The desire to protect our young is there from the moment they are born. For mothers, it begins the moment we find out we are pregnant. We change what we eat, drink, and the medicines we take all to ensure the health and safety of our baby. Parents spend the whole pregnancy researching how to create a safe nursery, car seat safety, and proper diets. We spend their entire toddler years helicoptering over them to ensure that they aren’t in danger. Although our intentions are always to keep them safe, sometimes we do things that can actually worsen the situation and make it more dangerous for our children. So today, we are going to break down some of the common, but dangerous mistakes parents make at each developmental stage.
Back to sleep. Parents underestimate the importance of placing their child on their back to go to sleep. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a very real and tragic event that occurs in newborns. Losing a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a horrifying event for a parent, made worse by the fact that there is no known cause that can explain why a baby dies for no apparent reason. Placing your child to sleep on their back with a light blanket significantly reduces the chance of a fatal event.
Placing Bed Bumpers on Cribs. Many parents question me about the newest recommendations of removing bed bumpers from cribs. There is a valid concern that if bed bumpers are removed, there is an increased risk of babies suffering a injured limb. Although we haven’t seen a huge increase in the number of crib injuries since the recommendation was released, the risk does exist. However, the minor bumps and bruises that may occur are injuries that are relatively easy to treat. Unfortunately the suffocation or strangulation risk from the ties and cushions of bed bumpers are usually fatal. Breathable bed bumpers are a great way to help lessen the risk of limb injuries.
Furniture fatalities. Crush injuries can be very serious and possibly fatal. Make sure that all the furniture is anchored to the ground or wall. As infants start to explore and become more independent, they love to climb on furniture. It is important that you eliminate the possibility of the furniture piece falling onto them. When picking organizational boxes for your nursery, make sure to use soft options. If your child grabs and pulls them down, there is less of a chance of them getting injured.
Choking. As our infants begin to explore new foods and develop new teeth, we can over estimate their ability to chew. It is imperative that you know and avoid the “fatal foods” are cut food appropriately. Below are the common foods that pose a choking hazard for an infant and even a toddler. In addition, never give a child a snack while traveling in a car, especially if the child is in a rear-facing car seat. Your inability to see your child combined with the distraction of driving is a deadly combination. Although a snack may be an appealing solution to a fussy infant, it can be a dangerous and even deadly mistake. Avoid these foods with your infant or young toddler:
- Hot dogs
- Nuts and seeds
- Chunks of meat or cheese
- Whole grapes
- Hard or sticky candy
- Peanut butter
- Raw vegetables and apples
Overestimating your child’s ability to swim. Growing up in Florida, we start giving our children swimming lessons very early on in life. I know a lot of families that have started as early as 6 months old. However, the American Board of Pediatrics does not recommend formal swimming lessons for children under the age of one or water-survival skills programs for infants. Although the infant water-survival skills make compelling videos for the internet, there is no scientific study that these classes are effective. Children are not able to learn to swim until the age of three. But does this mean your child should not have swim lessons until the age of 3? NO! Every child develops different and if your child shows interest and is emotionally ready then you should give them lessons. However, it is important to understand that no matter how well they swim, they can panic and forget their skills within seconds. Any swimming child that is under the age of four must be within arms length of an adult at all times. For more information please visit https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAP-Gives-Updated-Advice-on-Drowning-Prevention.aspx
I hope this helps with your journey!