To completely baby-proof your home, you would have to contract with a rubber manufacturing company. With a rubber house, not only would your baby be safe, but you would also avoid cracking your skull on the sharp corners of cabinets. While it would be nice to be able to bounce from one room to another, it’s just not practical. You can say, “No!” until you’re blue in the face, but when you turn your back, your baby wants to explore. His natural curiosity will get the better of him, and he will need to touch, feel, and taste. During this phase, removing breakable decorations will save you a lot of stress. Don’t worry about the fact that your house looks like a barren wasteland. This is only temporary; you can return breakables once your baby can control his movements. Or if you have boys, once they leave for college.
Some baby safety products are viewed as a double dare to MacGyver-like children. As soon as our older son was mobile, he pulled out the electric socket safety plugs and put them in his mouth. In fact, babies put just about everything into their mouths; it’s their mode of exploration. The number one safety guarantee is to keep a careful eye on your baby. If you stay vigilant, you will see his jaws moving ever so slightly. Then you will notice the small bulge in his cheek and rush to remove the contents. If he refuses to relinquish the goods, try a Mandible Mush by squeezing his lower jaw bone to force the mouth to stay open. Baby monitors are helpful, but nothing will save a child’s life more than having a parent who pays attention.
After you give birth, you may not be able to waltz out of the hospital and rush home to enjoy your new baby. Before you are allowed to leave the hospital, you have to demonstrate that you have your baby correctly and legally strapped into his new car seat. Your baby will have zero to minimal neck control at this point, so it will be like trying to strap in a jellyfish. If you fail this first test, the nurses will make you stop and readjust the straps on the car seat. If the readjustment is unsuccessful, you will have to take apart the whole seat and start from scratch. It may seem like some sadistic reality show where the hospital staff can watch from behind hidden cameras, laughing hysterically at your ignorance. Since parents are expected to be familiar with their baby equipment, you may need to actually read the entire car seat manual before your baby graduates to a booster seat.
A mother in ancient times didn’t have baby equipment, let alone manuals; she was happy if her baby didn’t get trampled by a camel. Even just a couple of decades ago, kids were merely thrown into the back of a station wagon to roll where they may. Nowadays, you almost need an advanced degree to use baby gear. Sometimes you have to enlist several engineers to help disassemble a playpen or readjust the straps on a car seat. These products should come with a label: NO ENGINEERS INCLUDED.
Before you purchase a car seat, shop around to find the lightest one possible. Of course, when you first buy the seat it will seem light. That’s because no one is sitting in it yet. Remember that you will be using this seat for the entire first year, and at some point you will be lugging the weight of the car seat plus a twenty-pound baby. Now add a diaper bag and myriad baby gear, and you had better start lifting weights in your spare time.
When you carry your car seat, do you do The Quasimodo (a.k.a. The Hunchback), dragging your leg behind you while completely hunched over? Lightweight car seats are available if you shop around. Car seats are too expensive to just go out and buy a lighter one, so take the time to comparison shop car seats based on weight.