An Expert Guide To Baby-Proofing From A Parent Who Knows Better

by Sara Farrell Baker
Originally Published: 

As our baby boy began scooting and rolling, getting closer every moment to crawling and full-on mobility, I began scouring blogs, books, and Pinterest for all the baby-proofing info I could find.

Outlet covers were stuck all over the house. You need cabinet and drawer locks to keep the baby from drinking Pine-Sol and gripping a knife in each tiny fist. Lock your oven and fridge and your washer and dryer and toilet. No cords from lamps or blinds. Baby gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs and in the kitchen doorway and maybe all the doorways, just in case. Anchor everything to the wall. Put bumpers on the corners of countertops and tables. Bumpers on the sides of the entertainment console and coffee table. Put all your glass things away until your kids go off to college.

All of these things are great ideas and can give parents peace of mind when their precious bundle starts waddling and toddling and putting small things in their mouths and falling into anything except your arms. But babies are creative danger magnets and forces of destruction. They will not be thwarted by your safety purchases from Target. And even if they are completely safe, they will still be looking for ways to ruin your shit and many of your afternoons.

If you want to truly baby-proof your home, you’ve gotta get down on all fours, as close to the ground as you can, and try to see your house through your child’s eyes. Make it a game and go back and forth with your spouse, thinking of ways to mortally wound yourselves with the everyday objects around you. You may notice that your remote control has tiny buttons that can be chewed off and swallowed. Throw out your remote. Probably throw out the television too. Screens rot brains.

Do you have pets? Try placing the litter box on a high shelf, far out of reach for baby arms to grab handfuls of tasty cat turds. Glue mittens to all paws to prevent your baby from being scratched while teething on a tail. Teach your dog to drink through a straw so you can put a cover over the water bowl. Otherwise, your baby will be splashing around in the bowl of germy slobber water like it’s the fountain in the opener for Friends.

Ditch your toilet paper in favor of a fancy new bidet. The toilet paper will be constantly unraveled and decorating your home like a frat house otherwise. But also get a cover and lock for that bidet, and enjoy your power-washed butthole.

Opt for a higher table in the kitchen so it’s at standing-desk height and then burn all of your chairs. Chairs are just ladders in waiting. Same with barstools pulled up to your island. Burn them all. Or learn the hard way what happens when you try to murder a colony of ants with Terro, and your child climbs up onto the counter to dump out the infinitely sticky contents of the trap before smearing it all over your kitchen and himself. Your choice. Just be warned that this will happen on mornings when you are already running late for work.

Lay foam padding on the floor on anything your child can fall from. Beds, sofas, bookshelves, ceiling fans. Then wrap that padding around all door frames so your child doesn’t end up with a black eye from not completely clearing those door frames when running at full speed from room to room. Mount any scrap pieces to walls at your height so you don’t dent the drywall from banging your head against it in disbelief and exasperation at the reality that is now your life.

If possible, buy a house next door to a pediatrician. Kidnap a representative from poison control and keep them in a spacious pantry in case of emergencies. Have your doorways widened so you can wrap your child in several layers of bubble wrap and roll them from place to place.

And maybe buy some Band-Aids and antibacterial ointment in case the unthinkable (a scraped knee) should happen.

Good luck!

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