Our attitude towards baby proofing is often informed by our parents attitude towards baby proofing. I have often heard the line, "My parents never baby proofed and I turned out fine". While that may be true, it may also be true that they had several trips to the emergency room due to household accidents. I remember my brother and I sticking coins in an electrical outlet and getting shocked. Every year there are millions of visits to the emergency room by children due to household accidents.
Education of parents has greatly improved due to the formation of agencies and advocacy groups like Safe Kids Campaign, the Home Safety Council, and Kids in Danger. Products such as cribs and gates must meet safety standards established by the government or the JPMA (Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association). And unsafe products are recalled by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission). But despite their efforts, young kids continue to be injured in the home due to accidents.
Another positive development is that the availability and quality of childproofing products has changed quite a bit from when you were a kid. There are now many more styles and types of baby gates, and safety devices, and they are of better quality than the old days. There are child safety products that now meet almost any need and you often have a choice in style. Most baby proofing products are of relatively low cost so taking steps to make your home safer will not break the bank. So why not at least due a minimum of baby proofing, and gain some peace of mind.