White Glove Inspection - Is your home safe for your children?
By Donna Tartello
September 19, 1999
We all worry about our kids; that's normal. It's a genetic flaw built into human beings since the beginning of time. Don't be ashamed of it, it's your flower. What isn't normal is doing nothing about the emotions you shouldn't be not trying to deny, like we've all seen some parents not do. In fact, that's downright un-normal. So in today's divisiontwo White Glove Inspection, I'm going to tell you how you can effectively child proof your home so tight that your kids won't even be able to pee without wondering who's watching.
First off, let's start in the most dangerous room of the house: The kitchen. Modern American kitchens are full of looming hazards that may seem like irresistible playthings to your curious toddlers and developmentally disadvantaged teens. I know what you're saying: You look at the blender and you think, what could possibly be dangerous about my blender? Well, my friend Kiki lost her daughter's hand in a blender accident. You look at the oven and say, there's no way my kid would want to play in there. Ha! My friend Julie's son built a heavily-armed fort inside their oven and wouldn't come out for days. You look at the toilet and say, there's nothing dangerous about that harmless old toilet. Well, I don't even have a toilet in my kitchen.
- The first thing that needs to be child-proofed in any safe kitchen is all the cabinets. Don't be fooled by those little plastic hooks that are supposed to keep kids out. My eight-year-old has figured out how to get around those already. And don't buy into that "put everything dangerous on the top shelf" philosophy that's been popular since the '40s. My seventeen-year-old, Cody, is taller than I am. What I have found to be effective are flat-head screws. Every cabinet in my kitchen is secured so tight with ten or more screws that none of my kids wants to go to the trouble to try and open them. Besides, they're empty inside. Be mindful to use specialty screws that can't be unscrewed with a conventional flat-head or Phillips screwdriver: Once a child is old enough to hold his own peter, he can hold a screw driver, as the saying goes.
- Secondly, it is imperative that you cover all of your wall outlets so your curious little daughter doesn't stick her tongue into one like my husband did. But by the time your toddlers are over seven or eight years old, they will have figured out how to pull off those little plastic outlet covers they sell at stores, so I recommend using drywall joint compound or Plaster of Paris.
- Thirdly, you have to make all of your kitchen appliances child-friendly. Remove steel blades from blenders, remove heat coils from toasters, remove light bulbs from overhead lamps, blow out all pilot lights on the gas range, toss out the microwave, dull the wheel of the can-opener, drill air holes into the sides of the refrigerator, and remove the wooden blades from the ceiling fan. This should ensure that your appliances are reasonably safe for children and men.
Next, move on to the most dangerous room in the house: The bathroom. Most in-home deaths occur in the bathroom, and they aren't all caused by the suicide virus.
- In the bathroom, the worst culprit is the toilet. What I once read in a magazine and found to be effective in my own house is to chain the toilet lid shut with a combination lock that only you know how to open. Your toilet should be used by responsible adults only; your kids and husband can pee and crap on the neighbor's lawn at night or in disposable litterboxes you can get from any pet store. Once your kids get old enough to go to school, they will probably learn from their friends how to use the toilet, but it is important that you make it clear to them that this will not be tolerated in your house.
- Second most dangerous in the bathroom is the medicine cabinet. Home & Housekeeping recommends removing the dangerous mirrored glass found on the face of most medicine cabinets and replacing it with smooth tinfoil. I agree with that suggestion, and I also recommend keeping all dangerous prescription drugs inside the cabinet, not in the crib or playpen.
- Third most dangerous is the bathtub. Thousands of children each year accidentally scald themselves under the hot water faucet so badly that they have to be taken to the emergency room. I, personally, prefer my baths ice cold anyway, so I shut off the hot water valve in the basement years ago. A few months ago I found out my husband had learned how to turn it on again; I got so mad that I broke it clean off.
Now that the kitchen and the bathroom are squared away, let's move on to what is by far considered the most dangerous room in the house: The bedroom.
- It is statistically common for young children under the age of fourteen or fifteen to suffocate under heavy blankets at night, or worse, masturbate under them. I, personally, don't believe in giving children of any age blankets until they have undergone the illegal surgical procedure that removes sexually sensitive tissues from their genitals. (Email me for the address of the clinic that will perform this operation on your kids. You must pay in cash only.) Also, beds can be the home of millions of microscopic dust-mites that can be as much as 6 inches in length and have long pink tails and white or gray fur. After I found a family of dust mites living in my son's mattress, I decided it was too dangerous to have my family sleep on anything but the bare tile floor. Pillows are dangerous too, and should only be used by you.
- I used to have a lot of bondage gear in my own bedroom. I had a wheel, some spiky collars, handcuffs, chains, clit needles, you name it. I thought it was mommy's little secret, but then one day I came home early from work and caught my then sixteen-year-old son and his whore of a girlfriend indulging themselves with my penis scraper. I beat her up pretty bad and threw her out for dirtying my son like that, and nowadays, I keep my bondage gear here in my office at divisiontwo where it's a little safer.
If you have come up with any additional suggestions as to how to make your home child/husband proof, or if you want to subscribe to Donna's Hot Links, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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