Did you know you can childproof every single electrical outlet in your home for just $20 each? And a $30 bracket will harness that lightweight (unsightly) lethal flat screen television? There are also electric cord shorteners, doorknob covers, toilet seat locks and childproof window treatments. Remember when everyone was up in arms over the (now quaint) childproofing of pill bottles?
It seems that while I was quietly mastering the push down twist of my vitamin bottle, the world has become a perilous, Raiders of the Lost Ark place for small children. Evidently even baby monitors are lethal. An aside; I never really understood the baby monitor. How big is someone’s home that they can’t hear the ear piercing cry of a child? Or are they used to quell paranoia? What is that baby saying about you while it feigns a nap, huh? While we’re on the subject of my limited understandings; what’s with the toilet seat lock? Is it a drowning concern? A flushing of valuable items concern? I am in need of enlightenment.
The advent of those little plastic outlet covers have no doubt saved many little ones from electrocution. (Reportedly, they are too difficult for today’s parent to use and hence the $20 per outlet solution.) Kitchens and medicine cabinets will always demand rethinking. Unless your little one has rappelling gear, moving everything on up should solve any problems. When my brother was at his most dangerous and destructible, cleaning solutions went into the upper cabinets and foods went into the lower. It went well until we awoke to find him happily playing in a pile of grains on the kitchen floor. That night, hook and eye locks were installed on the kitchen doors. Problem solved.
Like exposure to dirt and germs, children need minor controlled exposure to cause and effect. A bump on the head, scraped knee, burned finger tip are the ways we learn our (and the world’s) limitations. Might I suggest that parents who feel they are living in a house of horrors, introduce themselves to a playpen.
Wait for it. There it is. “THERE IS NO PRICE ON SAFETY!” Look, I am safety girl. I took Robin’s admonition to Batman to; “buckle up for safety” quite seriously. But I also am a disciple of the principles of cost/benefit ratios. Confiscating my room service pots of jam are not keeping the passengers on my commuter flight any safer. That confiscation served to entertain a bored TSA elder in a one-horse town. Turning one’s own home into Fort Knox also contributes to a false sense of security. But even more detrimental is how it initiates an imbalance into the home. (Brace yourself, there’s gonna be outrage) Children don’t pay the rent/mortgage, adults do. It is the adults’ home and the children live there. If you’re still reading, why not set the tone when the little one first arrives? The baby can be contained (infant seat, playpen) both for his/her safety and your sanity. The world (particularly the corporate world) loves to make new parents feel insecure. The unsolicited advice starts pouring in at almost the moment of conception. May I please (perhaps be the first) to tell you that you are doing everything right. People have been surviving childhood for a very long time. Parenting is not a spectator sport. Relax, go snuggle with your little one in your home filled with sharp edges, it will all be fine.
*Stephen Sondheim – Sweeney Todd (1979)