In the image, the little boy (who was born in April) is shown grinning while sitting on a blanket in front of a bunch of Christmas presents... and an electrical outlet.
Not surprisingly, people who saw the photo have quickly jumped on the fact that the outlet does not have any safety caps to prevent little Israel from sticking his fingers — or something else — in the open slots.
Some went as far as calling them neglectful parents.
But is this yet another mountain being made out of a molehill?
Well, yes. And no.
There are some babyproofing steps that parents may choose to skip because of their own child's individual needs. However electrical outlet safety is one parents should take seriously. According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, some 2,400 kids suffer "severe shock and burns" each year from sticking things into the slots of electrical receptacles. They estimate anywhere from six to 12 kids even die every year because of this hazard.
That said, there are some pretty easy explanations that take Jill and Derick out of "neglectful parent" territory. For starters, many safety experts now advise against the plug-type safety covers as they can be wrested off by Baby and become a choking hazard. In their place, there are safety plates that look much like the traditional outlet.
What's more, it's highly possible that the baby was not at the Dillard house. It's not unheard of for parents to take photos of their babies at homes other than their own... homes that are not babyproofed. Often that means parents need to keep a closer eye on their kids at these homes, but if every parents were bound to take their babies only to babyproofed homes, can you imagine how many friends and family members would never actually see them?
And even if they are at home, well, who knows where that outlet is located. Is it in a spot the baby can often get to? Do his parents watch him like a hawk when he's near it?
Baby safety is certainly something parents need to make a priority, but every child and every home is different. Some parents never put up gates or put locks on things, and their children turn out just fine, while other parents lock down everything in sight, only to face a little Houdini who manages to break through it all anyway.
What matters most is that you do what's right — and safest — for your child.
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