Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The problem with baby-proofing

So Samuel's not mobile yet, but he's not far off. All of his desperate attempts to propel himself forward have so far proved futile, but there's nothing like the sight of a baby with its arse in the air and its nose on the carpet to make you realise that EVERYTHING in your flat is an accident waiting to happen.

As a result, James took a couple of days off last week so that we could start the baby-proofing. One by one we went through our list of hazards. Is it a safer place for Samuel as a result? We won't know that for a little while yet, but one thing we do know for sure is that baby-proofing creates its own set of problems.

There's nothing that tempts little fingers more than a plug socket. That's why we've fitted all of our unused ones with those plug socket cover things. The day after we did it, I needed to take one out to plug my hairdryer in. I didn't realise that all you need to do to take a cover out is pop a plug in it and then pull, so I very sensibly started chiseling it out with a sharp metal kitchen knife. Safety first!

Babies and fire – it's not really a match made in heaven. That's a sad thing because I really love my scented candles. This is partially because they lend a relaxing, Vogue Living kind of ambiance to our living space, and partially because wild fig and cassis does a cracking job in masking the whiffs emanating from the nappy bin and the cat litter tray. Nonetheless, I acknowledged that I needed to bid a teary farewell to my Jo Malones and my Laura Merciers and accepted that it was time they went to a higher place. No, not heaven. Just to the top of the bookshelf.

Side tables, TV benches, bedside tables, toy boxes. Everywhere we looked we could see a sharp edge threatening to cause cuts, bumps and bruises. Luckily we discovered that Mothercare sells these little self-adhesive rubber things called Corner Cushions, so we got a load of them and stuck them on the corners of pretty much all of our possessions. They've made all of our possessions much safer. But, with their distinct 'Argos warehouse' aesthetic, they've also made all of our possessions look like they're in the process of being packaged up with bubblewrap and returned to the shop.

Throughout our pre-baby years, we have simply piled our box sets high and left them against a wall. No longer. I can't bear the thought of Samuel being injured in an accident involving all eight series of 24 toppling on him (plus the ridiculous and frankly unnecessary film featuring Robert Carlyle). We really should have dealt with this in the manner of Jack Bauer and speeded all of the DVDs to the middle of the Arizona desert by helicopter so that we could destroy them in a spectacular controlled explosion. What we actually did was put them on top of the bookshelf next to the scented candles. It's getting pretty crowded up there. I hope Samuel doesn't turn into a climber.

Other baby-proofing jobs that needed carrying out included attaching chests of draws to the walls and suchlike. They involved tools. And when I went to change Samuel's nappy in the midst of taking all of these safety measures, I discovered that we had left a big hammer on his changing mat.


  1. Ah the joys of baby proofing. I spent a weekend putting special latches on cupboard doors - only for Zac to ignore the cupboard doors, as far as he is concerned they are just a means to hauling himself upright like a mini Spider-Man climbing a wall. We put those plug cover-thingys in all the spare sockets (it wasn't till I installed the second batch and actually read the instructions that I to found out how to easily remove them without ripping off all your fingernails!) only for Zac to show no interest in sockets what-so-ever. Next we placed those soft corner thingys on the corners of the coffee table only for Zac to rip them off and chew them all! Picture frames, ornaments etc have all been raised to higher lever to the point where we are seriously thinking of having a continuous shelf running around the room above eye level for the next few years.
    Unfortunately we have discovered that you can baby proof most things, and it does bring a little peace of mind, but babies worst enemies once moving appear to be floors and walls. Bar covering your walls and floors in bubble wrap there's not a lot you can do. Zac constantly bumps his head on the floor when trying to clamber over something or knocks into walls or doors when trying to make a high speed getaway whilst looking back more concerned with which parent is chasing after him rather than looking where he is going!
    I've come to the conclusion that you can only baby proof so much and ultimately the best protection is keeping a constant eye on them which is both impossible and impractical if you want to have a life.
    I'm now searching Amazon for one of those Zorbing balls to put Zac in, that should solve all out problems ;)

  2. I did forget to mention the major plus of baby proofing - the flat is finally free of pot pourri!!! Seriously, what is it with women and bowls of dried leaves and twigs drenched in the scent of toilet fresheners?!?!

  3. It's a wonder my 2 have survived so long!

    We never bothered with the corner thingies and have just moved dangerous/breakable objects ever higher as they've grown.
    I also miss candles and vases on the coffee table, but I don't think I've ever left them with power tools... ;)

  4. and apparently, in UK sockets, the socket covers can actually make sockets more dangerous..somehow. We didn't go in much for baby-proofing though we do tend to avoid sharp-cornered furniture.

  5. But all these changes are not forever, they just change as children grow older. Soon you will be hiding Tampax!
    Sandra @ www.notesonaspanishvalley.com