I’ve never been big on baby-proofing. And this has actually worked for our family thus far pretty well really. When Isaac was born I didn’t baby-proof at all. We relied on the power of the almighty, “No.” Simple and sweet. And it worked. Quite well-he was incredibly compliant. Then the girls came along, and “No” didn’t work quite as well, but there still was no real need to baby-proof. We were just more careful about small objects being left out on the floor! My kids learned early what they should and shouldn’t touch. With the exception of Lydia eating a half a bottle of princess shaped gummy vitamins in the matter of a few seconds, this has worked well for us over the years.
So when we started this training for our adoption, I had an idea that we would have some work to do in the area of safety. But then, when our resource worker came and went over all that we would have to do, I was dumbfounded. Why on earth would we have to do some of these things? I mean, we are adopting an older child. Wouldn’t he know?!
And then, training happened….and I realized something. Not everyone teaches their child what’s safe and what’s not. Not only that, but not every family is the same. For example, our family has livestock, so we know and preach livestock and farm safety all the time.
“Don’t walk directly behind the horses.”
“Wash your hands after petting the cows.”
“Never go into the pasture without Mom or Dad.”
“Never play with or touch the de-wormer.”
These are simply things that are an every-day part of our life. However, if you put my kids in the middle of New York City (or even Little Rock, Arkansas for that matter), they would likely struggle to know what to do. They wouldn’t have the safety procedures drilled into their heads for that particular environment.
So making sure our homes are safe is not just something we do for our own family. It’s a courtesy we extend for anyone who comes to our home-whether it be for an hour or two visit, or welcoming a forever child. Like so many things in life, it’s not so much about me and my family, but it’s very much about others and their safety in our home.
So, all that being said, let me go through some of the safety issues that we have been addressing around our house, and it might give you a starting place to address safety in your own home. If you already have a safe home, I applaud you! You are one giant step ahead of me! If you have any tips, I’d love to hear them!
1. Smoke Alarms: You should have one in the kitchen and if you have a big house, you should have one in each bedroom. For a smaller house, like ours, one in the hallway between the bedrooms is sufficient. Test these regularly to make sure they work.
2. Fire Extinguisher: You should keep a household fire extinguisher in the kitchen. I keep ours locked up below our sink.
3. Fire Escape Plan: If you are anything like me, you try to avoid talking about this with your kids as much as possible because you don’t want to cause them any undue fear. Besides, if there’s a fire, you’re going to be Wonder Woman and save everyone in the house anyway, right? But what if you aren’t able? Will your kids know what do? I can actually remember my parents going over a fire evacuation plan with us several times. And when I was thinking back about that, I realized something: knowing what I would do in the event of a fire actually did good in my fearful mind. For me, it empowered me that regardless of what happened, I knew what to do. I had a plan. With that in my mind, I’m kind of looking forward to equipping my kids with this potentially life-saving information.
4. Medications: I have always been bad to keep our daily medications out on the kitchen windowsill. It’s just easier to remember when they are right where I can see them first thing in the morning. But, like I mentioned before, Lydia has actually managed to get the child-proof cap off of a bottle of Princess vitamins and down about half the bottle in a matter of about 30 seconds. So…yeah….we needed to change this. First, I went through all our medications and got rid of the old and kept only what we needed. Then I made a spot in a spare cabinet in our kitchen. It’s locked with a child-proof lock that I even struggle to open. Sometimes I get really weary of locking and unlocking that cabinet a few times a day, but I just try to remember that I’m so glad that it was just vitamins (with no iron!) instead of my prescription migraine medication or even something as simple as ibuprofen!
5. Cleaning Supplies: These just need to be locked up. Pretty simple: Just put them in a cabinet wherever you use them most, and lock that cabinet and be sure to return the cleaning supplies each time you use them and lock the cabinet back.
6. Knives: Locked up! I also keep these in the highest cabinet over my stove in the kitchen. I am tall so that’s not a big deal for me, and I feel that it adds a little more safety to have them locked and up high.
7. Guns: Lock them up. Again, I know that you have probably taken extreme care to teach your children gun safety. But the little guy coming over on Sunday afternoon for a visit doesn’t go hunting and he may know nothing about guns. So lock them up for that reason.
There are several other safety issues to consider, but these will give you a good start and put you on your way to a safe home. It’s so amazing how this PRIDE training has really opened my eyes to some things that I never considered before. Never in a million years would I have ever spent much time considering the safety of my home until this little unknown child came into my life and rocked my world. And, I have a feeling that he’s not anywhere near done!
So now it’s your turn…what tips do you have for me on child-proofing your house?