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