Re: On child proofing the CH with locks on drawer and cupboards
From: Diana Carroll (
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2019 09:23:55 -0700 (PDT)
I don't disagree with the need to take a broad look at the assumption that
child-proofing is "good"...I agree completely.

However, your argument for that is very problematic, and seems to rest on
the idea that the worst that can happen with a kid getting into a drawer
they shouldn't is dumping some tea or drawing with markers.  The worst that
can happen is that the kid dies.  That greatly decreases the opportunity
for that kid to learn from their mistake.

You also assume that kids will naturally learn not to do something from ONE
negative (non-death) experience. Sometimes that's the case and sometimes it
isn't.  And you assume that having adults express displeasure with them
counts as negative enough to learn not to do it.  That is not only often
wrong, it is also not inline with the actual childhood development
psychology.  With that theory, no kid would ever do a bad thing
twice...which, you know...isn't how kids work.

And you mention special needs kids...that's a pretty broad term.  If you
are arguing with a parent in your community about what their kid needs, who
are you to decide whether they are "special needs" or not?  (That one
really makes me bristle, as a parent of a kid with special needs.)

Again, I'm not arguing with your conclusions, just your argument.

Mosaic Commons, Berlin, MA

On Wed, Jun 26, 2019 at 11:00 AM Sharon Villines via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> One of the things I do in my community that drives them nuts is writing
> emails looking at issues in a broader context than I object, though I do
> that too. I don’t remember discussing this issue here before so I thought
> this one on child-proofing the CH might be useful and even enlightening.
> Even if I say so myself.
> This one addresses the problems that child-proof locks create for adults
> and how they are counter productive for children. And make life less fun
> for everyone.
>  Edited for clarity.
> A reminder that we had a long discussion about safety locks a few years
> ago and ended in the position that drawer and door locks would not be
> replaced without further conversations about where they are actually needed
> and where they are a needless inconvenience.
> Someone has replaced the ones on the drawers in the beverage bar and I'm
> about to take a hammer to them. Please stop doing this until we have a
> discussion about where they are really necessary and where they are just a
> nuisance.
> I can’t open the locks with one hand and when I need to get one open, I am
> usually carrying things. I have to use both hands. This is frustrating when
> I’m  decluttering the CH and putting things away. I can’t just open a
> drawer or cupboard.
> The only places where there are dangerous things is in the kitchen — knife
> drawer and under sink cleaners. Children are not stupid. They learn very
> quickly what is okay and what isn’t. They don’t need locks to tell them.
> Like my tear-up-a-puzzle theory, each child will do it once. They will get
> into the markers, for example, once. They stop when they see how upset the
> adults are. We shouldn’t have waterproof markers in the CH (allergic
> reactions) and washable ones can easily be cleaned or painted over.
> I would much rather that a child learn to think twice about whether they
> should or should not do something based on substance not possibility. Locks
> everywhere teaches children that if it isn’t locked up, it’s free for the
> doing. Then the locks have to be used everywhere because their absence
> gives permission.
> And child-proof locks deprive kids of one of the few adventures left to
> them. Dumping tea on the floor is fun and hurts no one. Markers on the wall
> is a bit more bothersome but is it a catastrophe? Certainly doesn’t hurt
> the child. Until we have a serial tea dumper or a frenetic marker artist
> amongst us, I can’t imagine why we are worrying about it. (I pledge to
> clean up any of these messes anytime.)
> We used to worry that kids would figure out how to go to the basement and
> discussed a lock or key or something to protect them from whatever might be
> down there. Then one day the gang of 3-year-olds did go to the basement.
> They were proud of being so brave but also a little frightened — they
> couldn’t find the light switches —  and never went again.
> In almost 20 years, only one trip to the basement by unaccompanied
> children. Can you imagine how inconvenient it would be to lock up the
> elevator?
> If we had a special needs child or adult, then the argument changes. But
> we don’t.
> (There are also locks available that can be used during parties when
> non-resident children are on the loose that can be used just for special
> events.)
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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