Veena was busy preparing breakfast for her 3-year-old son Hari, when her husband left for office, closing the door behind him. After feeding Hari, she gave him some toys to play with in the drawing room and got busy attending to household chores. After some time, she came to check on Hari, and got the shock of her life. The door was ajar and Hari was nowhere to be found.
Filled with panic, she ran outside to look for Hari. She was about to raise an alarm when her eyes caught sight of her neighbour walking towards her with Hari in tow. Luckily for Veena, and little Hari as well, the neighbour had found the boy wandering down the street. Finding him alone, she had sensed something was wrong. So, she decided to bring Hari home.
The inadvertent mistake by Veena and her husband of leaving the door unlocked could have proved costly for the family, had the neighbour not appeared on the scene.
Children are the apple of their parents’ eyes. However, it is also true that most parents, at some point or the other, do something that can result in undesirable consequences for their child.
Let’s look at some such common unintentional mistakes that parents make while taking care of their little children.
1. Ignoring road safety: Most Indian parents use their two-wheeler to transport their children to school. With bad roads and rush during school hours, some parents drive dangerously fast to drop their child on time at school. Losing control and meeting with an accident at such speeds can cause grievous injuries to the child. It can also prove fatal if the child receives head injuries.
For the safety of their child, parents should refrain from rash driving and make their child wear a helmet when taking him out on a two-wheeler.
2. Leaving children behind in the vehicle: Very few parents pay heed to the safety of their children when taking them around in the car.
Most parents still don’t understand the importance of car seat for children. The article titled, ‘Saving Lives with Car Seats and Seat Belts’, published on AAP.org says, “In children younger than 1 year, using car seats decreases mortality by 71%. When compared to only using a seatbelt, car seats reduce the risk of injury by 54% in children 1-4 years old, and in children 4-8 years old, booster seats reduce the risk by 45%.”
For the safety of infants and young children, install good quality car seats. You can learn more about this by reading our article:
Another mistake parents make is leaving their child behind in the vehicle when getting out for a short while, for example to buy something or go to the restroom. During such times, if the child switches off the AC or the AC malfunctions, the child can be exposed to life-threatening high temperatures inside the closed car.
3. Ignoring bath and laundry-related risks: Newspapers often report babies drowning in water-filled containers, bathtubs or toilets. This usually happens when parents leave the bathroom door unlocked or leave the baby alone in the bathroom to attend to something urgent like a phone call.
Install toilet seat lid locks, keep bathtubs and containers dry, and never leave the baby unattended in the bathroom, even for a moment. Also, keep the bathroom door shut when not occupied.
Washing machines evoke a child’s curiosity and they want to play with it, which can be dangerous. Many washing machines now come with safety locks, but if yours doesn’t have one, get a child safety lock. Also, pay attention to machine placement so that your child doesn’t creep in between the machine and the wall and get stuck. It is always best to keep the laundry room locked.
4. Overlooking choking hazards: Children have a habit of putting their toys in their mouth. Sometimes, they may accidentally swallow them or any loose part like a nut, which can lead to choking. So, while choosing toys for your young child, ensure that they do not pose the risk of choking.
Also, children are quick to spot objects lying on the floor and pick them up. Sometimes, they put these in their mouth and try to swallow them, which can lead to chocking. So, clean the floors regularly to remove any small items that your child might choke on.
5. Leaving sharp objects lying around: Children love to imitate the actions of their parents. But, sometimes, in their attempt to do so, they end up handling sharp objects like knives, forks, graters, and razors. Children get access to such objects when parents do not store them safely after use.
So, after use, sharp objects must either be kept locked inside cabinets or in a place where children can’t reach them.
6. Storing chemicals within children’s reach: Leaving medications, mosquito repellents, cleaning chemicals and make-up products within children’s reach exposes them to the risk of poisoning. A child may consume any of these substances and end up in a life-threatening situation.
Keep hazardous substances like those mentioned above locked in drawers or cabinets. If you suspect that your child has consumed something poisonous, rush him to the nearest medical centre without waiting to see what may happen. Read our article to know more about this topic:
7. Leaving the wardrobe unlocked: Young children are fond of dressing up in their parents’ garments. Sometimes, while trying to do so, they get entangled in the oversized garments. This can prove life-threatening, especially when parents are not around and the dresses get wrapped around the neck.
Similarly, children also like to play with curtains and blinds. This can also strangulate them.
Keep the cupboards locked and discourage children from trying out oversized garments. Also, avoid using corded blinds and curtains or shorten the ties, to keep them out of children’s reach.
Safety of a child is of paramount importance and it is the duty of parents to keep their child safe. Along with making the home child-safe, staying alert and keeping an eye on their child, and following common safety protocols can go a long way in keeping a child out of harm’s way.
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