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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stay alert: keep your baby safe and healthy

I worry about Miss Baby. Oh, I don't mean I lose sleep with concern. I believe the little girl is quite the healthy child. She eats well — hey, any 16-month-old who enjoys chopped black olives on pizza has a healthy appetite. She is never lethargic but when her activity spring unwinds she is not all that difficult to put to sleep. In fact, when tired she will tap my knee and immediately rest her head on my shoulder when picked up and cuddled; She clearly indicates when she wants to go to sleep to take a needed nap.

So, why do I say I worry about the child? Well, she is just so small. She seems so delicate. And sometimes she takes falls that leave me simply aghast. She's pretty good on her feet, and she doesn't have far to tumble, but she does take a tumble now and then. All kids do.

We took down the glass table that sat for years in our living room. The almost invisible top had hard edges that could inflict real damage if a child were to strike their head. The table now sits, disassembled, in our basement.

I know about shaken-baby syndrome and I worry if a child can be seriously injured by a shaking without making actual contact with a hard surface, could a child be injured falling hard and striking their head while simply learning to walk. How much force does it take for a small child to suffer a minor concession? (In the early days of Miss Baby's walking adventures I never let her walk through our tiled foyer. That floor was just too hard.)

What spurred me to post this was a story in the New York Times magazine, Shaken-baby Syndrome Faces New Questions in Court. One thing became very clear to me while reading that piece: One must monitor a child constantly. Watch for anything that seems out-of-the-ordinary. Babies and toddlers can`t tell you when something is wrong; You, the caregiver, must be alert.

Put baby locks on kitchen cabinets.
And in doing a little research for this piece I stumbled upon this on child safety. This piece is a must read. The corollary I took away from the child safety article was that one should not just believe that a baby product is safe because it is on the market. Stay alert. Watch for poorly designed hinges, sharp edged molded plastic products, and the like.

Personally, I believe even socks can present a danger to toddlers just learning to walk. Socks must have sticky bits on the soles. When wearing slippery cotton socks, or footed toddler sleepers, a young child can have their feet simply slip out from underneath them without warning. The child may not have time to raise their hands and protect themselves as they fall.

Am I overly-protective? Gosh, I hope so. (Please check out the link: child safety.)

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