Remember the day when you held your newborn in your arms, and your heart just melted with wonder and overwhelming love for this new little person who had arrived in your life? At that moment you knew you would love and protect them, and give them the best start in life you could possibly give. You fed them and bathed them and wrapped them up all snug and warm, at peace that they were content and safe. Then before you knew it they ware walking and into everything! It’s around this time we become aware of the hazards in our homes and outside; suddenly the job of keeping your baby safe and injury-free becomes a full time one, as curious little hands and feet climb onto and into and over things to discover the great big world around them.
Keeping your baby safe and injury-free is a full time job, as curious little hands and feet climb onto and into and over things to discover the world!
Keeping Your Baby Safe
They’re wonderful days of early childhood where we watch our children learn and grow, but as they discover the new and exciting things around them we have to keep our ever-watchful eyes on them. Unfortunately, accidents and mishaps can happen so quickly as there are hazards everywhere. Here are just a few to watch out for.
Keep Windows Locked
Once your child is mobile and can climb onto things, it’s time to think about locking your windows. Falling from windows is not just a hazard for those who live in high rise apartments, as falling from a moderately low window can still cause a lot of damage. If you live in a house and it’s summer and you have no air conditioning you may be tempted to leave the windows open, it's better to safeguard them and have window stops installed. This means the window can be opened but only a few inches, meaning at least some air is circulating the room. With young children, it is better to rely on fans (with tight coverings so little fingers can't get to the blades) for cooling your home as it is much safer than leaving a window open. Sometimes we have to compromise our comfort for their safety, and this is one instance where that compromise is well justified. Try not to put your babies crib or bed in front of a window as this makes it easier for them to climb to it, and with curious minds, they most probably want to investigate as to what is outside.
Babies skin is more porous than adults so any chemicals are easily absorbed into their bodies. Even things like cotton clothing can have pesticides on it from when it was farmed, so look for organic cotton clothing and towels or for anything that touches their skin. Sunblock can’t be used on babies until they are at least six months old, and then you have to buy a sunblock especially for babies so other forms of sun protection must be used. Don't be tempted to use an adult sunscreen on your baby as it can irritate the skin and cause a rash. Put a hat and even a small pair of sunglasses on if you can find them and baby will look adorable. Make sure they’re well protected, by having a canopy over the pushchair to provide plenty of shade. At times you may notice that your baby has cradle cap or dry skin in the creases of the elbows or wrists. Be cautious of over the counter ointments and medicines like creams, even those that have been designed for babies can sometimes contain ingredients that can cause reactions. If you do some research into questions like ‘is hydrocortisone cream safe for babies?’ you might be surprised that the answer isn’t as clear cut as you thought. Always seek medical advice for your infant under six months if you are unsure, as a baby's skin is thin and delicate and needs looking after with delicate care and gentle love.
Be Wary Of Drowning
Drowning is the third cause of accidental death worldwide. In the Uk where the majority of homes don't even have swimming pools, still, at least 60 die from drowning each year in the summer months. In the US, 350 children under the age of five drown annually- most of those are in the pool in the backyard. These are very sad statistics so we must do all we can to prevent them and ensure our children never become victims. It’s not only larger bodies of water like pools in the backyards where the danger lies, but even the bathtub can be a peril. Distractions like smartphones and running for the doorbell should be disregarded until the child is out of the water, as it takes only minutes for a child to drown. There’s also the rare event of ‘dry drowning’ to be aware of, where water is inhaled and drowning occurs hours later. So always keep your attention in the bathtub so you can see exactly what is going on to prevent any accident that can happen very quickly. When outside in the park feeding the ducks or near lakes and rivers keep hold of hands or use child reigns to stop them suddenly running off. Bathtimes, swimming and feeding the birds at the lake are all fun for a child, so let us all do our bit to stop these preventable tragedies by paying due care and attention when we are near water.
Keep Illness To A Minimum
Keep your house clean to avoid food poisoning, since kids have a weaker immune system than adults and are more susceptible to catching infections. Your house doesn't have to look like a show home (and probably never will while you have kids) but it should be clean and maintained. The kitchen, the bathroom, and flooring should all be regularly disinfected to stop the spread of bugs. Taking care of a sick toddler is nobody’s idea of fun, especially when it is happening in the night time. So next time you notice your toddler hot and feverish and off their food, start disinfecting the home. Not meaning to point out the obvious here, but remember to clean things like door handles and light switches and your banisters, everywhere there is a lot of hand contact should be disinfected, toddlers will have lots of germs on their hands and they touch everything. You may be a neat freak and it’s unfortunate when toddlers pick up these viruses but sometimes we don’t remember the high area traffic points in our home that can spread germs. Make sure your toddler is washing their hands after every visit to the potty and before they eat. You can turn this into a game showing them how to wash hands thoroughly and singing a song, with the handwashing stopping at the end of the song. For adults, wash your hands while singing happy birthday and by the end of it you know you have washed your hands for the correct amount of time to keep them germ-free. Dirty hands are the biggest germs spreaders and toddlers often have their hands in their mouths, so every now and then they will fall ill. The best we can do is teach good hygiene to help keep our children fighting fit. When fighting an illness make sure proper hand washing is happening in the home, none of this a quick swill under running water.
Use Stair Gates
Once a child is mobile they will be exploring everywhere, and it won't take them long to find the staircase. Using stair gates and setting boundaries will give you peace of mind, and you know your toddler will not be somewhere in the house where they could hurt themselves. Consider one at the kitchen door, the kitchen is so full of hazards with hot water and pans being carried across the room. The old compromise again, you may be climbing over stair gates every two minutes but you have peace of mind your kids are not getting into something they shouldn't be or on stairs where they could get hurt.
Cleaning Product Out Of Reach Or Locked Up
Many people keep their cleaning products under the sink and this should also have a child lock on. Children have been known to get tops off bottles of cleaning products, wondering what they might taste like with disastrous consequences! These kinds of accidents are on the decrease thankfully and we are doing a much better job at protecting our kids but they still do happen- the number one offender is bleach. Make sure there are safety locks to all these troublesome areas and you will have sufficiently protected your kids.
Keep An Eye Out In Public
This is the one none of us like to consider, a child being abducted is every parent's nightmare- it’s rare but it can and does happen. Always keep hold of their hands or in a pushchair or on child reigns if they are toddlers. Keep your wits about you all the time when outside. In the supermarket, it can take a minute for your child to disappear; you're looking along the shelves for that ingredient you need for dinner and can't seem to find it. You can become so involved in what you are looking for that for a minute you are unaware your toddler has turned the corner of the aisle and gone to investigate the shop and maybe see what he wants for dinner himself. Sit your children in the shopping cart if they are very young, and keep them interested in what you are doing if they complain they don't want to ride.
The job of a mother is a tough one, yet it is joyous and delightful too. Toddlers are vibrant and active and will keep moms busy the whole day through. With care and prevention, and a lot of love this vulnerable toddler age can be a happy one and have beautiful memories to last forever.