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D.A.D.: Child-Proofing a Waste of Time (POLL)?

This week, Diapers and Deadlines wonders if the best child proofing devices are your own eyes.

Last Sunday at 1 a.m. I spent the first night of my vacation “baby proofing” the glass dining room table in the condo we were staying at in the Outer Banks.

I was ready for bed after a long day on the road with my wife and 16-month-old daughter (which included a lovely cottage cheese-like vomit from my little girl, the story of which would have made a . Honestly, you’ve never experienced a road trip until you cleaned puke off a car seat in 100 degree weather in a Stuckey’s parking lot in the backwoods of Virginia).

However, as my parents and wife pointed out when we arrived, the sharp corners of the dining room table could cause my daughter harm. So there I was, the poor man’s MacGuyver, with medical gauze and packing tape, softening the edge of the table.

But as I finished my rigging of the corners, I wondered if this was yet another way to switch parenting on auto-pilot. If I am able to simply slap a special latch on the oven, or a cover over an outlet…am I going to sort of let my child do as they please because the house has been baby proofed?

Shouldn’t there be more parenting involved? You can’t “life proof” the outside world. So why not start by watching your children and keeping them away from dangers while explaining to them your reasons for doing so?

The concept of baby proofing homes has turned into a large industry, and it seems to me that most parents are better suited to keep their children safe than a ratcheting plastic cap for a cabinet.

At the very least parenting in a better option than gauze from Harris Teeter taped onto the corners of a table in the middle of the night.

Disagree? Explain to me why I am dense in the comments below!

Linda Sadlouskos July 09, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I voted "other." Childproofing is a theoretical goal, not an achievable one. Nothing replaces supervision, but things have come a long way since kids just were able to stick their fingers in sockets for that fun "buzz." (Hey, I used to do that! Why am I still here?) Still, some parents need all the help they can get. I was appalled to see Ellen DeGeneres' latest "funny" photos of kids sleeping in weird places, including at the bottom of the stairs and — horrifying — two on top of television sets that were presumably plugged in. That one was particularly appalling since sometime around the early 60s, I had an older second cousin who, as a baby, was electrocuted after crawling behind a television. Even supervision isn't perfect. My younger son (the "survivor") used to hang out by the front screen in Oyster Bay, N.Y., which I diligently kept locked. Then, one day, in his high chair, eating lunch, I noticed him rolling something around with his tongue. I freaked when I pulled out a screw and fastener from the screen door! And doubly-freaked when I wondered what happened to the other 1 or 2 I'd noticed were missing. He's 16 now, and I sometimes wonder why he doesn't set off metal detectors @ airport! Hang loose! Linda S., Basking Ridge Patch
stacie bohr July 09, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I don't think baby proofing is a waste of time at all. It is an extra security measure. It is impossible to keep your eyes on your children constantly. The measures, such as the one you took, not only protects your baby girl, but I'm sure provides you and your wife with peace of mind. Accidents can happen very quickly, i.e. electrical socket accidents, drowning in a toilet, opening a drawer with cutlery, etc. But I agree that baby proofing does not afford parents the right to be remiss with proper guidance. And Russ...I too have experienced the joy, many times actually, of cleaning up vomit in the car on a scorching day. Good times, goooood times! BTW, I enjoy your daddy column!!
LVMom July 10, 2012 at 06:40 PM
YES parenting is important but accidents happen. When she was little my daughter fell and hit her head on the corner of a table, she was NOT running or doing anything wrong.. her little toddler legs just went the wrong way. -- i baby proofed cabinets for her friends more then her, BUT kids are kids and if i was going out of the room cabinets where locked if danger was there...over time you unlock non dangerous cabinets and let them learn to not dismantle your house. it's a process. it takes time and (key word here) PARENTING. .. PARENTING also is key for good grades, a strong set of morals, and inner knowledge of who they are, the desire to change the world for the better, and self reliance... now ask teachers how many kids have those things in HIGH SCHOOL

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