Childproofing your home? Toddlers insist it’s ‘Game on’

To keep your kids safe, you should childproof your residence by removing dangerous items from the home, such as the children.

I’m convinced children are more dangerous than terrorists. At least a terrorist will just kill you instantly. Kids, on the other hand, methodically drain the life out of you through a series of small tortures. Just this week I’ve slipped hard on a Dora the Explorer doll and was viciously bonked over the head with a Disney “Cars” nightlight. When it comes to pain infliction, extremist Muslim groups have nothing on an American toddler.

The one advantage for toddlers is that you don’t get to deduct a member of al-Qaida off your taxes.

A primary torture method used by toddlers against their enemy (the parents) is the use of sleep deprivation. Kids organize daily secret meetings with their siblings in which they plan how to sabotage their parents’ sleep patterns.

OLDEST TODDLER: “So tonight I was thinking about staying up until 11 p.m. or so.”

YOUNGEST TODDLER: “That should work because I have a long coughing fit scheduled for midnight. After a break, I’ll start one of my patented blood-curling shrieks at 3 a.m.”

OLDEST: “Great. In between, I’ll take over.”

YOUNGEST: “How?”

OLDEST: “I don’t know. Bad dream, potty break — I’ll think of something.”

YOUNGEST: Just one problem: Since I get up at 5, there’s a one-hour window between 4 and 5 a.m. when nobody will be bothering Mommy and Daddy. What should we do?”

OLDEST: “Hmm. Maybe let them sleep for an hour?”

(Pause ...)

YOUNGEST: “Ha! That’s a good one. How about you ask for some water while I ...”

Oh, I know some of you don’t believe toddlers can communicate this way, but babies have their own highly advanced language system for sharing tips with their friends. When my 15-month-old has a play date with other babies, the “Goo goo, Dah dah, Baa baa” he’s hearing is actually code for “Now, to unseal the child safety latch, you just simply lift, and turn clockwise.” In fact, when you hear two babies laughing hard, it’s because someone just said the word “childproof.”

And yet, childproofing is so important, as babies are drawn to dangerous items. My son finds scissors in our house that we’ve never owned. If, back in 2002, the military would have just put a couple of babies on the ground in Iraq, we would have found those weapons of mass destruction. Plus a ton of Cheerios.

One way to childproof is to cover over all electrical sockets. I recommend the Kidco brand protective electrical outlets from Walmart. My son likes the taste of those best.

Don’t forget to buy a safety gate too. Look for it in the aisle labeled “Tripping Hazards.” Each year, in the United States, approximately 12,000 people are killed by tripping over the safety gate on their way to the kitchen, according to a statistic I made up, but which I’m sure is on the light side, if anything.

I always forget about our gate at night, which doesn’t really matter, because I can’t see it anyway. For some inexplicable reason (probably Satan’s idea), they aren’t lit up — in fact, just the opposite. Our gates are light brown, in a shade nearly perfectly matching our wall. My daughter’s tennis shoes have bright, flashing lights that could double as airport runway lights, but the deadly tripping hazard in our dark hallway at night is camouflaged.

All of which means I’m constantly falling over it and doing faceplants onto the kitchen floor. Safety gates? It would be almost impossible to find something less safe to put in my house, outside of pythons or bear traps.

Yet we, as parents, must take these sort of steps to ensure our children’s safety.

Don’t tell me you don’t have time for this. I know you’re not doing anything at 4 a.m.

Reach Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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