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To expect in laws to childproof their house?

(68 Posts)
SquidgyMaltLoaf Sat 03-Jan-15 23:55:21

PIL and my DM have kindly offered to take our DD for a day a week each when I go back to work. She will most likely be crawling by then and I'm worried about her being with them. My DM is very careful with putting things out of her reach and making sure everything is safe so I don't worry at all when she's with her, but I do worry when she's with PIL.

They have, for example, cables trailing all over the floor under appliances; ancient, uncovered sockets; chairs that are falling apart (certainly not through lack of money that these haven't been replaced); broken floor tiles (ditto above); a high chair that is held together by elastic; an open fire with the world's oldest and IMHO fairly useless fire guard. The kitchen itself is ancient and not very clean, and they don't wash crockery properly or take care with raw meat and regularly put the dog's bowl on the worktop where they also prepare food (incidentally I'm certainly no clean freak but I do like hygiene...).

I know there's possibly an element of pfb in my thinking but I can't help looking round and seeing all the potential hazards. How much is it reasonable for us to ask them to sort things out? If it were just us taking her over there I would expect full responsibility for her safety to lie with DH and me, but if we're not there we can't do that. There would be an almighty row if we said we didn't want them to look after her, so what can I do to make me feel happier and her safer?

Flibbertyjibbet Sat 03-Jan-15 23:59:49

While I understand your concerns about their house, you will have to pay for childcare if you want to dictate terms.

MrsMoppandBucket Sun 04-Jan-15 00:00:40

YANBU in that I wouldn't want my child raised in that environment.

I think you should pay for any child proofing that needs doing. Gates, new high chair etc are expensive and you seem to want them to replace a lot of stuff.

If they are not willing to do it you'll have to be honest with them, row or no row. Comes with the territory, unfortunately.

I wish you good luck with it.

MildDrPepperAddiction Sun 04-Jan-15 00:02:30

As pp said, if you want to dictate then you need to pay for childcare. You can't have it all ways.

MarjorieMelon Sun 04-Jan-15 00:02:54

YABU. I go in some peoples houses and it's like being in a padded cell and yet the child still has an accident.

We never baby proofed everything. We removed obvious hazards and we supervised our children but you don't need to go overboard.

If you don't like the setup in your parents house then don't use them for child care!

LadyLuck10 Sun 04-Jan-15 00:04:05

Yabu and funny how they've managed to raise your DH though?
If you aren't happy with this, get other childcare.

AuditAngel Sun 04-Jan-15 00:04:21

I don't have all my sockets covered, just some accessible ones. You could buy them a safety pack to childproof certain areas.

You don't mention how old PFB will be? Will she be mobile? If is, you could gently mention that you are worried she will break or damage XYZ if she pulls it down?

FWIW my mum has always minded DC here as she thinks it is easier, as they have their toys etc around them. Perhaps this could be suggested?

DandyHighwayman Sun 04-Jan-15 00:06:59

Ikea antilop highchair is cheap as chips, get one for the ILs house

Uncovered plugs, what do you mean? Bare wires? If not, then plug covers could be argued to be unsafe. info here

Unkempt and broken furniture and floors are not really acceptable, ditto a rickety fireguard

My big "however - how about this" would be to lie a bit if DH and you cannot bear the fallout of saying "um naw we'll pass on you doing the one day a week, PILs" :- your employers run an incredible scheme wrt subsidising childcare costs omg you would be stupid to not take advantage etc. Thus not use either set of parents, suck up terrifying but neccessary childcare costs but none upset.

??

FuckyNell Sun 04-Jan-15 00:08:08

Hey I put my dogs bowl on the work top! What on earth is wrong with that? before I wash it or put it in the dishwasher, before I put food in it etc etc.

<off topic>

Trinpy Sun 04-Jan-15 00:08:58

What's your dh's view on this? If he's on your side then can you both say to PiL that since dd is into everything at the moment you want to make sure everything is is babyproofed at both their and your dm's houses (so they don't think you're criticising them)? Then pay for and install any baby proofing.

If you're still not happy then you need to get childcare in place instead and deal with the fall-out.

flipchart Sun 04-Jan-15 00:09:46

YABU

makapakasdirtysponge Sun 04-Jan-15 00:10:47

YABU to ask them. They aren't running a nursery.

Trinpy Sun 04-Jan-15 00:12:07

Oh yeah and definitely pick your battles. Babies pick up germs everywhere so the dog bowl wouldn't faze me. I caught ds sharing his dinner with my parents' dog the other day <boak>.

LeSquigh Sun 04-Jan-15 00:16:57

YABU. Sorry, I feel your pain but as others have said, they are doing you a bit of a favour and if you want it on your terms you will have to pay for it.

SquidgyMaltLoaf Sun 04-Jan-15 00:27:00

Exactly FuckyNell - you wash the bowl, they don't!

I've come across like I'm expecting them to change loads of things - obviously I would think it'd be fair if we buy high chair etc as they're doing us a favour (they would probably happily have her more but we don't want to take advantage so she's going in nursery the rest of the time). All I'd want them to do is the 'obvious hazards' - just simple things like putting the childproof things on to fix blind pulls to the wall, making sure the cables are out of her reach, making sure there's nothing hot / sharp / really mucky within her grasp. The problem is I don't trust them to do this. I think they've forgotten since they had DH (but then they let him not wear a seatbelt as a child even though they were in every car back then, which I'd never contemplate, so I think our standards are different to start with). Even if we buy the necessary bits though I don't know how to approach it so as not to offend them. DH agrees with me but is similarly flummoxed.

rallytog1 Sun 04-Jan-15 00:29:15

I'm bringing up my baby in a house with broken floor tiles - do you think I should report myself to ss op?

Seriously, as everyone else has said, if you want to dictate conditions you need to expect to pay.

SquidgyMaltLoaf Sun 04-Jan-15 00:32:28

Heck no rally tog - I'm not that bonkers! It's just I've nearly cut myself on them a few times so figured a crawling baby possibly wouldn't fare too well.

MissHJ Sun 04-Jan-15 00:43:57

Well only you know your in laws. My mum watches my son (15 months) a fair bit and her flat is no way what you would call suitable for a child. It's not messy as such but certainly got a lot of stuff in it that could harm a child but I have never really worried about it because I know my mum watches him like a hawk and if she does have to be out of the room, he goes to her partner or she puts him in his buggy for a while. Many houses you will take your child into will not be child proof however if they are watched there is no reason why any harm can be prevented. Only you however know if you feel comfortable with your in laws ensuring your child will not come into harm. Perhaps buy them a few child proof things or find alternative childcare

KnackeredMerrily Sun 04-Jan-15 00:49:54

Take your child round and mentally let go and see how pil act. Do they move thingsout of reach etc? If they're on the ball then trust them to do their own baby proofing and if they're not don't trust them to babysit at all - there are always hazards

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Sun 04-Jan-15 00:55:22

If you want someone to have the care of your child for 1/7 of the time, then you have to be able to have conversations! Work out a way to broach this with them and get it done. I'm. It at all pfb but things like blind cords and medicine (my Ps stored their horrifyingly large stock of meds ^in the bottom drawer^) are non-negotiable so you have to have the conversation.

Jelliebabe2 Sun 04-Jan-15 01:18:56

And yet your dh survived!

SquidgyMaltLoaf Sun 04-Jan-15 03:42:40

I do sometimes wonder how Jelliebabe... Plenty of people survive things. Doesn't mean it's necessarily overreacting to try to reduce the risk of those things happening.

Coyoacan Sun 04-Jan-15 04:06:24

Totally agree with LonnyVonny. It would be unfortunate if your child cut him/herself on the tiles, but not a disaster. However medicines and cleaning fluids would want to be out of the way, and blind cords dealt with.

Use lots of tact and maybe a few jokes about you and your pfb and make sure you know these things are dealt with.

Bulbasaur Sun 04-Jan-15 04:38:48

If you're going to trust someone with your most precious cargo, you need to be able to have adult conversations with them whether they get offended or not. Their feelings are not worth your daughter's safety. Moreover if you truly feel that this is an unsafe environment and send her over anyway, you could be held responsible for failure to protect.

I'd give them a chance to fix non-negotiable terms such as blind pulls and fire gate, even if you decide to buy the baby proofing items. If they don't put your daughter in a child care facility that is up to standard.

The most important part though is how well they supervise and are proactive in their approach. Kids get hurt in all sorts of weird and stupid ways you would not even predict. DD got her finger caught under an open DVD case she was crouching on and hurt herself. One time she just was sitting up and fell over for no reason and hurt her head. I don't think anyone could have reasonably predicted those instances, so childproofing is not a be all end all. While supervising isn't a fail safe either, it certainly prevents 99% of disasters and medical emergencies.

Giantbabymama Sun 04-Jan-15 04:54:29

I would find tactful ways to address the issues that you're worried about. Ie, take them a new ikea highchair and say it's a spare one someone had and DD seems to prefer em and will take meals better from it. If they've got issues like broken tiles, it might be that they need a bit of help with DIY, or just that they're used to them and stop noticing them and if you don't have a child full time you don't necessarily think of these things. If you could find a tactful way to say: "I know someone who could fix those for you" they might just fix them themselves. Someone has already mentioned safety packs for sockets and that seems like a good idea to me. You could just take one round and say DD loves playing with electrics and I wouldn't want her to freak you out by sticking her finger in sockets. It's scary leaving your child with someone else, but the chances are, nothing will happen and if DD starts pulling on loose wires, fiddling with sharp tiles, then it's likely PIL will pick up on it anyway and resolve the issues themselves.

My SIL was worried about her two staying with my MIL as she has a very big deep pond with no fence. So she got my BIL to ask MIL to put up a fence which is temporary and can be taken down when they're not there. My stepFIL bitches about it from time to time but my MIL totally gets why SIL wants it and just accepts it as part of having small kids in a house that wasn't necessarily built with them in mind. As others have said, unfortunately this kind of situation can cause resentment but things like seat belts In cars etc are now non-negotiable because of the law so the PIL need to fall in line with at least that issue, or you can't really in all honesty leave DD with them, even if it means making sure her car seat is fitted in their car before you leave her so there's no excuse not to use it.

As they're your inlaws rather than parents, you could ask your partner to bring these issues up because she is his child too at the end of the day and he has equal responsibility for her safety. I know mums often think of these things more than dads but it might all sound better coming from him. It's not really fair that it should all be left to you rather than him as you are much more likely to be painted as the fussy DIL that wanted all kinds of changes made to their house before her child could be left here, whereas blokes can be a bit more blunt about raising the issue and then just moving on and not feeling guilty about it like women do. ie: "I know I never wore a seatbelt mum and dad, and the chances are there won't be an accident, but it's the law now and t would be awful if there was an accident and dd was hurt because she was not strapped in wouldn't it."

Good luck with the negotiations!

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