And my one-year-old fell down the stairs.
The stair gate was not fully closed and Jed tumbled down a full flight. The sound of my baby thudding as he hit the ground, his wretched cry and Ezra’s scream are still echoing in my ears.
I’m not sure my feet touched a single step as I flew down to scoop him up. He was quivering and crying but soon settled in my arms even as I continued to shake.
We kept a close eye on him (he was wobblier than usual for a while) and I hunted online for advice. In my search, I came across Thudguard, a protective helmet for toddlers learning to walk.
‘That’s some craziness.’ The hubby’s review was in.
The web site shows photos of cute kids in padded headgear, looking a little bit like they’ve crash landed from Planet Cuckoo.
Now as the mama of a boy who has received so many knocks to the head since he started cruising that some days he resembles an extra from Space Precinct, you’d think I’d be all in favour of baby helmets.
But the idea of keeping my little explorer’s head (and symbolically, his imagination) cooped up in such gear seems like a form of child cruelty. Surely he’d be the laughing stock of the playground? And aren’t bumps and scrapes a normal part of growing up?
Why don’t we just cocoon our babes in bubble wrap from birth and be done with it?
The creator of Thudguard, Kelly Forsyth-Gibson doesn’t joke around with this issue, after spending 10 years bringing the product to market. She’s got some scary head injury statistics on the web site along with quotes from A&E workers, safety experts and even someone from the British military.
I’m impressed by this mum of three’s tenacity and dedication to protecting the bodies and minds of our future generations.
But in a society where fear and paranoia are increasingly used as forces to constrict and control, I worry about strapping our babies into helmets from the minute they start to bum shuffle.
It seems like one step forward for self-preservation, one step backwards for common sense.