I am never sure how anal that was. I read stuff in parenting forums where some kids gets into an accident where I am sure there was a long standing series of neglect going on. For instance, one parent posted that her infant, who just learned how to crawl, crawled into a kitchen, pushed down a baby gate, pushed out the deck screen, got outside, and fell off their unfinished deck. He broke an arm, but is otherwise okay. I have to picture this series of events in my head as I would have handled it.
First, CR was always in an enclosed space if I wasn't 100% sure I could pay attention to him. A crib, a playpen, or loose on the floor boxed in by furniture. And I was always close by because pretty quickly, he learned to get out of all of these. But I made it so if he escaped, I'd hear it, like the sound of him pushing something aside. Or I'd stop hearing him, a sure sign he was figuring something out, like how to escape. You learn as a parent (or should) that with little kids, silence is a warning sign of some kind. It isn't relaxing at all. It is a "where is little Bobby... right now...?"
I know some parents can't be there 100% of the time, and I'd be a dick if I were to suggest otherwise. If you have 3 little kids, for example, I couldn't tell you how to manage that and still stay sane. But if your crawling baby pushes down a baby gate and a deck screen, how can you not hear it? How far away were you when this happened? I mean, if I had to go to the bathroom, CR was always put in a place where he couldn't get away. Sure, he may scream in his crib or playpen for 5-10 minutes, but I told him why, and I'd be back. When he stopped fussing, I knew something was up. And when I came back, I said I was sorry, and I had to go potty, and that wasn't his fault, but I wanted to make sure he was safe. It worked fairly well.
Accidents happen. Your kid is running around your feet and trips you, so you drop something on his head trying not to fall on them. You have two kids, and one hits the other for the TV remote, but accidentally hits her little sister in the eye. Someone forgot to put the baby gate properly on the stairs, and your toddler leans on it, it falls away, and them and the crate go stair surfing for a brief and scary moment. These are not signs of neglect, really. They are signs of life. But I see photos like this:
And I wonder:
- How did they get access to the paint?
- How did they remove the lid?
- Why were they unsupervised long enough to achive this level of mess?
- In the living room?
How about this one? http://solveacrime.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/peanutbutter.jpg
- Why is a baby alone in a kitchen this long?
- Where was the peanut butter and how did he get access to it?
I am not asking to call CPS. I mean, I am sure there was some story like, "I left the kids in charge with a relative not used to children, and he/she got a phone call and forgot about the kids for 10 minutes." I have my own stories in this regard.