Safety First. Insanity: A Close Second.

16 Jul 2010 by Dear Bad Dad, No Comments »

Dear Bad Dad,

My wife is going overboard with baby-proofing the house. How can I make her stop?

– Andrew

Lon G’island, NY

Dear Andrew,

Why did you let her start baby-proofing? A child will insert a fork into an electrical socket and very quickly learn the meaning of “causal relationship” (not to mention “120 volts” and “singed eyebrows.”) The child will make this mistake exactly once.

[Cue record scratching sound]

Though you may have expected a response like the one above, actually, Dear Bad Dad is big on the importance of safety. Comes from all those years of Boy Scout training tuning in to Rescue 911.

Since Dads prefer are genetically encoded to do the absolute minimum, Dear Bad Dad suggests a few pointers to help avoid those nasty trips to the ER:

  • Cover up power outlets.
  • Tie up cords for your blinds.
  • Install gates at the top of staircases and protective latches or bars on upper floor windows.
  • Always wear a condom. (Whoopsie! Too late, sucker!)

Having dropped some safety science (you’re welcome),  Dear Bad Dad can now stroll down Babyproofing Memory Lane, right past the corner of Going Way Overboard Way:

First, there’s the foam rubber sleeve to slip over the bathtub faucet so little Mercutio doesn’t bang his head on it. Here’s an idea, parents: If you’re sitting by the tub and genuinely engaged in bath administration — and not, say, texting friends about how you wish you were bonding better with your kid — then odds are that Mercutio won’t slam his melon into the spout.

Next, meet the Light Switch Guard which (and Dear Bad Dad is not making this up) “Protects switches from unwanted operation.”  Holy Mother of All That Is Good! Little Jaydyn might flip the lights on and off!  “‘No!’ means ‘No!'” screams the helpless light switch as the toddler cruelly violates it with her sticky, snot-coated fingers … up and down … up and down … up and down.  Then again, if Dad works the night shift, or suffers from photophobia, or is a vampire, then guarding light switches against unwelcome manipulation is an absolute necessity. And not at all neurotic or overly protective or vampire batsh*t insane. Nope. Not. At. All.

Finally, there’s the chewy rubber/latex/space-age-polymer-that-will-be-found-to-cause-a-horrible-disease-20-years-from-now crib rail cover.  Because God forbid a teething toddler who is teething actually bites into something hard with his teeth that will help him teethe.  With cribs in common use for at least 150 years, it’s fair to assume that people like Martha Graham, Pele and Jonas Salk gnawed on their railings.  So if you’re pro-polio, then by all means, install a crib rail cover.

Bottom line: Just because some safety gizmo is found in Babies R Us’s “Your House Is A Toddler-Slaughtering Deathtrap” Aisle, you don’t need to buy and install it. Better to embrace the inevitable: your kid will get a little banged up.  Usually when you’re standing right there.  Despite the helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and biohazard suit you’ve outfitted her with.

So as you look around your home to decide on baby-proofing requirements, be sure to place one item at the top of your list: common sense.

It’s the best product out there.

It’s abundant.  Except at The Right Start.

And it’s free. (Though you can be sure Babies R Us will soon be stocking “New & Improved ‘Common Sense-Infused’ Antimicrobial Safety Wipes.”)

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