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Be safe, but, you know, don’t overdo it. (National Baby Safety Month)

Sep07

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September is National Baby Safety month. I was unaware of this because I no longer have babies and there’s no way to keep your kids safe, only babies. I think October is actually “National Give It Up Month: Sink Or Swim”
Even when I had babies though, I tried to keep my head on straight about all the assorted baby safety gear one can purchase. I carefully evaluated the usefulness of purchases with a cynical eye.
thudguard.jpgTake for example, the Thudguard. From the site: “Learning to walk in a world of hard surfaces can turn a special moment into a heart rendering incident in a flash.”
bubblewrap.JPG Cable news and Parents magazine aren’t enough to scare parents silly, we now have products with copy designed to terrorize new parents. Instead of the Thudguard, which leaves all of your child’s limbs and delicate chest area vulnerable to serious injury, I suggest wrapping your entire living space in bubble wrap.
I don’t think it’s entirely silly to be safe with your kids, but I think there’s an industry which preys on one of a parent’s biggest fears: a preventable accident hurting our baby. With that in mind, it’s a little easier to navigate the wide world of baby safety.
KidsHealth.jpgKidsHealth.org is a website devoted to health information for children from before birth to the teen years. Their safety section offers lots of articles on baby safety related topics like choosing a safe crib and child proofing your home. Best of all the information is provided without the sensationalism often found when discussing keeping children safe.
As my babies started to be mobile we covered our outlets and locked a few cabinets which could be fatal if gotten into. When deciding what we’d lock up or put out of reach we used this set of questions.
1) Could the babies be maimed or die from playing with this while I’m not looking?
2) Would I be devastated if this got broken?
3) Is there something I can do, short of purchasing a ‘safety device’, to prevent my child from breaking something or being hurt by it?
cabinetlock.jpgIf the answer to #1 was yes, we pursued appropriate safety devices, like a cabinet latch for our cleaning supplies. Or, as in the case of the knobs from our stove, we simply pulled the knobs off and stored them in the drawer next to the stove.
Parenthacks is a great place to watch for non-commercial babyproofing. Tennis balls to cushion sharp corners? Brilliant. Wine corks? How elegant.
Probably our biggest safety device as our babies grew was the word ‘No’. They learned pretty quick which things were off limits, no Thudguard necessary.

About the author

Melissa Summers

http://www.suburbanbliss.net/
Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa's Buzz Off. You can find her daily on her blog, Suburban Bliss.


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13 Responses to “Be safe, but, you know, don’t overdo it. (National Baby Safety Month)”

  1. Zoot Sep 07 at 12:52 pm Reply Reply

    We can not really “childproof” our house in the practical sense because we have five pets. If we turned our heads a cat tail could be yanked and a face could be scratched. So – we have kinda adopted the “never take your eyes off the baby” approach which is probably not healthy, but it saves us money on helmets.

  2. Kate Sep 07 at 9:24 pm Reply Reply

    We also found that the word “no” followed by some bribing of smarties and gummy bears helped us childproof our home. Best kind of parenting, that is.

  3. Paula Sep 08 at 8:42 am Reply Reply

    The thudguard? Oh my gosh….I really think people can really overdo the safety items. I mean hiring someone to come to your house and tell you what to childproof? Really? To me that seems to be a waste of money. But if it were up to my husband my kids would live in a bubble.

  4. Kismet Sep 08 at 11:54 pm Reply Reply

    Hey, I need that job. I’d be great at it :)
    ~K!

  5. Nicole Sep 09 at 1:12 pm Reply Reply

    The best part is that YOU get to drink the wine first :)
    Of course, a couple of weeks ago, we got a bottle of some of our favourite wine, which is normally corked.
    And it was a screw-top. Bizarre. And we’re such wine snobs that we refuse to drink any wine that comes in a box or with a screwtop.
    Of course we drank THAT bottle of wine, but still

  6. Gary Blackhall Sep 11 at 2:40 am Reply Reply

    Personally, I think the Thudguard is a long awaited product, perhaps a bit ahead of its time. As an children’s emergency room assistant, I all to often see baby head injuries so this, if used correctly, could really help reduce the number of lacerations and bruises we see every day.

  7. erika Sep 12 at 7:45 am Reply Reply

    Yes, but have you seen the Bumper Bonnet?

  8. Madeleine Sep 13 at 9:58 pm Reply Reply

    Personally, I’m very concerned that those parents who don’t buy Thudguards are actually ripping the hearts out of their chests (or is it their toddlers’ chests?) and cooking them down to make soap.
    (They meant “heart rending” not “heart rendering.”)

  9. Gail Mearns Sep 14 at 5:36 am Reply Reply

    I wondered what the difference was between the thudguard and bumper bonnet and it seems to be price and one has impact test approval and the other is just a tie-on cushion! But both will “render” you suspect!

  10. erika Sep 14 at 2:07 pm Reply Reply

    I think the inventor of the Bumper Bonnet strapped a diaper on his/her child’s head and thought – now *that’s* a great idea!

  11. jennifer Mar 20 at 2:08 am Reply Reply

    I’m all for childproofing my home, but how on Earth does one “childproof” a hard surface floor? Do you suggest placing cork board over the entire floor while baby learns to walk?
    Many babies have suffered serious injuries from smashing their heads once, or after several falls. As ANY parent knows, an accident can happen with you RIGHT there.
    The head is more important than a limb in my book. A broken arm will not cause a brain injury or a lifelong learning disability.
    And to the parent who gives a baby/child gummy bears, 2 words, NUTRITION SEMINAR.

  12. Bruno May 17 at 11:37 pm Reply Reply

    @ Gary Blackhall above: you work in an emergency room, so you obviously see a biased sample. You don’t see the majority of children who DON’T have serious injuries while living life (which is what I call learning to walk W/O a helmet for a 12 month old)
    @ Jennifer: “Many babies have suffered injuries”? Sure, but how many MORE babies haven’t? It’s all about calculating risk. And even though gummy bears have no nutritional value, there is absolutely no point in “making every bite count”. A gummy bear now and then is absolutely fine, and allows kids to live in a happier world where not everything is striving towards perfection. Two words, CHILL OUT. :-)

  13. c Aug 18 at 2:13 pm Reply Reply

    Thudguards aren’t evil. Parents who use them for no reason are stupid…but there are some of us who have children who have legitimate reasons for owning this product. Take for example my daughter…to see her in the park, you’d think she was a normal healthy kid. But she had a stroke at a week of age and has a bleeding disorder…she is at HIGH risk of a repeat stroke, should she fall and hit her head too hard…so we are under doctor’s orders to use it until she’s 18 months. Don’t see a kid in one of these and just get all judgemental.
    _____________
    Editor: fair point. that point in the article is more commentary on how the marketing of safety products has gotten out of control.

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