If you compliment what I'm wearing, chances are I'll respond by telling you that I got it for a steal - from a low-end mass retailer. I just sort of blurt it out before I can think - "Hey! I got a great deal on this top!" That knee-jerk reflex is probably most evident when it comes to all things infant or baby-child. Seriously, I have a real bone to pick with the modern consumerist bent that has moms convinced they need *all* the things for their kids to be safe and happy. So when I find a great deal on toddler shoes, or a useful baby gate, or a sale on Children's Tylenol - I jump on it.
Sometimes when I want to really stretch my mama moola, I'll tackle a DIY project specifically for one of the kids. Some of these projects are still just ideas on my Pinterest boards, but some have actually come to fruition. My father-in-law got the ball rolling when he made Shep a learning tower from the remnants of their ongoing home renovation. This thing is so nice - it's got car siding wrapped around it and a gorgeous satin sealant. Crayon and markers scuffs just wipe right off. It's basically heaven. And that's what happens when DIY goes right!
But Do-It-Yourself can quickly morph into Don't Do It! Some of the more popular safety "hacks" I've heard really sound anything but safe and secure.
Put Them To Sleep In A Straight Jacket
If you've got an adventurous or curious little one, chances are you have or will experience the "escapee" phenomenon. That is, all of a sudden the kid can climb out of bed and won't stay in their crib! One DIY mom hack recommends that parents sew a small strip of fabric between the legs of a footed sleeper. This way, kids can wiggle but can't swing their leg up over the edge of the crib.
As a general rule, tying someone up so they cannot move freely is a bad idea. I won't go into all the possible scenarios that come to mind, but none of them are really good. Best case, a frustrated toddler who cries themselves to sleep because they're stuck. Can I be honest? If your kid is climbing out of bed, it's probably time to either train them against that OR give in and transition them out of the crib. Just my two cents.
Just Slap A Hair Tie On It
Any decent red-blooded American keeps their cleaning chemicals one of two places: a closet with a door, or beneath their kitchen sink. Why is this? I don't know. But what I do know is that, of course, that cabinet under the sink is the most interesting cabinet of all to Shep. Likely, he's seen me get things out of that cabinet several times a day - a trash bag, dish detergent. Obviously I'm not really keen on him eating a Tide Pod (he's tried!). So I needed to keep my lil' stinker out of the Lysol and Scrubbing Bubbles - and Pinterest told me to slap a hair tie on the handles.
Look, I'll try to give the creator of this hack the benefit of the doubt. This simple trick might work quite well for babies who are only crawling and not walking, or on cabinets that have a fairly secure latch to begin with. And hey - if the cabinets didn't contain *deadly* chemicals, I might feel ok trying this one out. However, my kid has been able to get around this one since I first tried it - a year and a half ago. I imagine most kids over 18 months would probably figure that one out in a snap, too.
Duct Tape. Need I Say More?
The versatile adhesive wonder has been used to keep kids "safe" in ways the inventors couldn't have dared dream. From keeping a bike helmet on a too-small toddler, to covering electrical outlets "in a pinch", duct tape is the DIY'ers silver bullet. Let's stop right here! I can get down with some duct tape like any red-blooded Hoosier girl, but this is just wrong.
I don't know how else to put this: duct tape should not be used to secure a human being to a chair, car seat, or safety gear. Should I even have to say this? You are probably all sharp enough not to try this one, but apparently lots of folks give it a go. If it were their own health at risk, I wouldn't mind so much, I think. But when a kid is the one on the line? Let's not play around, people. Don't Do It Yourself. Leave it up to the experts on this one!
What scary safety "hacks" have you seen? Any that your doctor recommended that worked for you? Tweet me @pi3sugarpi3.