The Heart-Stopping Moment that Changed the Way I Parent

I thought I knew fear when I encountered a spider as a young child.
I thought I knew fear when I’d disappoint my parents and a whoopin’ was coming.
I thought I knew fear as I laid in the labor and delivery room awaiting the induction of my first-born.
I thought I knew fear as I waited to fly down a zipline, challenging my fear of heights.


But none of those came close to the fear I felt when my son opened the front door and took off down the driveway.

Luckily I had been in the same room, and I heard the security alarm alert me to the door opening.

My mind raced through a million different scenarios in an instant as I chase after my son. How far would he make it before I got him? Was a car coming? Please dear God, don’t tell me there’s a car coming.

The door had been locked, but he had just learned how to unlock the deadbolt… A talent I didn’t think he’d develop for several more months. And from the moment he learned how to walk he wanted to run.

He runs around the house, through stores, and in our back yard. Now he was running down our driveway and across the street.

I sprinted, pushing my muscles to a limit they haven’t seen in many years and grabbed him just as he reached the middle of the road.

He was heading where he always seems to be going when he wants to run out in the front yard–Across the street to our neighbors house, with a front door similar to his grandma’s.

The other times we’d be outside and he’d try to run over there and open their front door while saying “Maaee, Maaee,” his way of saying “Grannie.”

I don’t know why he’s determined to get there, but I’m fearful he’ll get hurt, or worse in the process.


I ordered child proof door knob protectors to be delivered the next day, and I made sure to lock the smaller lock on the handle in the mean time. Doorknob covers like these are just one recommendation the Allstate Information Team gave me when I asked for other ways I could keep my kids safe in my home.

Aside from a front door that’s easy for an escape artist to bust, there are other dangers in the home that you may not know about:

1. Improperly installed Kitchen stoves- kids have been severely hurt when they tipped over a stove.
2. Bookshelves and other furniture that aren’t secured by wall brackets.
3. TVs that aren’t mounted correctly on the wall or are so low that your child can push on them.
4. Rugs that aren’t secured to the floor or that don’t have anti-slip pads.

I used to think outlet plugs and cabinet locks were the important things, and that we could go back to normal after the baby stage, but turns out toddlers can get into just as much or more trouble. So I just bought doorknob covers for the first time. And I’m considering keeping some kind of pillow pad or something behind the couch for when my son climbs and sits on the back. A couple of times we’ve caught him just as he’s falling.

I’ve procrastinated securing our furniture with brackets and my son is just the kid who would push the limits and try to climb one. I think this week was the wakeup call I needed to get on this. Even if it means hiring someone to help (although there’s gotta be some helpful youtube tutorials somewhere).

No idea why my son is determined to give me a heart attack, but at least he’s cute. And even though he gives me daily panic attacks, he’s still the love of our lives. And it’s our job to keep our baby safe.

Has your child ever done something that’s scared you out of your wits?

5 things you can't overlook when babyproofing and toddlerproofing your home. Some baby proofing tips to keep your kids safe.

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.


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  1. My there year old recently learned to open doors. One morning, while I was still in bed, I heard him on the stairs instead of in his room. I asked where his brother was (2 years old) and was told he was in the shower with Daddy. Thank God, I chose to check. He wasn’t there, or anywhere in the house, or in the fenced in backyard. The three year old had opened the front door and his brother had gone out front.

    Luckily, when I opened the door to go find him (frantically, of course), he must have heard me screaming his name throughout the house and was waiting right by the front door, excited to see me. I collapsed and sobbed for five minutes.

    I’ve put the door knob locks on the inside of their bedroom and a few rooms/closets we don’t want them into. Why did I never think to put one on the front door? As soon as I find one of our extra ones, I’ll take care of that.

    He’s my third and he’s gonna be the cause of most of my gray hairs, blessed his sweet adventure loving heart.

    Get the dressers secured!!! We’ve had some that tipped over, and another thank God, because beds were in just the right place to catch the dressers.

    1. Thanks for the dresser tip! Yes we will do that this week! How scary that your son went out the front door too! It’s the most terrifying feeling isn’t it!? My son is also the source of most of my grey hairs too. haha.

  2. When Jada was around two (she is nine now) she used to walk out the front door at my mom’s house when she would see kids walking down the street after school cause she wanted to go play. The only way you knew she was gone is you would hear the screen door slam and then her yelling hi to all the kids as they passed.

    She knew how to unlock the screen door, and she would just take off. My biggest fear was that someone would snatch her off of the street. My mom had to stop leaving the front door open to cool off of the house and she had one of those old school chain locks ar the top of the door that she had to start using again so jada would stop walking out of the house.

    1. Oh my goodness, she’s so friendly! haha. I’m not as worried about kidnapping as being hit but goodness, both are enough to give me nightmares!! I like your idea to add a chain lock to the top. That might be out next step if these don’t work.

  3. Those darn front doors. YES! Nothing like trying to take five minutes to yourself to go potty and your twins running out the front door and frantically trying to find them. We always keep the deadbolt locked on the front door, or the chain, which are higher up.

  4. My daughter is now 28 but I still remember using a leash with her. Controversial ? Yes. But when we were out shopping, etc. there were times that she wanted to walk instead of be in a stroller and after too many times of warding off near disasters we decided her safety was more important than others opinions.

    1. We really need a new name for the “leashes” for the kids. I use one all the time when I take my 4 kids to the zoo or aquarium (7, 5, 3, and 2). The rule is that they have to hold my hand while we’re walking (we’re working on it), but the leash is a great tool to let me know “Hey, he’s taking off.” when I would have otherwise been distracted with one of my other three kids and he’d be long gone.

      Anyway, with another name, I think the outrage from those who don’t get it would be less.

  5. I can’t tell you how much crap I got in online mommy communities over those spinning door locks. More than I can count.

    All I can say is, no, I haven’t had to worry about this because we must have dozens of these around the house, and when the kids were younger, we had one on the door of their bedroom.

    Nothing scared me more than to wake up in the morning and find a frozen baby in the snow. No thanks. Their sliding glass door has a bolt and an alarm on it. Luckily, for the most part, our kids don’t want to go anywhere without us (there are downsides to that 😀 ).

    Good for you, mama. You should never have to deal with that kind of fear again…until your son gets his driver’s license, that is. 😀

    1. I can’t believe you get crap for those!!! Luckily my son has stopped sneaking in the bathroom cause I used to worry about him falling face first into the toilet. I woulda had to put one on the bathroom doors next.

      And yea, don’t even want to think about him driving. lol

  6. Oh sweet girl, my middle son walked in his sleep, and he would go out side, but thank goodness I had the mom hot wire running in me, were if they even breath wrong I was awake, I would wake up the minute I heard him, I think he was 2 at the time but he did this tell he was 5 yrs old, we put one of those locks at the very top of the door the ones with the hook on one side and the circle on the other side, it wont keep people out, but it kept my child in, and putting it at the very top of the door mnt that even I they got a chair and stood on it, they would not reach it. I found it very hard o sleep when my child walked in his sleep, this is a different thing but I bet it would work for you, they did not have all the fancy child safety things when I raised my children, I had to watch them every second, but that was fine, I love them so much. GOD bless you and your family

  7. My (then) eight-month-old stood up in his high chair when I had turned my back and took a dive, head first, onto the hardwood floor. He had a black eye, but was otherwise okay. I felt like the Worst. Mom. Ever. Note to new moms: Get a high chair with straps — and use them.

  8. My husband thinks I’m just a super-paranoid mother, because I worry about all the what-ifs. I remember him poking fun at me for shortening the cords on all our blinds “because they’re harmless.” The next day we were at my sister’s house, and we were all together in her living room. Like it was slow motion, we could only watch as my daughter tripped and hung herself on one of their blinds cord. Luckily, we were right there to free her (and panic a bit). Needless to say, my husband doesn’t take my safety concerns lightly anymore.

  9. Oh, man, that is scary! Harlow just did something similar this past weekend! On Saturday, two of my siblings and one of my nieces did the Rhino Challenge, which is a 5k with obstacles throughout. I haven’t worked out AT ALL since I got pregnant with Harlow 3 years ago, but it sounded fun. Needless to say, I could barely walk Sunday. I was out in our fenced yard with Harlow and our dog, Abbey. I turned to go in, and called to Harlow & Abbey to come in, and Harlow took off at a full sprint toward the gate, OPENED IT (when did she learn how to do that?) and was halfway across our large front yard toward the street before I could catch up with her. I could barely move, but when that happened, I think I sprinted faster than I’ve ever ran! I literally never had gray hairs before having Harlow. Now… not so much.

  10. When my son was 18 months, my husband and I woke up one morning to the sound of him turning on the stove. He had drug a chair over to it and climbed up. He said he was going to make eggs. Totally terrified me. Kept the door closed from then on.

  11. Thank God he is safe. Its too scary with children, they can lock themselves anywhere. We have to keep an eye on them for 24hrs.

    The cheapest and quickest way to babyproof is to limit access to certain parts of the home that are neither safe nor appropriate for babies. The garage, laundry room, loft, terrace, office, gym, utility room, craft room, rooms under construction, etc. should be “off limits” for babies and should be secured with door locks. The front door and interior garage door should have flip locks so child does not have access to outdoors.

  12. Parenting a toddler is always a tough job. Now I am also thinking of changing the locks of my home to avoid any panic attack when my baby will be able sit or walk. He’s only two months old now. Thanks for sharing.

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