There are probably about a million billion schmillion pages on the web dedicated to the weird, funny, and often inappropriate things kids say. So, dammit, I wanted to have one of them. And not just because I didn’t want to be left out, but because I really have heard some doosies in my time, and haven’t I promised to share what I know?
They say wisdom comes from the mouths of babes (see also: ‘women’s intuition’ ….. hmmmm does that mean good looking women’s intuition is exceptionally accurate?) so perhaps we should pay close attention to these insightful gems –
Apparently she needed the money to bail her lover out of jail. Just as well she offered them up for sale, really, since it means they have now been rescued from her ‘care’ and will hopefully be placed in a proper home with proper parents.
A quick Google on the topic tells me that this kind of thing isn’t unheard of. There are several cases of people selling babies on Ebay or through dating sites (single mum looking for love, could be just plain single for the right price, ask me how!) and other social media and networking sites. Cruel and dumb, right? Did these people think they were going to get away with it? Did they not realise they were doing anything wrong? Well, if they lived in Mississippi prior to 2009, they weren’t! Yep, up until 2009 in MS, USA it was perfectly legal to buy and sell children! (note to self: could there be more outdated irrelevant and harmful laws lingering in the US? Can I barter my child for your gun?).
If all this talk of child selling seems like a good idea to you, you might like to head over to childslavelabor.com . It’s got some compelling arguments for why you should sell them your child. Seems their contact form is down but I’m sure it’ll be up and running again soon 😉
I think it’s fair to say that all parents are aware of the need to babyproof their house, especially once their baby starts crawling, walking, and climbing. There are lots of obvious things parents jump to secure and lots of lists available to point out the main hazards and areas that need babyproofing.
But there are also lots of ways for your baby to get into trouble in your home that are often overlooking or the danger of which are underestimated.
Though falls and electrocution are usually the primary concerns for many families, and most readily addressed, a child between the age of 1 and 4 is actually most likely to be harmed from fire and burns, choking, drowning, or poisoning.
Of course you should place covers on the sharp edges of low tables, secure baby gates at the top of stairs, cover your electrical sockets, and limit the openings of windows to protect your baby from electrocution and falls, but don’t stop there!
Some dangers you may have overlooked:
House fire: Make sure you have working smoke detectors.
Oven and Stove: Consider putting a baby gate at the door to your kitchen, or if you can’t, a guard around the oven (which is often hot to touch) and stove-top (where saucepans can be pulled down).
Tablecloths: Don’t use them until your baby is older, or tuck all the sides up. Baby can pull hot drinks and heavy objects onto herself.
Hot drinks: Don’t underestimate how far you baby can reach or how high they can climb. Keep hot drinks off of low tables and well into the middle of higher tables. This goes for all small objects as well.
TV: These days many households have flat-screen TVs that are easy to pull over but still heavy enough to cause serious damage. Keep your TV pushed well back from the edge of its table.
Bookshelves: Anchor to the wall. They look great for climbing and can topple over and crush baby. Similarly, always keep drawers closed. An open set of drawers looks like a set of stairs to your baby.
Fridge Magnets: Don’t forget how far baby can reach. Keep all magnets well above the height you baby could reach on their very best day. Don’t forget to keep checking how high this is; baby is getting taller all the time!
Glass Doors: Well cleaned glass is invisible to your baby. Place stickers on the glass at their eye level – or dirty up the glass! 🙂
Toilet: Your baby can drown in the toilet. Because they are so top-heavy if she looks inside she can tip in headfirst and drown within seconds. Keep a latch on the toilet and keep the door shut. Similarly, be mindful of a bucket you may use when mopping the floor. Never let it out of your site and remove as soon as you’re finished.
Toys with beaded eyes: Many teddies have glass or plastic bead eyes that can be chewed off and become a choking hazard. Keep these toys for when your baby is older.
Dishwasher: Look inside yours and you might find knives. Keep it shut and latched at all times. Best if you can have that gate on the kitchen door.
Handbags: You may be used to putting any bags belonging to family members out of the way, but don’t forget those belonging to visitors. You have no idea what might be inside and many will have lotions you don’t want your baby swallowing and small items they could choke on. Designate a place up and out of the way where you can always ask guests to leave their possessions when visiting.
Rubbish bins: Most families realise they need to latch a cupboard containing medicines or poisonous cleaning products, but don’t forget these bottles end up in the bin. There may also be small items in here that your baby could choke on. Keep your bin latched or behind a latched door.
This is not a comprehensive list of every way you can babyproof your house, but a collection of tips that are sometimes left off more general lists or overlooked when babyproofing freestyle.
One of the best things you can do to make sure you’ve covered all the bases in your home is to get down on your hands and knees and crawl around the house. From this angle you can see what might look interesting to your baby, where potential hazards are, as well as get an insight into what they can’t see easily.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of teaching your baby to listen to your instructions. While a 1 year old can’t be given complicated instructions they can understand “No” and if you use the right tone of voice and expressions (low and stern) they quickly learn to understand when they are about to touch or open or do something they aren’t meant to. There are, frankly, more hazards than you could ever 100% babyproof for. While the major ones can be covered, there’s always going to be situations where a response to a well-timed “No” can save your baby from harm.
But here’s my #1 hot tip for keeping your baby safe: there are three words you must never forget
Last month a photo was circulated of a baby asleep alone inside a car. There was a note on her blanket that read, “My Mummy’s doing the shopping. Call her if I need anything”, followed by a mobile phone number. Several passers-by were concerned about the baby and apparently called the number and waited by the car until the mother returned. Media reporting has been a mixed bag, with some seeing the decision as inexcusable and others having a more lenient approach towards what they assume is a frazzled mother. The motivations and situation of the mother is unknown, as she was never identified.
Looking around the internet the feeling from those discussing the incident on social media is generally more negative. While there is some compassion for the plight of parents juggling everyday life with a baby, most say they would never have done a similar thing.
However, when you modify the search to leaving a baby while you pay for petrol, rather than nip into the shops, the mood changes. Now most replies seem to agree that it makes more sense to dash into the service station that is only a few meters from the car and pay quickly, rather than disturb the baby and bring them with you for such a short and nearby trip.
What is the key difference here?
Probably not the time or the distance away from the baby. Arguably you could park just as close to a shop as to the service station and spend the same amount of time paying for petrol as buying milk. I think it must be something about the necessity value. Shopping seems to most people as something that could be done another time, somehow a little luxurious, while getting petrol an unavoidable requirement that needs addressing, whether there is a baby with you or not. Maybe it’s to do with how well you can see your baby? From the service station perhaps you can see the baby through the windows and in a shop you may not be able to. Personally, I don’t see that there’s much difference.
What about when your baby is sleeping at home?
It’s illegal in all states and territories of Australia to leave a child unattended in a car. The laws about leaving a child in the home are less clear. While you are required to ensure your child’s safety and can be charged with negligence if you are deemed failing to provide adequate care, there is no strict ruling about circumstances you might leave your child alone at home. If your baby is sleeping, as the baby in the car was, would you hang out the washing? Put out the bins? Put mail under your neighbour’s door? Move your car to a new spot? Go the shop at the end of the street for formula…? How far is too far, how long too long, what task too unimportant?
I once heard a story about a friend of a friend of a friend who lived above a small grocery store. She would pop down when her 6 month old slept and do the shopping. Her baby monitor was still in range and she would bring it with her. The story was told to me with shock and disapproval. I’m not sure this is vastly different to parents who live in houses with 2 storeys or more who move downstairs while their baby sleeps. But again, the shopping in itself somehow seemed to make the mother seem reckless and selfish, whereas perhaps going to your basement to put on laundry while your baby slept would not?
Clearly as a general rule you need to be near and watchful of your baby and young children. But, the tendency of this generation to hover over their children like never before is well documented, and largely thought to be contributing more negative than positive outcomes to the children, themselves. Where is the line between vigilance and unnecessary worry, between concern and paranoia, between safety and smothering??
Have you left your baby in the car while you popped into the shops or to pay for petrol?
Would you leave your baby sleeping in their cot while you went downstairs, or outside, or next door, or to the end of the street?
Do you think it’s ok to do some things while your baby sleeps and not others?