Safety – it is so important with children, yet is so easy to take for granted. I know I do it sometimes. Even though I know something, I will ignore it, thinking the worst will never happen. As mommies, we can never be too careful with our children. This doesn’t mean we should freak out at the slightest thing, but we should always be on the lookout for dangers in order to protect those in our care.
Yesterday I was playing with the children on the roof. Scarlett had been in the walker for a while but got fussy, so I picked her up and was following the other two around as they ran from one side to the other. While standing by the edge looking over, out of habit I made sure to hold the baby away from the edge and that got me thinking: how many things do I do that are good safety rules to remember that others may not be aware of?
So here is a list of safety tips, in no particular order.
– Always check when closing a door that your child doesn’t have her fingers there. Often children will stick their fingers where the hinges are and get them jammed there.
– When on a balcony, roof, or any place that is above the ground, never hold your baby near or over the edge. It is too easy for a child to wiggle and be dropped.
– If you have a balcony where your child plays (or even if they don’t) make sure the rails are not wide enough for them to get their head through. Our balcony has gaps large enough for my kids to just slip through, so when we moved here, we had the whole thing covered with a plastic-coated wire mesh, so that they can still look down but can’t fall.
– Put the crib down to its lowest level as soon as your baby can pull up into a standing position, otherwise they could fall out of the crib.
– Don’t let a child play around your feet when cooking. They could trip you and you could drop a pot or hot food on them. A baby could watch from their highchair, or a toddler could sit at the table if they must be near you. Otherwise, it is safest for them to not be in the kitchen, especially near the stove, while you are cooking.
– If your baby is big enough to stand up in her highchair, make sure to strap her in. Otherwise she could stand up and fall.
– Only buy safe toys for your baby. A safe toy is one that does not come apart into small pieces that could easily be swallowed, can be tasted without paint coming off, doesn’t have any sharp edges. Fisher Price makes safe baby toys that don’t break. Logan has had some trucks since he was tiny that have been dropped, banged, thrown, sat on and stepped on, but have never even cracked.
If you have an older child who has smaller toys (i.e. Lego, doll accessories , make sure they put them out of the baby’s reach when they are done playing, or play with them somewhere the baby can’t get to – a bed, table, etc.
– Watch out for anything with a string attached, skipping ropes, belts, plastic bags, balloons, cleaning supplies, medicines, vitamins, matches. All these items can be dangerous or fatal!
– Since a baby puts EVERYTHING in their mouth, check your floors daily. Don’t assume they won’t try it. Choking is something that can happen when you least expect it, so be aware and on guard at all times. If it fits in their mouth, they will try it. Watch out for coins, nuts, hard candies, seeds, small toys, etc.
When you are out, watch what other people give them. Some people don’t know that hard candy can be dangerous for children (I have a hard time with it myself since it can’t be chewed) and they give it to them, thinking they will make the child happy. My kids know that if someone gives it to them, they should give it to me right away. And if your toddler really wants it, exchange it for something safer, like a piece of chocolate or a soft candy. (Or else just don’t give your child candy and they won’t know the difference. Logan never knew what it was, so he always gave it to me.)
– Staircases can be fun to climb but so dangerous to fall on. Have a safety gate in place to keep adventurous crawlers and climbers off of them, but do also teach them how to go up and down safely. The earlier you teach this, the better. You can teach your baby how to crawl down feet first, and when they start walking, how to hold the rail to go up and down.
– Watch out for edges of furniture and corners. If they fall on it, they could seriously injure themselves. You can put foam padding on corners, and store anything that could break (like that lovely glass coffee table) until they are older. Also, teach your child to look when standing up, especially if they like to play under the table, so they learn to not hit their heads all the time.
– Once your child is able to open doors on her own (usually around two years) you may find it necessary to lock doors you don’t want your curious toddler opening. You can put a lock on the outside of any door, high enough that they can’t get it. Be aware that if you often climb on chairs to reach things, they will try the same, so put the lock well out of reach. And don’t just lock rooms that could be dangerous. Put it on any door (including closets) that you don’t want them to open. For low cupboards you may need locks that need a key to open, or special child-proof locks.
I’ve heard of people who had older children (3-5 years) who would open the front door at night and get out. If your child tries this, you will need a high lock on all house exits, something that they can’t open.
– If you can’t lock things up, then put any item you don’t want them to touch out of reach. It will save you from having to say no 1,000 times a day.
– Sharp items (knives, scissors, nail files, etc.) should always be kept out of reach.
– Teach your child road safety early. You don’t have to wait until they go to school; start when they learn how to walk by holding their hands when crossing the street, etc.