FILED IN: Child Safety

Stick a Fork in It

A Danish company has developed the EdisonSalvo socket, an electrical socket that will probably not fry children who stick forks in outlets. (It’s shock-resistant, not shock-proof!) I and my siblings had hours of fun sticking objects in sockets. It was the original thrill sport.
Why deprive my children of that jolt of fun? I hate to thwart their sense of adventure, but I do have a legal obligation to protect them from burns. I also have other obligations, and I work from a corner in a 500-square foot apartment. So probably won’t fry is good enough for me. I want to take a moment to pay tribute to all the little inventions that make it possible for me to close my door and ignore my kids: 
The television. Thank you, God for the boob tube. I’ve been determined to fully participate in "TV Turnoff Week". But I have editors. And editors have deadlines. And my daughter has Diego. Go, Diego, Go!
Cabinet locks. Sure they keep her out of the toxic household cleaners and knives – that’s the only reason why I honor them here. But those damn latches keep out everyone else, too. And I am the one who hops up to keep said everyone else from ripping drawers off the track in frustration. I can tune out my daughter, but I can’t write with that racket. Gives me a headache. Then I need some ibuprofen. Now if I can just remember the combination…
Furniture braces. These handy straps hold shelves and entertainment centers, and all manner of furniture in place. So if the kids feel like climbing the same walls where I feel like banging my head, it’s all good.
Baby monitors. I can go work out in the gym of my McMansion (Okay, not really, but a girl can dream, can’t she?), and if the little one screams or cries out in pain, I will already be warmed up for the run to the playroom.
Spy cams. These are wonderful in much the same way as baby monitors. Instead of just listening to my tykes, I can watch them on the TV or computer screen. No turning away from soap operas or quelling my MySpace addiction. I can rush to them while they are sneaking towards an outlet, eating utensil in hand. Oh, wait. This will not happen. See “cabinet locks” section. And even if that first line of defense is compromised, have no fear. The outlets are shock-resistant.
Fisher Price prisons.  Let’s clarify in case of libel. Fisher Price doesn’t actually make kiddie prisons. I am performing genericide on the brand name for the sake of alliteration. Don’t try it at home. Baby gates, kiddie kennels, and portable playpens are indispensable. I simply don’t have time for a child who wants to explore his environment. That’s why I buy electronic toys instead of old stand-bys like blocks and Pik-Up Stix. (I am the only one who picks them up anyway.) Did it bother me when my daughter was in her play “yard” and started running a cup along the vertical plastic poles, prison-movie style? Not at all. I just slipped her food through the triangle and went back to cleaning.

LeapFrog and LeapPad products. I am so relieved that I don’t have to wear out my fingers counting or my jaw singing the ABCs. Some frog and his friends teach my toddler for me. All I have to do is teach her to hold the stylus. And stop sucking on the batteries.
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I don’t even have to supervise art anymore! Crayola makes markers that only show on special paper. On the rare occasion I put an old-school crayon into a small pudgy hand, I walk away with no worries for my walls. Mr. Clean removes the ensuing creative endeavors.
Leashes. These are by far my favorite. I used to see children in harnesses and wonder aloud at how parents could tie their children up and walk them around like shivering Chihuahuas. But at a Renaissance Faire, I saw a woman dressed as a gypsy, roped to her children. I realized immediately that putting children in bondage can be fun. They can’t get lost, and I can take them home and enslave them or cook them later.
One day soon after the faire, my daughter was running ahead, hopping and ignoring my protestations to “Wait for Mommy.” She was trying to tell me that she wanted a Dalmation. (I hear they bite children – wouldn’t work for me, as it might require supervision.) A friend had one named Domino, and her shouts rang through the apartment complex, “I want a domination! I want a domination!” 
That can be arranged, honey. Break out the leash.