Baby Proofing: What Do You Really Need?

Rebecca Eckler takes a candid look at what parents really need to baby proof their homes


Depending on your sensibilities, I’m either a totally laid back mother, or an extremely stupid one. In my mind, I’m the former, especially when it comes to baby proofing my home.

With Rowan, I was both lucky and lazy. I hired a baby proofer to come to our home. He took us threw every room, as if he were a real estate agent, pointing out all the imminent dangers that my baby could get hurt by. In fact, this baby proofer pointed out things I never even knew we had in the house, including certain windows with certain handles, that I didn’t even know we had.

I certainly never used those window handles, so I figured how would my baby find them, since I, an adult, didn’t even know they existed? But I nodded at the 180 things he listed off that could possibly be a danger to my baby, took his estimate that ran almost $2000, and never called him back.

Needless to say, I didn’t baby proof the house at all, except for buying two baby gates, one for the top of the stairs and one for the bottom. Rowan, now ten, has never injured herself at home.

With Holt, however, who is more of a terror and gets into everything, I thought maybe this time around I would need to baby proof, for my sanity. Again, I called a baby proof expert who, again, explained the gazillion ways my child could hurt himself. Again, I was handed an estimate that also was more than a thousand dollars.

Quite frankly, I thought, it would be cheaper to bubble wrap my kid than to baby proof the house. Holt did, in fact, hurt himself once; he needed stitches after he jumped off the couch and landed on the coffee table, splitting his chin open. However, the only way I thought that incident could have been prevented is if I had removed both the couch and the coffee table, and had an empty living room. I’ve learned that as soon as your moving baby starts getting into things, or pointing out outlets you never knew you had in your house, all you have to do is say, “NO! BAD! YUCK”. It’s worked for me both times, with both children, and, obviously, saying, “NO! BAD! YUCK!” is a hell of a lot cheaper (in fact, it’s FREE) than baby proofing your entire house.

I know professional baby proofers, of course, make their bread and butter from scaring the crap out of parents. But I’m hear to tell you, all you really need is a couple baby gates, so they can’t go up and down the stairs. As a parent, you already know what is dangerous in your house. Don’t we all know to keep medicines and cleaning supplies up HIGH? Don’t we already know that perhaps putting a floor fan on the ground isn’t the greatest idea?  And keeping the knives in a drawer that is too high for the little ones to reach is pretty much common sense?

Holt didn’t need four stitches because I didn’t baby proof the house. He got hurt because babies like to jump off things. Plus, the little scar on his chin makes him look like a tough guy. I’m going to tell him that he got into a bar brawl when he understands more than the world “truck.”

I’m not saying you shouldn’t baby proof your house. I’m just saying that, more likely than not, you are paying attention to your little one all the times. As for the baby gates on our lower floor? Well, it’s come in really handy for the dog, when I don’t want him following me to my bedroom, with a plate of food. It’s been wonderful for that.

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