The basics of babyproofing

New parents get advice from every corner on keeping the baby safe. How far do you go?

I was at a baby store and in walked a pair of newly minted parents buying everything that the "helpful" store staff pointed to them. Socket covers? Door slammers? latches? Bring it on. Baby monitor? But of course. Do you even need to ask? Diaper pail? Umm…looks cool…ok we will think about that one.

Pic: Reshmi Chakraborthy

I had to restrain the urge to run and shake the lovely pair out of their baby buying stupor. Because that was me six and half years back, visiting stores armed with a list, courtesy baby books, baby websites and friends, all made, manufactured and living in US. And though I never went to the extent of buying a diaper pail, I was rather diligent with the baby proofing bit and did come close to picking up a safety gate for my single level home, where with a hop, skip and jump you can reach the kitchen from the dining table and the dining table from the living room couch.

It wasn’t my fault though. Read up on baby proofing on the net and you will know what I mean. The more you read, the more dangerous your house starts to seem. Even potentially harmless things like soft couches and curtains hold sinister possibilities. As for table corners, stairs, doors and balconies, those are to babies what haunted houses are to most adults. Best avoided.

Reading up is rather scary, especially for the first time parent who is surrounded by equally novice friends and family members who throw their hands up in the air and say, "We had kids 30 years ago. You do what you think is best."

The first time I was text bookishly diligent about baby proofing the house. I got corner cushions to cover pointy table sides, anti door slammers, wardrobe latches and the mandatory socket covers. I looked around my home and suddenly everything was a potential threat. From the iron (which IS a threat) to the sketchpen cap and the house plants.

The baby was rather respectful about my babyproofing tactics in the initial days. Until one day I discovered him trying to shove the corner cushion into his mouth. So this time, I have just lifted everything to a height that baby number two is unlikely to reach in the next one or two years. Some things have surely come in handy this time around too, like the wardrobe latch, perfect for low cabinets that hold baby’s favourite things — cutlery or cleaning sprays. Now if you find a way to childproof the shoerack, do let me know that.

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