She Says… An Accident Waiting to Happen

Since we’re moving in May, there are lots of things that we are putting off doing now by sticking them on the “after we move” bucket list. One of those things (ahem, until recently) was proper babyproofing. Since Owen still hasn’t quite figured out the intricacies of crawling, he’s still under close supervision. We don’t need to be locking up the kitchen cabinets or cordoning off the stairs just yet. He logrolls around from toy to toy, and pulls up to a stand and cruises along furniture, but since he can’t get very far without my help, I sort of considered myself safe in the babyproofing department.

WRONG!

Yesterday, with me literally an arm’s reach away and watching him every second, he we broke: 1. the glass french press that Benjamin uses to make coffee every morning, 2. a glass coaster on our coffee table (that seemed WAY too thick to break… but alas, wrong again!), 3. a piece of a plastic water bottle. As if that wasn’t enough, Owen couldn’t get enough of tugging on power cords and trying to pull up to a stand on plugs. And sticking his chubby, drool-covered hands as close as he could get to every outlet he saw. And pulling all of the CD’s and CD covers out from beside his stereo, tossing them aside once he’d slimed and tasted each one.

I think I finally understand why people say “just you wait until he’s crawling/walking/whatever”. While I don’t agree with that sort of warning (I’m pretty certain we’re going to have just as much fun with this stage as we have with all of the others so far), I totally get how exhausting it is just to keep those little fingers out of electrical sockets! And Owen’s not even really crawling or walking unassisted yet. Phew.

So I think some babyproofing is in order here. Before we move. Because I’m not sure we can make it through the next two days without more things breaking, let alone the next month and a half.

I don’t like the idea of saying “no” every step of the way as Owen explores his world. Of course I want him to be safe, and there is a time and place for teaching him what he can and cannot do, but at this very early stage, I think it’s mostly my responsibility to make sure that he can safely interact with everything he can reach. That’s easier said than done.

He definitely knows the difference between his toys and things that are not intended for him. His favorite spot to play currently? The dryer. Favorite toy? Mom’s water bottle. Favorite game? Figuring out how to climb/stand on anything that’s plugged into an electrical socket. I know he’s not doing these things to be bad, he’s exploring. He’s learning. He’s figuring out how things work. He’s testing theories. So I’d rather not put a lot of restrictions on him at this point. But it did get me thinking: When do babies learn the word “no”?

What about you? What were the first things you baby proofed? What things did you forget to babyproof that turned into accidents? How do/did you restrict your baby so you don’t have to say “no” all the time?

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17 responses to “She Says… An Accident Waiting to Happen

  1. wow–what a new phase you’re entering!

  2. My day is full of “No! Put that down! Don’t eat that!” and I’ve baby proofed. It’s ridiculous. Pieces of dirt, the dog water bowl, books, ANYTHING.

    I just put away the dangerous stuff and figure stuff like coasters are replaceable (and now have baby gnaw marks).

    We had to gate off the stairs after I found out she can climb up (and fall down) 2 steps. Whoops!

  3. We completely babyproofed the living room and dining room. This is where my 18 month old daughter spends most of her playtime, and there are only 2 things she is absolutely not allowed to touch- the cords into the outlet (that I can’t push a piece of furniture in front of b/c it’s such an awkward space) and the parrot cage. If she touches those two things she is in time-out (in the pack n play). We started time out around a year old… it lasts maybe a minute. Back to the babyproofing- it was gradual. She definitely showed us what we needed to babyproof and when we needed to do it. High shelves are your friends. And your floors will never be cleaner. 🙂

  4. blaine’s fav play spot is definitely a nook where the powerstrip and candles are located 😉

  5. On thing that I didn’t think about until I was perusing the safety aisle at Babies R Us the other day was the toilet. They have locks so that the little ones can’t get into them.

  6. I’m always conflicted about how to deal with Cameron when he interacts with our cat. The cat cannot be trusted. While he is always going up to him for affection (seems innocent enough), I had to throw my arm in front of him when he decided to strike and I got a nice hard bite and deep claw marks on my arm! But of course Cameron LOVES the kitty and wants to touch when he approaches and by “touching” I mean grabs handfuls of his fur/ear/whiskers/tail and yanks! He’s so young that he doesn’t understand, but I’m trying to figure out how to show him “gentle” without saying “no” with the animals by petting them softly over and over saying “gentle kitty” etc. I don’t think he’s capable of being gentle at this age, but my hope is that when he is maybe he will follow suit? It’s the one thing I worry about because kitty claws can be dangerous. I supervise him at all times, but still even if the cat is nice 99% of the time, cannot be trusted!

  7. My mom said she never babyproofed. I don’t understand how that is possible since we had breakable things all over the house- how did we not break everything?! Or fall down the stairs! It is still a mystery to me and I wish I could ask her to explain.

  8. @Angie All The Way, We’re definitely working on “gentle” over here too. He seems to think that climbing up to a standing position using only my HAIR as leverage is super fun. Not sure if “gentle” is sinking in yet, especially when I have to squeeze his tiny hands to get him to release my curls. But maybe someday?

  9. We’re gate people! When Ethan started to cruise without assistance (at 7 months!) we rearranged some furniture in our living room a bit, and we made an “area” for him using our couches, a couple of ottomans and a pet gate – the kind that can be shaped into different configurations and stands on its own. It worked well, because he still had lots of space to move around and play, and we still had our living room, with just the addition of a gate. And as he got older and more able to understand things like “no” and “danger,” we just re-configured the gate to allow him access to more of the room. Now we still use that same gate to block the TV – because even at 2.5 years old, some little boys cannot resist the allure of the giant reflective box! 🙂

  10. We did outlet covers & cabinet lock and we put a baby gate in between our tv stand and the wall for all of our cords & the Wii to hide behind. I will probably get a toilet seat lock for Eli’s bathroom… I thought about closing the door, but I don’t want him to think the bathroom is off limits. I struggle with using “no.” I don’t want to overuse it, but at 10 months he understands what that word means and actually listens very well. If I say “no sir, let go” or “no sir, put that down” he actually follows the command. (Of course, this probably won’t last!) If I just say “put that down” or “we don’t play with shoes” he doesn’t follow.

  11. My personal opinion is to teach them no early. Say it firmly then redirect them. They understand it younger than you think. The benefit is that if you teach them no then you can travel other places that aren’t baby proof like a friends house and still keep them safe. 🙂

  12. Our TV, DVD player (still broken), and remotes took a beating from both children. We ended up buying clear plastic guards for the electronics that can still pick up the remote signal but are attached to the front of the equipment with strong velcro so the kid can’t pry it off but parents can.

    Phones and iPods are at risk – I always lock my phone (that doesn’t always work) and keep my iPod out of reach. We learned early not to put anything breakable on any low shelves (lost a beautiful ceramic baking dish that was a wedding present). For the toilet, I never had a problem, but I also never really let them see it flush. So they never really thought there was anything that interesting about the toilet.

    Come December you’re going to have the Christmas tree issue. For kids (and this is true at least until they are 4, in my experience), everything on the Christmas tree is a toy. When our younger son was 9 months old, we put a fence (SuperYard, I think, which we had used as a barrier with the older one too) around the tree. Better not put any ornaments with sentimental value or that can easily break near the bottom of the tree! Maybe with a dog, you’ve already been through this!

    I’ve learned that no matter what I do to “babyproof” the house, it’s never really “babyproof” and new issues will crop up as kids get older – you just go with each thing as it comes.

  13. I am of the “hippie-back-to-the-land” generation and when my kids were babies we heated with woodstoves: therefore my kids had to learn the words, “NO – HOT” at a very early age. When my firstborn was about a year old and getting about very well – it was winter and time for the stove to be lit – I made myself a cup of tea one day and, when he crawled up to it (I was sitting on the floor), I recognized a “teaching moment.” I let him put his hand in the tea. It was hot – but not overly hot as I was drinking it. I think when I screamed, “NO – HOT”, it frightened him and, combined with the warm tea – he made the association. He never went near a wood stove and we had three of them. He must have somehow taught the younger two kids as well as we never had an accident unlike some of our friends whose kids were burned (not severely, fortunately) by woodstoves.

  14. Lynette Martyn

    Hi Kate, it’s Lynette here. Just discovered your blog and have been enjoying some catch up on you and Owen. Where are you guys moving to? Kyle has begun a military crawl we’ve been putting off the big babyproofing as well. Will be interesting to see just how long we can procrastinate that one. Hope all is well. 🙂 Lynette

  15. I agree with your idea that he should be able to safely interact with everything he can reach, especially at a young age. We try to do the same, the only exception being extreme safety issues – reaching towards hot stoves, trying to get in the toilet, etc…those issues get the loud, firm “no.” Amazing how much danger they can find in a seemingly benign space?!

  16. any suggestions on the best drawer/cabinet locks? any that are magnetic or adhesive that don’t require screws?

  17. @jennyh, In our new house there are great babyproofing things installed by Safe Beginnings. They come to your house and do everything for you. The ones in our drawers/cabinet doors do require screws, though. I’ve heard people say that they have the magnetic kind and they work quite well, so that is a great option if you are renting, for instance.

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