Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Baby-Proofing for Budding Explorers
My son's favourite activity at present is standing at our coffee table and pulling everything off onto the floor, one item at a time. I was chatting to a couple of other mums the other day and one of them said that they got rid of their coffee table and the other mum said she was considering doing the same thing.
We really have not done any baby-proofing in our flat as yet. The crawling stage was manageable and when our son inevitably went towards things like wires and leads, we told him 'no' and so far he seems to have learned to steer clear of those things. Maybe we've been lucky and I don't want to tempt fate by writing down and publicly declaring the things he hasn't even touched or bothered with but so far it really hasn't been a big deal.
My own mother and my sister-in-law (both mothers to three children) told me that they didn't do any baby-proofing, as they felt it was good for the children to learn what's ok to touch and what's not. My sister-in-law made a good point that if you transform your own home into a totally baby-friendly abode, then when you're at someone else's house, your child won't know that it's not ok to grab their books and rip the pages out or whatever.
So far, our son's prefered activities have come in phases, as his curiosity and development has progressed. I figure the table de-robing is just another phase. I can deal with picking the stuff up off the floor and putting it back on the table several times a day (they're obviously all unbreakable, insignificant things and we've added a few baby-friendly things too). I really don't think we would ever consider getting rid of the coffee table!
Of course, I have a lot of respect for those parents who take measures to create as safe and clear a home environment for their children as possible. It's all done with the utmost care and desire to protect a child from unnecessary risks. I'm sure there will be elements of baby-proofing that we will incorporate into our home as our son becomes even more mobile, such as kitchen cupboard latches to avoid access to any potentially dangerous implements or substances.
However, I think the touching, picking up, moving and general exploration of new things is an important part of a child's development and a way for them to exercise some independence. It's crucial that as parents, we ensure there are no dangerous items within reach but I feel a total re-arrangement of your home should not be needed and could be counter-productive.
What are your experiences? Did you do much baby-proofing of your home? Please share any helpful suggestions in the comments.