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In my opinion, baby proofing a home is nothing but laziness on the part of the parent. There is a difference between putting up things that could kill the baby or older child and baby proofing. There are things that do not belong in the reach of anyone let alone a baby. Obviously you put away under lock and key a gun or poisonous material. Just a obvious, a valuable antique does not belong on the edge of a table no matter if there is a baby in the house or not. Accidents happen, and a baby is an accident waiting to happen. Put up the things that you don't want anyone to touch. Next see what is left within reach that can hurt the baby immediately. If you did a good job putting things up that shouldn't be within reach of any child then you will find that there is little left that needs to be baby proofed.
Why shouldn't you completely baby proof? Because there is no such thing. First, you are not baby proofing, you are toddler and infant proofing. Second, you can put up a fence to keep them off the stairs, but some day someone will forget and leave it open. Never underestimate how fast or sneaky an infant is when it comes to getting something that you don't want them to have or up the stairs. Teach them not to do or touch the things they shouldn't. Here is another thing that parents tend to underestimate, their infants knowledge of established boundries and respect for those boundries. An infant that approaches or crosses a boundry is testing to see if it is still a boundry. She is not disobeying you. This is a test and only a test to see if you are consistent with the rules or did this boundry disappear. My 16 month old granddaughter is not allowed in my kitchen unless there is an adult with her. One day I saw her going toward the kitchen door. I said her name and she didn't come back. She was standing with just her toes over the threshold waiting to see my reaction. A test.
My granddaughter lives in a one story apartment. This is what I did when she came for an extended visit. The first thing I did was learn that infants instinctively know how to go up stairs, and like cats can't figure out a good way down. The first few days took careful watching. Every time we had to go up the stairs I carried her. She got sneaky at getting to the stairs. But a continued firm "no" and distraction were working. Finally on day three came the win for both of us. She stood by the stairs and said "up". I carried her up the stairs. She has not once tried to go up the stairs again without me or someone else carrying her. I now am teaching her outside on the front porch steps how to go down stairs. I always carry her back up so she realizes that down is her only choice. I hope to have her well schooled in going down stairs before the inevitable day when she is at another house with stairs and goes exploring. Or yes at my house when I don't hear her call for "up" and she decides that what she wants upstairs is worth Gran'pa's wrath.
Babies need boundries just as much as adults. Establishing boundries early will make life much easier later for you and the child. Infants are a learning machine. An infant wants to explore everything. It is a bright new world around them and they need to learn about it. Let them learn about their world, the boundries it has, and the consequences of crossing those boundries, not just about fences and a world off limits.
"But wisdom is proved right by all her children" Luke 7:35
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