A list of holiday safety tips recently caught my eye. Not because I was seeking out a whole new list of dangers to worry about, but because the advice was so absurd. AB-SURD. But to be fair, the author does operate a “baby proofing services” company, so from her perspective, the more dangers that need mitigating, the better. At this point, I must declare my prejudice about baby-proofing. Basically, I find the baby-proofing industry suspect, a consumeristic construct of largely invented “needs.” Because really, you can lock up, pad, declutter, stabilize, and sanitize the entire house, but a baby has such an arsenal of inherent weapons, namely crawling/running, spitting, puking, peeing, screaming, flailing, and shitting, that nothing and nobody is really safe. Most environmental hazards pale in comparison to the havoc to be wrought by one small child.
But a hammer sees everything as a nail, after all. So I can’t blame her too much. And the more I think about life as a baby-proofer, the sadder I get. Imagine an existence in which every time you entered a new environment, you were tempted to crawl on the floor to obtain the optimum baby’s-eye view and thus ferret out the numerous lurking dangers. Where every door is a pinched or broken finger, every drinking glass (that’s right, I said glass) a trip to the emergency room for stitches, every wooden corner or edge a concussion waiting to happen, and what’s that? a fire in the floor-level fireplace? Madness! It’s a wonder she gets out at all.
So in the name of fairness, I’m choosing to read the following tips as a cry for help from a person who finds life on this big blue marble absolutely terrifying (I can’t believe I so cavalierly mentioned a marble in the same post as holiday safety tips, for pete’s sake. Think of the children, why don’t I? Talking about marbles like that…everyone knows that marbles are cunning, toddler-seeking, airway-blocking, bowel-obstructing weapons of child destruction! Next I’ll be laying down cliches about tossing babies wrapped in bacon into a dog-fighting ring. You’ve heard that one before, right?).
Okay, probably best to just move on. Here’s an excerpt from the piece I’ve been ranting about.
Christmas morning isn’t the same without a traditional Christmas tree. If you chose [sic] a real tree, make sure it is properly watered to avoid a fire hazard. Surround your tree with a gate to keep little ones and pets at bay. If the tree wobbles, mount it to a wall with a wire. Many are reluctant to do this, but the fix is only putty and paint. While a minor nuisance, it is much less expensive than a trip to the ER on Christmas Eve! Tabletop trees should be fixed to the table with museum putty. Avoid placing a tabletop tree on a tablecloth, as a child could easily pull it down. Holiday Safety Tips | Home Safety Advice | Rachelle Gansky
I’m sorry, did she just say, surround your Christmas tree with a gate? A gate? Let me just put this out there–if I EVER go out and spend $70 on a Christmas tree, drag it into the house, reconfigure the furniture to accommodate the tree, set up a matrix of extension cords that would give a baby-proofer a coronary in order to power the lights, spend several hours decorating the tree, and THEN surround it with some kind of plastic baby fencing system, just assume my body has been overtaken by aliens and shoot me with the nearest ray gun. Really. It would be a kindness.