We have a free standing, oil-filled radiator. It gets wheeled around from room to room sometimes to help supplement the flat’s patchy central heating system. This week, V. put her hand on it when it when it was turned on. She wasn’t burned but it was a nasty shock for her. I feel terrible about the incident. And it highlights the thorny subject of childproofing one’s home.
Myself and F. have been slightly bemused by the more common childproofing products. Some of them work better than others. And some don’t really work at all.
The best ones we’ve found have been the simple ones. There’s a
U-shaped piece of foam that fits over the lock stile of a door. It prevents the door from slamming on tiny fingers. What’s clever about this door stop is that it also prevents the complete closing of the gap at the hinge stile, too, which is a less obvious trap for digits.
On the other hand, you know those plastic hooks that fit into a drawer and prevent the drawer being pulled out completely? Didn’t work for us. I mean, they did do the job. However, what they fail to do is to prevent the baby from pushing the drawer back into place thus trapping her fingers, hand and sometimes her forearm. Big tears. The benchmark for success in this area is: if I still have to watch her, it hasn’t been childproofed.
The two metal child gates we inherited from my sister, on the other hand, have proved invaluable. They are a no brainer. I recommend that, if you’re testing them out in a shop, see if you can unlock and lock the gate with your less dominant hand. You’ll eventually have to.
We were donated a set of foam corner guards that affix to the edges of coffee tables or shelves etc. They’re designed to protect the sharp corners from a falling head. But what about the rest of the edges of the furniture? Aren’t they just as hard? Plus, the foam guards we have and the ones I’ve seen around don’t actually seem all that soft. Short of taping pillows to the coffee table, I haven’t seen them as an effective solution. We decided to move such objects out of her way.
What becomes more apparent as our baby becomes a toddler is that she has a kamikaze approach to exploring. How can you protect someone who’s starting out with blatant disregard to the dangers of gravity, friction, electrical force, tension, normal force or applied force? Neither do they understand sharpness, momentum, or infection. The flat is going to take an awful lot of bubble wrap.
Plus she often falls over her own feet. You can’t childproof the floor.
Vigilance remains the number one safety tool. And self-regulation. Since experiencing the hot radiator, V. hasn’t gone near it. And when she does see it, she blows on it like we taught her to do with “hot, hot, hot” things at the dinner table.