A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog about childproofing your home for pre-schoolers. In that entry, I also briefly discussed some of the measures parents employ in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their babies. I thought I might follow up by elaborating on various baby proofing measures, understanding that this is a particularly important topic for first time moms and dads. However, as important as it is to take necessary precautions to protect baby from the myriad number of dangers that lurk in the home, I have also been thinking that even in the most baby-proofed homes, babies seem to get into everything!
I must confess that having lived in small apartments during both of my children’s “getting into everything” phases, my baby proofing has been anything but expert. (And yes, there are experts that will come and baby proof the crap out of your house. Oh the ingenious people that prey on the sweet, sweet vulnerability and scared craplessness of new parents!) My methods have primarily consisted of keeping doors closed and repositioning furniture to effectively contain the baby in an area. While this has mostly worked, even in the cordoned off areas my children have managed to find trouble.
When my oldest son was around ten months old, he started walking and becoming ever harder to contain in his baby-proofed zone. One particular evening, he was toddling around his room as I was tidying up his toys, and I looked up to see that he was holding a pump bottle of Purell with the nozzle in his mouth. This bottle, I had incorrectly assumed, was safely out of his reach on top of the changing table. But with his newly acquired walking and tiptoeing skills, he had been able to reach up and knock the bottle down into his eager little hands.Needless to say, I freaked. I grabbed the bottle out of his mouth and ran immediately to the phone in the kitchen to call Poison Control. I dutifully recounted to the operator what had occurred, that I had thought that my son had probably not gotten more than a little Purell in his mouth, but that I was calling to be “safe.” I learned that in the event your little one drinks Purell, the main danger he faces is alcohol poisoning. I was thus advised that I should pay particular attention to whether my baby was “acting drunk.” Um, have you ever seen a baby who is just starting to walk?
In any event, I was confident enough that my son had only had a small amount of the Purell, and he was acting perfectly normal – confident enough to put him down beside me while I finished the phone call. In the time it took me to write on a notepad, “Pay attention if baby is acting drunk,” my son had managed to get into the covered recycling bin beside me, and was sucking on a nearly empty bottle of liquid dish soap like it was his beloved bottle. Before the operator from Poison Control could hang up I had to ask, “Ok, so I know what to look for with Purell ingestion, but what about Dish Soap?” I am surprised the helpful gentleman didn’t get off the phone with me and immediately call Child Protective Services.
Today I was unpacking groceries in my house as my children were playing on the floor. My older son started yelling, “Mom, mom! He’s eating the eggs!” I looked down to find that in the time it had taken me to unload the frozen goods into the freezer, my almost one year old son had opened up the carton of eggs, cracked one open on the floor, and was furiously trying to suck raw egg from its broken top. Ewww, Rocky, seriously?
I readily admit that I may not be the world’s most diligent baby proofer. In my defense, however, the examples I have cited above would have happened whether there were plugs in all of my outlets or locks on all my drawers (there are, mostly!). The truth is that your baby will reach an age where no object is high up enough, no toilet’s water is unappealing enough, and nothing is truly interesting to him if it isn’t sharp or dangerous. So my biggest baby proofing advice is to give yourself a break when your baby gets into something he shouldn’t. And maybe for the next year or so try not to turn your back on him for more than a second. I’m exhausted already. Sigh.
What crazy things has your baby gotten into? Does anyone have any advice for first-time parents baby proofing their homes? (Lord knows no one will take my advice!)