This is what counts as child-proofing these days.
This is what counts as child-proofing these days.

The imminent arrival of our first child led to a thorough investigation of our house, and discovery upon discovery of potentially fatal hazards. Some websites advise getting down on hands and knees and seeing the house as a child would. So there we were, crawling around the house scouting for points of electrocution, poisonous liquids, sharp corners, sharp knives, hidden wires and booby traps. We bought child locks, child gates, child sockets and child lids. Our house was as harmless as a little duckling wrapped in a terry towel blanket sleeping soundly on a bubble-wrap bed. And our children still got hurt.

Now, I only think that a gate for the stairs is necessary. And even that is hard to judge – can the absence of any stair related accidents be solely put down to the gate? Did the extreme counter-terrorist measures prevent any incidents of terrorist attacks during the Olympics? Two questions for statisticians and historians.

The easiest thing you can do is supervise your children. Easier said for us as our house is about the same size as a rabbit hutch. We could not not supervise them. And our children still got hurt. In fact, those child-proof locks, sockets and boxes will actually damage your children by exposing them to an endless stream of expletives as you try to negotiate through simple tasks such as leaving a room, fetching cornflakes out of the cupboard and plugging in a phone charger.

And then there were our changing attitudes. The first time our eldest got hurt, we were horrified, “Oh my baby! His beautiful angelic face – scarred for life! We are the worst parents! How could we let this happen!” The first time our youngest got hurt: “Haha! Ouch! He`ll look like a boxer in the morning!” We are the worst parents.

Buy a (not two!) stairs gate, put dangerous stuff in a box up high somewhere, watch your kids, and don’t punish yourself when they get hurt. Getting hurt is an important part of life. And chicks (and real men) dig scars.


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