"I don't babyproof my house . . ." - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So last night my friend says "I don't baby-proof my house, I house-proof my babies."

Then she showed me the cleaners in the (unlocked) cabinet under her kitchen sink, and mentioned how she doesn't bother to cover her outlets or take any such precautions. Her next line "I've never had any problem."

She has four kids, ages 6 mos - 5 yrs. Apparently she feels she teaches them sufficiently how to stay away from danger, but I'm thinking HOW? How can she be sure? And as I'm watching her kids run eagerly through the house, and watching her 6mo-old starting to hitch up on her knees, preparing to crawl, and realizing you can never have your eyes/hands on all those kids all the time, I just got to wondering . . .

What would you say to her?

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#2 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 04:36 PM
 
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Probably nothing. She has four kids and is pretty committed to not baby proofing. I don't think anything you say will change her mind. I am not the most avid baby-proofing mom but I do the cabinet lock thing.

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#3 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 04:39 PM
 
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"Well good for you!" that's what I'd say. I have a few friends of this mindset, and they all have happy healthy children. Now, I don't trust myself enough to live that way, but that's me.
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#4 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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I don't babyproof. We do have a baby gate up near one stairwell since we moved but only because it's the first time we've needed it.

I wouldn't waste your time trying to say anything to her honestly. It's likely to come across as you critiquing her parenting as opposed to be concerned about general safety.

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#5 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 04:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sarahope View Post
What would you say to her?
"Why don't we get together at my house from now on?"

I agree - she hasn't had a problem yet. Some kids are naturally more inquisitive, adventurous and dextrous than others. Some are more spirited and more likely to test limits.

Although, I can promise you from experience that little baby fingers do not fit in electrical outlets. A variety of household utensils will fit fine though.
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#6 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 04:48 PM
 
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I didn't put the tweezers in the outlet until I was 6 or 7 years old... lucky me, the power was out!

We're expecting #2 in September, and we have DS who will almost be 4 then . . . Do I need to take away all of the tiny things DS has that a crawler might put in their mouths?

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#7 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hmm, thanks guys. I really value your comments. I didn't say anything at the time, because I didn't want to be critical, and also because I wasn't really sure if it was in fact an issue. I mean, her kids are in fact healthy and alive and well But it's easy to be scared and paranoid after hearing about household accidents. I haven't yet learned where one draws the line, kwim?

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#8 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sarahope View Post
So last night my friend says "I don't baby-proof my house, I house-proof my babies."

Then she showed me the cleaners in the (unlocked) cabinet under her kitchen sink, and mentioned how she doesn't bother to cover her outlets or take any such precautions. Her next line "I've never had any problem."

She has four kids, ages 6 mos - 5 yrs. Apparently she feels she teaches them sufficiently how to stay away from danger, but I'm thinking HOW? How can she be sure? And as I'm watching her kids run eagerly through the house, and watching her 6mo-old starting to hitch up on her knees, preparing to crawl, and realizing you can never have your eyes/hands on all those kids all the time, my thought was instantly Yah, you haven't had a problem YET!!

What would you say to her?
I think this is a legitimate perspective, and that it can be more safety-conscious than thorough baby-proofing in the long run. Family friends who have this perspective point to the case of their niece, who grew up in a baby-proofed house and managed to stick a paper clip in an outlet in an airport at the age of 3 or 4 because she hadn't encountered an un-babyproofed outlet at home, so there wasn't as much ongoing dialogue on the topic.

We are somewhere in the middle--I never babyproofed for my now-6-year-old, but may well have to for this baby. I think the necessity to babyproof is also quite contextual and child- (and family-) specific (now 6-year-old was either immediately supervised or babyworn all the time.)
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#9 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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I don't baby proof my house either. I live with roomates who are impossible to look after so I just keep the room I live in baby/toddler proof and either wear my dd in the rest of the house or use the one babygate I have to keep her in the kitchen or bathroom while I am in there. When she wants to walk around while I'm just hanging out I put her wrap on her waist like a toddler leash so she doesn't stray more than a couple feet away. If I lived alone I would babyproof so she could roam more but I still think I'd be vigilant and keep an eye on her or keep her in the same room as I.

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#10 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 04:58 PM
 
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Nothing.

I don't baby proof either, never did. I have no lock on my cabinet below my sink (where the cleaners are). I can't see any reason why I should have one, since I'm not exactly into having my babies roam the house unattended to anyways. They have gone to the cupboard, I stood there while they pulled everything out of it, I watched as they looked at each bottle. I told them what it was for, and and it all illustrated why they shouldn't be interested in it. They saw how boring and unmysterious it was, and they moved on.

Maybe its how my house is laid out, I don't know. I can see everything they are up to. I don't really have any intentions on letting babies that young roam a kitchen alone anyways.
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#11 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 05:00 PM
 
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What would you say to her?
I'd say "I Agree". House-proofed kids are a lot safer at grandparents house, and at other houses that are not babyproofed. I don't think it's fair to expect other people to babyproof their houses when my family comes to visit.

I WOULD lock up toxic cleaning materials, though. Wouldn't take a chance on leaving Draino about.
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#12 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 05:09 PM
 
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I probably wouldn't say anything but I'd keep a really good eye on my children or choose to have playdates at my house.

Our neighbor has a 19 mo. old and they refuse to baby proof. They let him fall down the stairs "a couple of times" because "that's how babies learn" I'm glad they made it clear to me that that's how they roll I'd never leave my kids there to play without me.

Lots of people think that accidents won't happen to them or their children. I think it's really naive to at least not reduce the risk.

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#13 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 05:09 PM
 
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I don't know if this is changing now - or if if it's just my weird family - but in Poland I don't know anyone who baby proofs their house. My aunt has 3 kids, at one point all under 5, and she didn't baby proof either. She did the same as your friend - house proofing her kids, versus the other way around. Which comes in handy, as we have a fairly large family, and the kids go from one aunt's house to another's when they need babysitting.

Mainly, in Poland, for a long time, there was NOTHING with which to baby proof your house. It wasn't until 1994 that the new constitution came into being, and things started looking up.

And, now, though stuff is available, people aren't used to it and just don't need it.

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#14 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 05:21 PM
 
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I'm not the biggest baby-proofer either, we have some cabinet locks and outlet covers, but do we have everything up and out of the way, ummm no. We are currently expecting our 2nd and DD will be 3 at the time, can I get every single thing of hers up with the baby, probably not. We do have gates, one to the laundry room because that's where the dogs eat and DD used to love the water and dog food, now it's just easier to keep her out of the mess back there. We have gates that block the stairs, we didn't go out and buy a bunch of fancy gates, DH made them out of plywood, put a lock on them and ta-da gates. We now have a lock on our screen door though, DD just escaped the other AM while DH and were asleep, she went to pick flowers-scary. Now we have a lock that she can't reach or figure out. My china cabinet isn't locked we've taught DD to stay out of it.

DH built shelves for all our cleaners and such when I was pg with DD because it was just easier for us to have them high up. I'm glad too because DD is a very curious little girl and who knows what she'd get into.

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#15 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 05:31 PM
 
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Some kids do just fine without babyproofing. My 1st dd was one of these kids. My 2nd? Oh hell no. Eval Knieval is her knickname for a reason. The few times I forgot to lock the cabinet under the sink(it has a few chemicals underneath like comet and windex) she practically ran to grab whatever was underneath and run off with it. I've caught her playing in the toilet, trying to jump off beds, she's pulled knives out of the dishwasher and walked away with them. She's a scary little girl : So we house-proof because she's pretty cute and we want her to stick around
Hmm, speaking of which, I need to move some stuff.

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#16 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 05:34 PM
 
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I WOULD lock up toxic cleaning materials, though. Wouldn't take a chance on leaving Draino about.
This.

To some extent I agree with teaching kids to be safe rather than padding all the corners. But I can't see leaving something lethal down at baby-level either. To me that's just asking for trouble. Something like the dish soap, fine. They get curious one day and taste... all that happens is the runs. But Poison Control gets calls all the time about kids who drink stuff that will kill them, so obviously the idea that "it won't happen with my kids" doesn't hold true.

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#17 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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I didn't babyproof my house. I have four kids, all have lived, none have swallowed windex or stuck a finger in an outlet.

I believe in redirection. Everywhere I go isn't "babyproofed", no sense in doing it here.

So I wouldn't have said anything. It's okay.

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#18 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 05:50 PM
 
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The only babyproofing we did was a lock on the one cabinet where the cleaning supplies are located. That is it, nothing else.

It wasn't intentional, we plodded along and one day realized that we never got around to it.

Part of the reason is life style, DS wouldn't be alone in areas where he could get into trouble due to the layout of our house and our habits.

Another part is his personality. To date he hasn't caused that sort of mischief.

Also, he is an only child so there is generally two adults monitoring him. I can imagine baby proofing needs increase with the number of children as well as their personalities.

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#19 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 06:01 PM
 
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You know, some kids test limits more than others. My dd was a cautious child. I baby proofed but she still hasn't figured out how to undo things like bottle caps to take swig of something or stick anything in an outlet (which some are covered, some aren't.) I really didn't HAVE to baby proof, I just did. My ds on the other hand has no problem opening bottle caps and as already tried to drink 409 I was using. He's really quick about it. And he has tried to stick thing in the outlets, but thankfully we stopped him. If I had been busy, he would have.

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#20 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 06:02 PM
 
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What I do is baby "organize." I want Jack to be able to go into all my cupboards and shelves and explore his environment so I just make sure there are only pots, pans, lids, tupperware etc. The entire downstairs is his to look at, touch, move, take, eat, grab, and bite. But I don't go all crazy with corner guards and outlet covers and gates and playpens.

I have one gate that blocks off the basement because that is where I keep all dangerous household chemicals.
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#21 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 06:10 PM
 
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I baby proof like mad, I could be like the babyproofing superhero. Kitchen is off limits, bathroom was too until we had a PLed kiddo. Even WITH the gate for the kitchen, all cabinets are locked just in case. Stairs are blocked. ETC. I want them to be able to roam the house without me hovering to make sure they aren't getting into anything. They have free access to the living room, dining room and bedrooms, there is literally NOTHING they can get into. (Not to say that I don't watch my kids, but I also am not paranoid if I have to answer the door and take my eyes off of them)

That said, we "house-proof" the kids when we go visiting and they rarely mess with anything at other people's houses either once they learned.

I don't think either method is wrong. But I will admit that when I have playdates at my house parents are a lot more relaxed letting their kids play because we are childproofed.

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#22 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 06:19 PM
 
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I would never leave toxic cleaners like bleach or drano in baby's reach, but then I don't usually have things like that in my house anyway. Anything that's so dangerous it could injure a baby who drinks it, is toxic enough to give me headaches if I smell small residues of it.

I do agree with the concept of "house proofing" kids, but I always did that alongside babyproofing, not in place of it. Why not talk about the dangers of putting forks in the outlet in addition to having a plastic outlet cover?

IME, "house proofing the child" works great for toddlers and preschoolers, but it's not reliable for newly crawling babies. I'm just trying to visualize how I could have possibly kept the 17mo from toddling into trouble while nursing the newborn if I didn't have a babyproofed house. It was quite doable when I only had one crawler/toddler and 2 big kids though.

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#23 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 06:21 PM
 
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I didn't babyproof my house. I have four kids, all have lived, none have swallowed windex or stuck a finger in an outlet.

I believe in redirection. Everywhere I go isn't "babyproofed", no sense in doing it here.

So I wouldn't have said anything. It's okay.
ITA.
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#24 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 06:24 PM
 
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I'm curious how one goes about "house proofing" little kids. My kid is interested in anything we won't let him have. Period. If it's been taken away, or he's been taken away from it, it is exciting and interesting and a must-have. Now, some stuff you can let kids play with and exhaust curiosity of if you supervise, but other stuff isn't something a kid should be even touching, even with supervision, because by their very nature they are dangerous... like knives or sharp scissors. I mean, yeah, teaching kids what's safe and not is all well and good, but I just can't imagine not doing SOME amount of babyproofing, even if that meant "not leaving the sharp scissors in the knitting basket on the floor."

Now, not putting on cabinet locks, etc., I kind of understand.

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#25 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 06:27 PM
 
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i think this is another facet of parenting where you have to do what's best for your child and your family. I'm somewhat babyproofed- but more for my own piece of mind. Like i have locks on the cabinets but that's just because I don't want to constantly clean up DS's messes from taking everything out. DS sees babyproofing as a challenge. I learned a while ago that I'm better off to just teach him how to use things safely than to try to get him to not touch certain things.
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#26 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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"not leaving the sharp scissors in the knitting basket on the floor."
Mine were never there to begin with. And I don't have curio cabinets full of faberge eggs either. I have stereo equipment, televisions, computers, cords, and other normal stuff - that they will come across in other people's homes - that they simply learned to stay away from - or as we call it, play properly with. Like we have an old VCR next to the DVD player - they can bang buttons all day long on that.

What I do have are lots of rooms to explore, stairs that aren't gated so baby can go upstairs (or downstairs!), and lots of stuff to touch and learn from. I don't have a box of razorblades sitting in the corner, with or without children in the house... lol! I guess my home has never NOT been "kid-friendly", but by learning redirection here, they easily adapt to my mother's Good Housekeeping Expensive Crap Everywhere home without any difficulty!

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#27 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 06:34 PM
 
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OP, have you read The Continuum Concept?

Bring back the old MDC
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#28 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 06:39 PM
 
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i do alot of redirecting and not much baby proofing. i don't really have a dangerous house though...no toxic cleaners, etc.

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#29 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 06:40 PM
 
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i think this is another facet of parenting where you have to do what's best for your child and your family. I'm somewhat babyproofed- but more for my own piece of mind. Like i have locks on the cabinets but that's just because I don't want to constantly clean up DS's messes from taking everything out. DS sees babyproofing as a challenge. I learned a while ago that I'm better off to just teach him how to use things safely than to try to get him to not touch certain things.
This is how we are, and how DS is. Certain things get locked up/put away, some things we work on using properly.

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Mine were never there to begin with. And I don't have curio cabinets full of faberge eggs either. I have stereo equipment, televisions, computers, cords, and other normal stuff - that they will come across in other people's homes - that they simply learned to stay away from - or as we call it, play properly with. Like we have an old VCR next to the DVD player - they can bang buttons all day long on that.

What I do have are lots of rooms to explore, stairs that aren't gated so baby can go upstairs (or downstairs!), and lots of stuff to touch and learn from. I don't have a box of razorblades sitting in the corner, with or without children in the house... lol! I guess my home has never NOT been "kid-friendly", but by learning redirection here, they easily adapt to my mother's Good Housekeeping Expensive Crap Everywhere home without any difficulty!
See, and that's kind of how we are, with a few exceptions. For example, electronics are up out of reach. DS is 13 months and "playing appropriately" is not yet in his lexicon, and I don't have the money to replace this kind of stuff should he lean on it wrong and snap something, for example. We have some old remotes and defunct cell phones for his button pushing pleasure. We also have ZERO luck with redirection, thus far. If he wants it, he wants it, and the noisiest, most interesting object dangled in front of him is not going to tear him away. Take him into another room, he turns around and goes back to exactly where he was. I guess it's just a personality thing, but I just couldn't deal with the constant screaming whenever I had to pull him away from the DVD player or computer cords. Maybe when he's older, I don't know. I just try and picture it now and it involves non-stop chasing, attempted-and-failed redirection, and crying. Like I said, probably a personality thing.

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#30 of 108 Old 06-16-2009, 06:43 PM
 
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One reason I have for keeping the house somewhat kid-proofed is that when you have kids, they have friends. And I have friends. Who have kids. It seems we have kids of every age come through our house in any given week and the stuff that our kids never think to get into are magnets for other kids, or their baby brothers and sisters. I finally started putting the birdcage and stand up in the bedroom when I knew people are coming over because kids can't seem to keep their fingers out of the cage and keep from knocking the stand over.

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