Often when people think of babyproofing they think of gates and cupboard latches. They’re filled with visions of endless plastic knob covers and soft cushioning destroying the look of their home. The choice of many people to put up gates and plastic barriers makes sense because of their parenting style and lifestyle needs. However, it is ultimately a client’s decision which items they would like to install based on my best practice recommendation. I like to think of babyproofing as creating the safest environment for your child that melds your needs and parenting style with best practices.
I was recently speaking with a mom who did not want to “babyproof” because it would destroy the esthetics of her home. I strongly encouraged her to do a free consultation and then look at doing a home safety assessment. My role is not to simply install physical items. I take a holistic approach based on clients’ parenting style and lifestyle needs. My goal is to create a safe, livable solution. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and few hard-and-fast rules. I identify hazards in clients’ homes room by room and provide a written assessment to remind them of these risks.
By informing them what best practice solutions there are, they then can choose to install or not. If they not to install particular items, I explain the behavioral approach that will help to appropriately minimize risk. The personality of the child is an enormous factor, with children who are the most spirited and curious usually requiring greater limits. In other situations, babyproofing solutions have much more to do with rethinking your use of space, rather than simply buying products from the babyproofing aisle. Many of my clients are in small city houses and I recommend ways to rearrange or use their limited space to create a more productive and safer environment.