When I was a kid, a baby boomer, back in the olden days (yikes), I don't think there wasn't much childproofing done for us. Parents back then didn't have many parenting guides to help or confuse them, just their parents' advice. And of course Doctor Spock. I seem to remember we had gates at stairways to protect us, or maybe an ironing board across a doorway, but that was about it. Our parents probably did the same for a new baby or a new puppy. The rest of the world was right there for us, with all it's thrills and spills, adventures and hazards. I was free to poke things into electrical outlets, sample the cleaning supplies, or flush things down the toilet - not that I recall doing any of those things. I was also free to open kitchen drawers and doors, and that I did. In fact I used to play under the kitchen sink, that cupboard had some pots and pans in it, and utensils on hooks, and was a great place to pretend and escape reality. I did that often, preferring solitary play to socializing - a trait that would later on get me expelled from kindergarten for a week. But that's another story.
For my own kids we had had more guides and courses to tell us how to be parents, and the stores sold the aforementioned gates, plus covers for doorknobs, latches for kitchen doors, and bumpers for sharp corners. Great presents for baby showers. And it seems to me those all stayed installed until the youngest was maybe 3, an ongoing challenge for parents and visitors, and something for the older kids to eventually figure out. When we finally did get around to removing all those protections It did feel weird the first few day to not have to be flicking hidden latches every time we went to open something.
For my grandson's world, innovative companies have added to the market even more things to choose from, like latches for fridge and stove doors, even for toilet lids! For the baby's room, audio monitors have been available for a while, enabling you to sit upstairs, or lie in bed, and listen to him/her wheeze and sneeze and snore and mutter. Now that Noah has his own little bed, his parents have an wireless web-cam up in the corner of his room so they can check if he's quiet because he's sleeping, or if it's because he's out of bed and quietly pulling all his clothes out of the cupboard - just because he can. He's not online - yet. My son mentioned that you can even get mattress pads that sense when the baby is moving and breathing. My grandson does have all those latches and knob covers installed, so visiting his place was a challenge for me at first, as many of these childproof devices were initially grandpa proof too. I still can't manage one of the gates.
I had none of those safety things things at my place so my grandson's first visits here as a toddler were busy ones for me as he raced around. Stacks of CD's tempting from a low shelf, various glowing remotes by the TV, little piles of things on the floor waiting to be carried upstairs - a lot of quick grabs of him for things and me of him. So I chose my battles and gave him something that was not another "no" - the pots and pans cupboard. I took out the glass casseroles and cast iron pots but other than that was a legal zone for him. Oh, I threw in some assorted wooden spoons too, just in case he wanted to whack out a tune or do some stir fry. He did.
I was glad to see that - with a bit of practice - that my eyes in the back of head still worked. It's amazing how fast such a little guy can move, whether it's to grab a cell phone off the table, knock over grandpa's coffee, or just disappear around the corner. That's one thing some childproofing gives you, the peace of mind to relax for a bit and know there's less trouble the little tyke can get into.
Now, a year later, he's improving. Still inquisitive like mad, but he's OK with me saying to leave some things alone. He's not into the pots and pans cupboard as much, but he now also has a bottom drawer in the kitchen for some toys. He keeps some plastic blocks in there, in Zip-lok bags. He likes to put them in and slide the tab over, sort of cleaning up after himself.
So that's childproofing for the baby boomers of the 50's, for my kids in the 80's, now for theirs in the 00's. If any of you have more examples from those era's, please comment, and I will expand on this article.
BTW - I've gone back and added to some earlier posts for this "grandchildren" category. I'll be adding more, but here's a link to what's there so far.