.

I never put screwdrivers away FE and my kids never once tried to put one in an electric outlet.

Kitchen knives are out of reach but that's it. The kids never bothered them.

I guess I didn't babyproof because I didn't need to.

I did watch the kids very closely when they were outside as our yard isn't fully fenced in.
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#27 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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OP from the other thread here....
IMO chemicals should never be kept under the sink even if there is a cabinet latch those can fail the safest place for chemicals is over possibly your washer/dryer or your fridge...
That really depends on the child in question. DD has no interest in anything under the sink, but loves climbing the washing machine, where she can get into the stuff stored above it. Fortunately, she's lost interest, and we don't have that many really noxious items, anyway.

We don't really childproof much. We've got a chain on the front door, because dd can open the deadbolt (she can't reach the chain), and we've got safety latches on a few of our kitchen drawers/cupboards. That's about it.

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#28 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 03:33 PM
 
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We removed stuff which could cause serious injury or death. So - we did babygate the dangerous stairs. We put the serious chemicals in a place where she just can't get to.

I don't trust the latches or other 'baby proofing' gadgets. I've seen them fail too many times.

So we simply removed things to places she has NO access to.

Beyond that - we don't really worry. I watch her.
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#29 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 03:44 PM
 
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We have a few cabinet locks (for convenience so they don't get strewn about) and I keep the dining/kitchen area gated off (my two yo loves the trash. I don't love cleaning it up.) I have a latch up high on the big kids' room so that I can latch them in if they don't want to be bothered by my toddler or if they're playing with something like magnetix that I really don't want them to have. I also have a gate around the computer because ds loves to somehow uninstall things. We don't do outlet covers, because they seem to attract my kids - they would leave them alone if there wasn't this thing there, begging them to figure out how to take it out, which they would do in about 30 seconds. We also have a guard over the tv buttons, because DS2 would sit there for hours and turn it off and on (not good for the tv, and annoying bother when you want to be watching tv and when you don't!)

We actually have more childproofing for my current toddler than I did for my others - DS1 was into a lot of things, but he was on only until he was 2 1/2, which meant it was easier to keep track of him. By the time DD came around, he was old enough to be reasoned with. DD never got into anything. DS2 likes to get into things, and I have two other kids and he's fast.
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#30 of 39 Old 03-25-2008, 04:03 PM
 
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Right now, the only thing we really do is put the chemicals up high where he can't reach them.

My child tends to be one of those kids who is very oppositional. For us, not babyproofing/hiding/restricting access to something he wants that is dangerous would lead to discipline that is not so gentle. If you talk to him about why he can't have it, or if he uses it, how to use it correctly, sometimes, if he is tired, he'll seek out the object and play with it the wrong way simply because you told him not to do it that way.

I am still learning about gentle discipline and for us, I am more inclined to practice GD if he can't get stuff he is not supposed to get.

I don't lock up all dangerous things, though. He is very good with scissors, and tends to be extremely careful when he cuts stuff. So it doesn't really serve any purpose to hide them because he knows how to use them. He's always extremely careful with sharp things.

I only put stuff out of reach for him if he has demonstrated on one or two occassions his unwillingness to use the item properly. (Usually if he makes one mistake I correct him on how to do it right. After that, a couple of times he'll wait till i'm paying attention to something else and willfully mess something up, or some such, usually when he's tired, to test his boundaries, and if it's one of those situations where someone (the ferret, the dog, himself, ) could end up seriously hurt if it continues, I'll put it away. He won't stop after he knows that he can get a rise out of me by doing it. It's easier on everyone to just put the object way up high out of reach.

I read the GD forum here a lot, and I have learned from the folks in there that for toddlers and babies, a lot of GD = prevention.

Sometimes I find it contrasting when so many folks in here say, "Oh, don't hide items, teach the child how to use it" and when things are not hidden and something bad happens that the mom feels the need to discipline, it is heard, "Oh, why did the toddler have access to this particular object in the first place? Prevention is key."

Well, depending on the object's danger, and my child's interest in it, I lean towards the prevention moreso than towards teaching him about it, because he is too young to always understand and control his impulses on how to use certain objects correctly and I hide them for his safety. (Or, more recently, for the ferrets' safety. )
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