Babyproofing – Protection for or from babies?

Hello, this is Simon.

I have a daughter who is almost 11 months old now. For a long time since she was born she couldn’t move anywhere. My wife and I and we had no worries. However, a few months ago she started rolling on to her stomach, and from then it was only a matter of time before she started crawling around getting into all sorts of mischief. We realized we would have to baby-proof the house…

Proof is a suffix which is added to nouns. It means: to give protection from a particular thing. For example: Fire-proof is protection from fire, and water-proof is protection from water. Baby-proof is different though. It doesn’t mean protection from babies, it means protection for babies (i.e. to make a place safe for babies).

We started by padding the floor. This was for safety, but also for the neighbors. My daughter had started kicking the floor when she got excited. Around a week after she’d started, the building management company called everyone to say there was a thumping sound traveling through the building. They didn’t know which apartment it came from, but it had been going for about a week. After we padded the floor, there were no further calls. I guess our soundproofing worked.

There were a lot of sharp edges on things such as our coffee table. They would be dangerous once she started standing. She could fall and hit her head, so we got special padding for the edges…
The kitchen is quite a dangerous place for babies. We got a wooden playpen and made a barricade so she couldn’t enter. There were many things she wanted to get her hands on, but we put stop to that. The kitchen is now burglar-proof.
She also discovered power cables. A while ago I caught her pulling one through the bars of her playpen, mouth wide open. They needed to be made bite-proof.

Now, several months have passed without incident. These measures seem to have worked well and my daughter appreciates them too. The barricade is fun for her. She can hold on to the bars and shake it while shrieking at the top of her lungs. She looks like a prisoner demanding to be released from her cell.

The floor pads have perfect bite-sized tabs, and there are about 100 of these within a short crawl. She is very happy to have so many things to chew on… 
Now that she can stand, the padding on the coffee table is at just the right height (mouth height). She can also enjoy a good chew while watching her favorite TV shows, “Elmo” and “Inainaiba”.

Every day she is discovering new things to pull, drop, push over, and of course chew. We are beginning to wonder though. As we continue to baby-proof the house, do we need to think about protection for babies?

Or, from babies…


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Hello! My name is Simon. I am from New Zealand, and have been living and teaching English in Japan since 1999. My hobbies include movies, playing the guitar, gardening and hiking.