By Miles Beauchamp, PhD
Dr. Beauchamp teaches writing and diverse communications at Alliant International University. He co-wrote Disabled Literature and has another book due for release. He has been with the Asian Journal since the 1990’s.
Making it Safe
Or at least try to…
So, you’re pregnant. Your doctor told you that, yes, dear parents, you’re going to be having a child in a few months. Now, after you catch your breath, you realize that means that you are now confronted with that age-old problem that all parents face, namely keeping the baby safe from her or himself. This is not an easy thing to do.
Babies want to explore. If there is something within reach they want to touch it, if it can be picked up she or he wants to pick it up and most likely, put it in her mouth.
So now you are in the process of updating the childproofing of your house. And good grief, there are a lot of ways for a child to get hurt. For instance, there are:
Electric wall sockets
Hot oven doors
Drawers to pull out
Things in those drawers, such as utensils
Things in those cabinets, such as pots, pans, soaps, cleaners, polish and other assorted chemicals
Hard edges on bathtubs, bathroom counters, toilets
Soaps, shampoos, makeup, and grooming supplies such as hair spray, deodorants, and lotions
And let’s not ignore the razors, scissors, and other sharp things in the bathroom
Bedrooms should be safe, but when you’re small there are all sorts of things there like bed frames, dresser and night stand edges, lamps and lamp cords, phone charging cords (plus any land line cords as well – heck, you’ve probably got eight of those things in the house) plus cords from copiers, computers, clocks, stereos, toys, and a whole lot of other things
Windows and other glass
Sliding glass doors
Floor lamps or anything else on the floor that can be pulled over when the child tries to stand up
How about the garage? What’s in your garage? Often there is oil and other car fluids, tools, stuff stored all kinds of ways and more hard edges than can be counted
Do you have a patio?
Are there lawns, or flowers and other plants? What is the child allergic to or putting in their mouth?
Is there a swimming pool? If so is there a fence around it? Is the gate in the fence locked? Or, with a small child, even an inflatable pool with a few inches of water is enough
Look on the side of the house – is this where you’re storing shovels, rakes or other gardening tools? Is there fertilizer there? Are there old toys, old lawn furniture, or old rusty anything there?
Where do you have your garbage? Is it clean around the garbage containers?
How easy is it for a young child to reach the street – either from the backyard or the front? But primarily, is the backyard fenced? Will it keep the kids in and stray animals out?
Do you live on a hill or a cliff? Is there a strong fence to keep the kids away from the edge?
Do you have a second-floor patio? Are the railings made so that a very small child would not be able to slip between the wood slats and tumble out?
Are there ladders leaning up against a wall anywhere – inside or out?
Can the child walk – or fall – into a cactus?
How easy is it for drivers coming up your driveway to see a crawling child in the way?
What is there outside so colorful or noisy that it might attract a child?
Are there neighbor dogs that are digging under your fence to get in?
Any sprinkler heads to trip on?
How strong is the patio furniture? What are the spaces like between any webbing or wooden slats?
Isn’t it amazing just how many things exist that are dangerous? This list hasn’t even begun to touch on the actual number of ways our kids can find to hurt themselves.
If you want a real eye-opener, get on your hands and knees sometime and crawl around your house. You’ll be amazed at all the things you see that are potentially very dangerous.
So, we parents do what we can, when we can, in every way we can to protect them. And then we say a little prayer and hope for the best. Good luck!