{Baby-Proofing Your Home}

Last week our neighbour left his car running in the parking garage downstairs and went away on vacation. Yes, vacation!! (I'm still stunned!) But it did get us thinking about how much attention we pay to safety in our home. As we opened all the windows and googled whether or not CO rises (we're one floor above the garage), we realised that we really haven't made our home as safe as it probably should be for small children. Ummm....not so good parenting.

For one thing, we don't have a CO detector or a smoke alarm in our apartment. There is a CO detector in the garage itself, though I highly doubt that it works (now that I think about it, the fact that the running engine of the neighbour's car didn't set it off is a pretty good indicator that it doesn't work). In Canada, and I think most of the US, it's illegal to rent out an apartment that doesn't have smoke detectors already installed. In Europe, that's not the case. We have never rented a place in Europe that had smoke detectors, let alone CO detectors.

Now, when Princess Pea was a baby we did get all safety-conscious (for a while). We put baby-safe covers on all the electrical outlets, locks on all the drawers and cupboards, removed the glass top from the coffee table, put soft thingys on the corners of furniture, packed away everything breakable, put spongy underlay under all the rugs, looked up the potential poisonousness of our houseplants, tied up all cords, bolted taller furniture to the walls, and went out and bought our own smoke detectors and installed them ourselves. Then we moved, took them with us and reinstalled them in our new place. We had stairs then, so we also added a few baby gates to the mix, and my father-in-law built extra spindles on the stair railings to make the gaps smaller. Then we moved again, and.... well, they've been sitting, useless, in the cupboard for nearly 2 years now. By the time we moved into our current home, Princess Pea seemed old enough and trustworthy enough (erm, at age 2) not to need the rest of the safety gadgets. She's pretty sensible about safety and is generally terrified of doing anything potentially unsafe. When Sweet Pea came along, we covered all the electrical outlets, and have recently put locks on 2 low kitchen drawers and two kitchen cupboards. We keep the bathroom doors closed. We have a few strategically-placed soft corners. We have the wardrobes and really tall furniture bolted. But that's about it. We still haven't unpacked the smoke detectors.

That said, I did once meet a mom (a princess, no less...but that's another story!) who told me that it was all over-the-top and that the only thing she did with her 3 babies was put the caps on the electrical outlets. But, being a new mum, there was no such thing as over-the-top, so I did everything the books told me to. The second time round, of course, we've definitely slackened our safety-consciousness. For better or for worse? I suspect worse.

After this garage incident, Mr Pea went out to buy some CO detectors. And I suppose this weekend he'll probably install them. And maybe even the smoke detectors too.

I'm interested to know what you've done in your home to make it safe(r) for your kiddos. And how much is too much? Is there such a thing?