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 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 them. So today, I am going to discuss the common things that parents do to protect their children that can actually be dangerous. Let’s get started!
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 the bed bumpers are removed that there is an increased risk of their baby 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 do occur are injuries that are relatively easy to treat. Unfortunately the suffocation or strangulation danger from the ties and the cushions of the bed bumpers are usually fatal. Breathable bed bumpers are a great way to help lessen the risk of limb injuries.
Riding down the slide with our child on our lap. Thirty percent of the tibia fractures in young toddlers are caused by slide injuries. A large portion of those injuries are due to parents placing their child on their lap to go down the slide. What often happens is that the child’s rubber sole causes friction and gets stuck. The weight and momentum of the parent puts a force on the leg which can cause a fracture to the tibia or shin bone. So if your child is too young to ride the slide, putting them on your lap to protect them is not a good solution. Have them use a slide that is age appropriate.
Attempting to remove a piece of food from the mouth of a choking child. The other day I was a brunch with my family, when a small toddler started choking on a piece of food. Her mother immediately went into panic mode and attempted to quickly remove the piece of food from her child’s mouth. Although I understand why she felt this would be helpful, this is actually a very dangerous thing to do! By placing your finger into a choking child’s mouth, you can actually push the object further down into the airway, obstructing it even further. Coughing usually indicates that the airway is only partially blocked. Encourage them to continue to cough. If a child is unable to cough or talk, or is gasping, or turning blue, immediately start the Heimlich maneuver.
Positioning our infant’s car seat facing forward before the recommended age of 2 years old. As your toddler grows, the space between their car seat and the back seat gets smaller. Many parents become concerned that there isn’t enough room and of course that they can’t see their now active toddler. However it is important that you keep them rear facing until the recommended age or weight because it actually protects them. The bones that protect the spine, the vertebrae, do not fuse until three to six years of age. This is why rear-facing car seats are so important. It gives more support and protection to the underdeveloped vertebrae and spinal cord. A forward facing child has a greater chance of damage to the spinal cord when their head and neck whip forward and back in a crash. AAP advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat, which is usually 35-40 pounds. In fact, some states have recently created laws which require your child be a certain weight or age to use a forward facing car seat. Please check your state or local laws to be sure you are complying!
Hope this helps you with your journey! See you next Wednesday!