To Hell with Babyproofing


Our apartment is a baby booby trap. Between our ladder bookshelves, our tangled yards of electronic wiring and our anti-feng shui decorating style, we are tripping over all the hazards the baby experts warn about.

But instead of crawling through our apartment and barricading, battening-down or turning our living space into a giant bubble, we’ve came up with a novel solution. We’ve decided . . . not to.

Ten months ago, the notion that we would blow off babyproofing seemed highly unlikely. We were those parents, the ones who practically hosed down visitors with anti-bacterial hand solution – and then refused to let them hold the baby. We installed tethers on the changing table, just in case our son – the one with no neck control – catapulted away from us, mid-diaper change. And when I took him for his first few walks, I actually slid the stroller wrist strap over my hand and tightened it around my forearm, in case a crazed baby snatcher tried to wrestle the stroller away from me on the mean streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

But as time passed, and our son failed to spontaneously combust, we became more confident in our own skills and judgment. The complicated rituals that we relied upon to keep him safe no longer seemed necessary. In fact, they seemed preposterous.

So when the topic of babyproofing our home came up in my mother’s group, I hadn’t given it much thought. My son was old enough that we measured his age in months rather than weeks, but not old enough that he was able to move with any sort of intention. I figured we had plenty of time. Not true, the moderator of the group insisted. In hushed tones, she proceeded to spell out the hazards lurking in our homes, and the tragedies that could befall our children if we didn’t act: They could be crushed by unsecured furniture! Choke on loose change! Gouge themselves on sharp furniture corners!

Now, I have fears about my son. I worry that he’ll be bullied in school, or worse, be a bully himself. I worry that he’ll have half a million dollars in student debt. I worry he’ll try coke with some kid named Travis in the parking lot of a Dave Matthews Band reunion concert.

But I’ll be damned if I’m going to worry about him impaling himself on the coffee table.