Monday, October 27, 2008

Danger philosophy

This is kind of a crappy pic but that darn Maya just will not stop moving for a pic. What I attempted to capture is the precarious nature of a 9 month old at the top of the stairs with a dopey dad trying to figure out his new LG Dare phone camera buttons. I think I did that much. I also attempted to capture a kid/danger philosophy Susan and I have adopted with both Ella and Maya with good success. We generally don't use gates at the top of our stairs or any other baby safety devices but rather attempt to expose our kids to each danger in a highly supervised setting as early as possible as a way to teach them the natural consequence of dangerous behaviors without them having to experience the painful effects. Stairs for example are an area parents often use gates. I would argue that the chance of Maya doing something dumb on the stairs and falling is about the same as a tired, stressed out parent trying to step over the gate and tripping while carrying the same kid. (This is not true if you have very dangerous stairs without a landing that could lead to a dead baby of course) Instead what we have done is as soon as our kids can crawl to the steps we invite them to crawl near the edge with tight supervision. When they inevitably make the fall down the stairs move I allow them to fall in slow motion in my hands. It is kind of a slow motion version of what would have happened in fast motion if I wasn't there. The kids did not like this at all even though it doesn't hurt. About three pretend falls and 10 minutes later both kids were mostly safe around fall situations. The main exception with Maya is that she would still crawl up to a ledge and do a little turning sit move that would put her in a fall position. A couple of weeks of tight supervision later and this issue has also been resolved. Now whether at the top of the stairs or on the edge of a tall couch she will carefully schooch her legs off first and safely slide down feet first on her belly. This danger exposure method worked great with our first child Ella. I initially thought the method worked because of Ella's naturally cautious way of being, however so far it has also worked very well with the very different non cautious Maya. Next week I plan to teach the girls how to shoot up heroin in a safe way.

No comments: