Sometimes the need to protect our children can be overwhelming. You have seen those parents (and you have probably been one, too) that stick to the edges of the playground equipment like a magnet, their hands darting out the instant their little one slips or begins to topple over. I have been there.
I have also often been the unintentional source of my child’s injury. Take for example, the time my brain completely malfunctioned. My oldest was about 10 months old. My husband and I were out running errands and our daughter got hungry. I set my bag on the floor, and then I proceeded to set her on the bench next to me while I bent down to grab food from the diaper bag. She was sitting up by herself, and it did not occur to me that sitting a wiggly, curious 10-month-old next to me on a bench in the grocery store would be a problem. In the five seconds it took me to bend down and grab her food, she leaned over and toppled face-first onto the hard floor. The bruise that resulted was a pleasant reminder of my imperfections for the next several days.
Keeping our kids safe is hard enough when we do not factor in human error — it is a crapshoot whether or not our kids will even survive being a toddler. If you are even a little like me, a few friendly reminders may save your little ones a few scars and you from a heart attack.
1. Buy window guards
Every year over 5,000 little ones take a tumble from an open window. Fortunately, the majority of these accidents are not serious, but dozens of children die or are seriously injured from these types of falls. The guard should only allow the window to open about four inches. This allows fresh air into your home but makes it impossible for your little one to squeeze under. Do not count on screens to keep your little ones safe.
2. Stay vigilant in the store
I will never forget the first time I lost my daughter in the grocery store. She was walking ahead of me down the grocery store aisle when she suddenly darted around a corner. I followed, expecting to find her in the next aisle. She was not there. She was gone. I went the other way; she was not in that aisle either. I looked all over the store (including employee-only areas). Five minutes later someone brought her in from the parking lot. She had wandered to the front of the store and outside. I still do not know how she moved that fast, but she did. Little ones are surprisingly fast movers. If you have a runner, consider keeping them in the cart while you shop.
3. Rethink piercings
When our eldest turned three, we took her to the mall to get her ears pierced. She had been asking to get them done because she wanted to look pretty. Against my misgivings, I let her. The piercing went fine, but the cleanings afterward did not. It was a nightmare. She ended up in the emergency room because the skin on her ear started to grow around her earrings. When I tried to take the earrings out myself, I found myself with a handful of blood. The doctors ended up sedating her and using a special tool to remove the earrings. Not fun.
4. Calm down
The last piece of advice (from a sage parent with two kids who have managed to survive with relatively little damage) is to relax. Kids fall down the stairs, walk into walls, tumble off the swing, trip over their shoes, bump their heads, cut their fingers and are stung by bees. They wander off, try to drink your hot chocolate and manage to find the only pair of scissors you have not secured under lock and key. Your kids are going to get hurt and sometimes it is scary, but most of the time they cry, cuddle and jump back off your lap within a minute to go right back to what they were doing before.
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