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We proudly take our parenting course, head home, set the water temperature and childproof the rest of our house. And then, our kids manage to hurt themselves anyways because we didn't get it quite right!
So, how confident are you that your kids are 100 percent safe? Check the list below to see where you might be falling short.
Encouraging Reckless Behavior
After my own son's run-in with a tile floor, I was devastated and worried. Naturally, I turned to the Internet, and soon discovered a slew of blog and forum posts about precisely this topic: My kid thought he was Superman and did something really stupid.
While I certainly never encouraged my kid to jump off a high spot, we play catch in the living room all the time. So naturally, he thought that jumping off a tall bed I didn't even know he could get up on was a great idea. Lesson learned!
Numerous studies have shown that kids who grow up in hostile or volatile environments are more prone to learning disabilities, weight problems, depression and suicide later in life. One study checked the cortisol levels of infants and toddlers, and found that they are surprisingly aware of conflict, so be sure to save your arguments for later, or talk things out like adults.
Out of Power Alarms
40,000 children a year end up in hospitals due to burns or smoke inhalation caused by faulty fire alarms. Check your batteries every six months, and consider installing one alarm per level.
Unsupervised Use of the Baby Walker
Setting Junior loose with a baby walker is an adorable way to get him off your hands, but the truth is, more than 6,400 kids end up in the ER each year because of these things. Hide them unless you're able to walk with them.
Blankets, pillows and crib bumpers are a no-no. Period.
Notice how all teething treats have holes in them, or are flat and brittle. Ever notice how Cheetos and other puffy adult snack are not? Cheetos are not only nutritionally unsuitable, but that tasty orange puff acts as an adhesive that can lodge the large, puffy treat in the child's throat, causing suffocation, brain damage and death.
Vitamin D Overdose
Sure, it's critical to give your child the recommended dose of Vitamin D if you're a nursing mom, but too much of a good thing can be toxic. Recent studies have shown that natural Vitamin D, the kind we get from the sun and food, is easily expelled, but that certain synthetic drops can make your baby sick.
Blankets, pillows and crib bumpers are a no-no. Period. They can, and do, lead to suffocation and strangulation. Choose a sleep sack instead, or if your toddler refuses to be sleep in one, add an extra layer or a vest and socks to keep them warm at night.
"Sure, we can go without blankets! Let's just turn up the heat…" If that's what you're thinking, think again. Hot, non-circulating air is strongly linked to SIDS, and pediatricians recommend keeping the room at 65 to 75 degrees, and using a gentle fan to keep air circulating.
Winter Coats and Car Seats
A recent warning circulated that having kids in their car seat in winter coats can cause them to be ejected when the filling compresses during an accident. After hearing the warning, we immediately started putting him in and tucking the coat around his body to keep him warm.
Baby-proofing saves lives, but only if you use it consistently.
Not Giving Clear Instructions
Does your kid have an allergy, a propensity for escaping or a keen desire to pull on the handle of a pot filled with hot water? Then you need to tell everyone who will watch your child, no matter how long for. And do remind visitors that toddlers love nothing more than exploring purses and trying to eat what's inside. Doesn't matter if it's a coin, a lipstick, or some other innocent item that could easily choke them, just remind them to keep them zipped closed or placed somewhere a child couldn't reach.
Throwing Sharp or Small Objects in Waste Baskets
Sure, my kitchen trash is secure, but I will admit that my bathrooms and study are not baby-proofed, and that Mr. Speedy has found his way into some pretty gross and dangerous things.
At least once a year there is another E. coli scare, and while most seem to be linked to meats and packaged foods, a number also come from produce. Always make it a rule of thumb to wash, steam or slickly cook your veggies. It makes them tastier and easier to digest, but can also prevent your kid from getting sick.
Leaving Toddlers in the Tub
Yes, I know you just need to grab your X, , but it only takes a split second for a toddler to slip and fall into the water face first, or bump his head and possibly drown, even if they are already steady on their feet. There's no easy out here. If the door rings or you have to grab a towel, grab the kiddo and take them along.
Baby-proofing saves lives, but only if you use it consistently. Some of the new-fangled contraptions out there are just way to complex and parents often leave them open when they think nothing will happen because it's too much of a hassle to close it up. If that's you, maybe it's time to switch to a simpler solution. We use industrial rubber bands to keep kitchen cabinets closed, and sliding chains for bathroom, garage and basement doors.