There were many different opinions on baby proofing when my kids were new and just starting to crawl or walk to get in to things. The websites all cautioned parents to the dangers of EVERYTHING if you Googled long enough. The older generation of aunts, uncles and grammas cautioned us against being too cautious. So what was a new parent to do?
Example: opening cabinet doors in the kitchen and either 1) slamming fingers in it when closing it, or, 2) smashing or dumping all of the stuff in that cabinet.
Advice? Well, we could close it up with a baby lock so the kids couldn’t venture in to it and cut themselves on a blender blade or smash my glass pot lids. A baby website advised us to do this with the reasoning, ‘it keeps you as a parent calm, the baby safe and then the parent can say no less and yes more’. Or something to that effect.
The other advice was from other parents or Gen X’ers that had grown children out in the world somewhere. They said, ‘If you baby proof too much they will never learn right from wrong. You are making them soft. You need to let them make the mistake of slamming their fingers in the door. Once they get hurt they won’t do that again!’… Or something to that effect.
Well, yes. To the basic child eventually they would learn, “I open the cupboard, it slams shut, and then my fingers hurt. Cupboards are bad, I should stay out of them.”
But we took the first advice! Why? Cuz we tried the second advice and my kids are little scientists. As my oldest said, “It’s not gonna hurt me, I am shutting it DIFFERENTLY THIS TIME!” (She was that sure and adamant). The thing that was happening was that my kids were so sure that if they slightly changed any one variable…hold the door differently, put less stuff in it, slam it more quickly, etc….that it would change the outcome. Sometimes it did!
So my kids keep doing stuff over and over…some things are learning opportunities, and some of them …. well, eventually we did quite a bit of baby proofing to eliminate potential disasters. My sweet girl and boy are determined to shut cupboards too fast, jump over the coffee table or climb their dressers. Coffee table, learning experience. The rest? We locked that crap up tight, yes sirree. I want to say no to my children less and yes more, more, more.