Before you parents hit that point where you know your baby is about to be mobile, family, friends, and doctors will tell you to baby-proof your house. They will say to get down on your hands and knees and inspect every inch of the floors and the walls up to a certain height where curiosity and chubby fingers might meet harm. Put up gates above and below any stairs, plug outlets, cut curtain cords that are looped, and move chemicals and medicines to high and locked cabinets. If you do all this, chances are your scooting crawling bundle of joy will stay safe. Of course you have to keep an eye out for anything that falls on the floor as well.
I'm sure I've left out a few things parents are advised to do, and probably should do, but let me tell you what you might not have been told: there is no baby-proof-and-then-you're-done moment. First, you are going to miss something or forget something. But second, your baby WILL move beyond the crawling stage and will soon walk and then climb; therefore, you will need to toddler-proof your home.Yes, maybe you were overzealous and put on a fridge lock, toilet lock, stove lock. Maybe you already installed latches over your doors and your baby doesn't even do more than roll over. But unless you think like a toddler, you will not have done everything.
I have the answer to finding all the dangers of your home, at least up until your child turns two (revisit this blog monthly for future installments as Geddy grows). What you need is to hire an expert from Toddler Home Inspections. We will send in our skilled son to examine every inch of your home and then provide you with a detailed report of what is dangerous. (Actually, the disaster your house will be in afterwards should provide you all the information you need).
Here's a sampling of what our expert will do:
1. Remove outlet plugs and insert pieces of paper into the holes. (Let's hope nothing else goes in there.)
2. Unplug the vacuum cleaner then try to plug it back in, while it is turned on.
3. Remove vent covers and almost fall into the open holes or at the very least throw items into them. (Yeah, I know there are ways to fix this, but honestly I never thought of it when Geddy was a baby and I don't remember anyone saying anything about it.)
4. Push a chair or stool or box over to the table and climb up onto it. Maybe you have nothing there, maybe you have an innocent little candle in the center. He will dig fingers into the wax and spread it all over the table.
5. Dig dirt out of plant holders and dump it in various parts of the house. And if you think he is way beyond eating dirt you might be surprised. Or he might just say that he's eating a "Cheerio."
6. Rip bits of toilet paper off the roll and put those bits in different places around the house (ahem, outlets). (Perhaps not dangerous but certainly frustrating for you when you are trying to pull off a nice sheet of toilet paper and all you get are frayed bits).
7. Put crackers into any shoes lying around. (OK, maybe there isn't any potential harm to the toddler here but then again if you fall over after trying to walk around in your shoes with food or foreign objects in them you might land on the child).
8. Help himself to the water from the dispenser in the fridge, (you won't remember to always lock it, plus toddlers like to push buttons . . .) and spill water all over the floor and make it really slippery.
9. Throw toys onto the stove, into pots with food bubbling in them, or just reach up and put items into the hot pots and pans on the stove. (Yes, while you are right there and watching. You can try to lock him out of the kitchen but he will possibly go on a rampage throwing toys and crying and then you will take him to his room, forget about the food on the stove and it will boil over and then the smoke alarm will go off.)
10. Politely ask for a cracker and wait for you to remove the latch that keeps the pantry closed then start climbing the drawers in there that pull out and be flung backwards on the hard tile floor.
As I said, this is just a sampling. Our expert will meet you where you are, finding the areas unique to your home that you never dreamed would be the source of danger or destruction. Perhaps you plan to just be good parents and keep an eye on your little one. We applaud you. We respect you. We hope and pray you will follow through. But your little one will be full of surprises. He or she will be playing alone quite happily in a different room when you decide to unload the dishwasher. As you turn to put something away, the sudden clatter of dishes will pull you back around in time to see the bottom tray of the dishwasher on the floor and your little one climbing inside the gaping opening.
So, what's a parent to do? Remove everything from your house, pad the walls, and wrap your child in bubble wrap? That's one option. If you figure out something better, let us know! Oh, and that will be $99.95 for the destruction, er, inspection of your home.