This sponsored post was written by Julie Vallese, Consumer Safety Expert at Safety 1st.
Our world may be built for adults, but it wouldn’t be complete without children! And the very things that we as adults use every day, in every home, can pose risks to children – like stairs, windows, cabinets, and large furniture. So when a baby arrives, we need to do as much as we can to protect them from these dangers. That means using safety devices such as locks and latches, covers and gates.
Some people refer to this as “baby proofing” but what we’re really doing is “safe guarding” the home. “Safe guarding” minimizes risk. It allows for adults to recognize areas or things that can cause harm to children and add a deterrent or obstacle that stands in the way of harm.
As children develop, their interactions with their surroundings change. This happens at different times, ways, and stages in a child’s life. Some children develop fine motor skills early; others strength or mobility first. Along with development comes curiosity and personality. Put all of these things together and not only do children keep parents busy, they also give them a reason to act.
What one parent sees as a risk may not even be on the radar for another. There isn’t one right or wrong, just differences. Children are different too – while one may fixate on the kitchen cabinets, another may be determined to conquer stairs.
Since a child is always learning, observing and imitating, how parents use safety devices is important. Some safety devices are basic, others more advanced. If a child defeats one safety device, address the risk differently or with a product that is more complex. Never encourage or cheer a child on to interact with the risk being addressed (ex, “Yay, you figured out how to unlock the safety gate! You’re so smart!”). This only reinforces and exposes a child to risk.
Can some children defeat safety devices? Yes, some can and do. Even the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recognizes this in the standard that it has set for child resistant caps on medication. You’ll notice these aren’t “child proof” but “child resistant”.
So do you need safety devices? Absolutely. They’re effective in keeping children safe from harm and slowing down a child’s ability to gain access to harmful things. While a parent cannot prevent every stumble, fall or boo boo, safety devices can add a great layer of protection from the greatest risks.