Are You Too Stubborn to Baby-Proof?

Amy Keyishian

coffee table
My mom sent me an article about a terrible danger lurking in my living room. Lurking. In my living room. And also, holding my coffee. It’s a coffee table and apparently it wants to cause emergency-room visits and terror.

My coffee table is pretty innocent: it’s a wooden chest with rounded corners, so if anyone thuds into it, they’ll get a little bruise and nothing worse. So I was like, “These people are ridiculous. What’s an innocent little coffee table going to do?" Then I read further. What this story is really about is this: Do you design your home for your family, or do you make your family live around your design choices?

Apparently, there are still people who buy glass coffee tables, because in some corners of the world, the '80s never ended. And they hang on to these things even after their kids start pulling up and walking, because … uh … that is unclear.

I grew up in a brown house. The couch was brown chenille, the walls were wood paneled, the carpets were deep-wine Oriental rugs from my grandpa’s store. Nothing showed stains. Everything was kid-friendly. It was like growing up in a comfy little bear-cave. When the last of us got to college, our parents started making improvements, bit by bit. I’d come home for Thanksgiving to find the upstairs carpet updated, the goofy Colonial-themed wallpaper replaced, the couch reupholstered. It was safe now! They could have nice things again!

I kid. Nothing about the house was ugly. What benefit could possibly be gained by insisting on having a coffee table, or anything in fact, with “good and sharp” edges? The people in the article say that the world can’t pad its corners, so they shouldn’t pad theirs, but I mean -- really? You not only don’t childproof your house, you deliberately put a sharp thingy next to the bouncy couch? Or are these the kind of people who don’t allow kids on the couch?

I have 100 percent zero problem with having my house look and feel a certain way when my kids are small. We’re talking a tiny portion of my life, and an even tinier portion of my house’s life. I also think that if you can’t design a living space that’s both beautiful and comfortable, you should just give up and move to the china department at Nordy’s. Also, don’t invite me over.

On the other hand, you can have a freakin’ coffee table. Just have one that’s not covered in spikes and poison-darts. How hard is that?

Do you design for your babies, or adapt your babies to your design?

Image via kishisaka/Flickr

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