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50 Baby Proofing: Hearths




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This article is from the Baby Proofing FAQ, by Sandra Smith, sandra@cs.toronto.edu with numerous contributions by others.

50 Baby Proofing: Hearths

From: dlin@weber.UCSD.EDU (Diane Lin)

We have a similar situation--brick fireplace which is never used, but
it's one of the only Off-Limits areas we have in our place left :-).
We just instituted a simple rule: the fireplace hearth was
off-limits. So, when Dylan started making his way over there, we would
say (very calmly and in a normal voice) "off-limits." Then, we would
pick him up and transport him to a safer area, and try to distract him
with something fun to play with. He would keep testing (at 10 months,
so will your son, I imagine) but after being faced with the same, exact
reaction from us, he soon tired of the test. We wanted to save using
"no" for really serious things, like life or limb-threatening
situations. BTW, he started crawling over to the fireplace at about 7
months, and now, at 15 months, he rarely even looks that way, because
he knows what will happen--consistency is all important in the early
limits placing, IMHO. We don't make it fun for him to go to the
off-limits areas (no swooping in the air, for instance), but will make
it more fun for him to avoid that area.

Friends of ours took a different tack--they surrounded the hearth
with big pillows in case their sons took a fall. Well,
unfortunately, that worked only for a little while, until the kids
were big enough to push the pillows out of the way. And, it didn't
help the kids learn that *all* fireplace hearths should be
off-limits. When we visit other houses, Dylan automatically avoids
the hearth areas. Maybe he just doesn't have a fascination with
bricks :-)

 

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