Toddler safety is something that, as parents of young children who don’t know how to protect themselves, we can never put second place. Our toddlers don’t spend even half a moment thinking about their own safety; they know that, with mommy and daddy guarding them, there is nothing in life to fear. They know, or they think.
We’ve been given a big responsibility with our toddlers: a responsibility to guard, protect, and teach them to the best of our abilities. That means keeping our eyes open for potential threats to our toddler’s well being, policing their environments, and teaching them to make safe choices in potentially hazardous situations.
Your car is a vehicle traveling on high speeds on roads with many other vehicles also hurtling by at high speeds. Even if you’re the safest driver in the world, the other drivers on the road with you are not. That’s why it’s important you put toddler safety first when making any car trip with your toddler—whether it is a quick run to the corner grocery or a long road trip to visit Grandma in Florida.
Rules for toddler safety in the car:
• Always use a carseat! Toddlers always need to be in a carseat, period. Booster seats are designed for older children and do not offer enough protection for little people.
• Make sure the carseat is buckled correctly into the car – and read up in your carseat’s documentation to make sure that you are taking advantage of all the safety features.
• Make sure your child is buckled correctly into the carseat before you start the car on any trip, and make sure he cannot unbuckle himself. If you discover he’s learned how to, get a car seat child safety lock to put over the unlocking mechanism.
• Keep your toddler in the back: Children love to be able to see through those front windows, but toddler safety is more important. Keep your toddler in the back where he’s protected.
• Don’t use a carseat that’s been in a crash, or one that is more than five years old: Carseats that have been subjected to impact are unsafe, and it’s always best to buy a new car seat for your child rather than try to save a few dollars with a second-hand purchase.
For more on carseats, please visit my carseat page!
How do you keep your toddler safe in the kitchen? By putting everything that could be dangerous to him well out of reach, and making sure he knows what he can explore and what is off-limits.
If you keep your cleaning supplies in the cabinet under the kitchen sink, invest in a child lock for that cabinet. If your toddler’s little fingers can reach up and touch the burners on your electric stove, install a guardrail. Make sure outlets are well protected, and blenders or electric heating devices are all out of reach.
The bathroom is another potential problem area—we often don’t think of our bathrooms as toddler areas, especially if the little fellow is still in diapers. But just because he doesn’t usually spend a whole lot of time there on his own doesn’t mean that, one day, he won’t happen to wander in to explore whatever there is to explore.
Make your bathroom a hundred percent, totally toddler safe. Make sure razors are stowed in an out-of-reach shelf or rack, as well as medicines, toxic cleaning supplies, and anything else your toddler could hurt himself with. Don’t ever leave water in the bathtub; a toddler can drown in a small amount of water in a very short amount of time.
Keep the bathroom well cleaned; even sterilized with bleach. Sure, you don’t lick toilet bowl, but that’s not saying your toddler won’t someday. Regular full-scale bleaching is important in any bathroom visited by toddlers.
And what does toddler safety mean in the park? Half of it is what you teach your child; making sure he knows, before you go out to play, what to do if he is accosted by a stranger, hit by another child, or loses sight of you for a moment. He should also know that it is his responsibility to not lose sight of you; parks are not places for wandering off on one’s own.
The other half of your toddler’s safety in the park is your direct responsibility: making sure the playground equipment is age appropriate for him and in good repair, avoiding rush hours or playgrounds with too many kids playing already, and keeping a sharp eye on your child the whole time he is playing. Your toddler may seem so independent at the playground that you feel like you can take a bit of time off—but don’t. You need to be there if your toddler needs you, and anything can happen if you wander off for a few minutes.
This is just a brief look at toddler safety; not a comprehensive overview, but I hope it will be of some help to you as you work to keep your toddler safe and happy. Please browse through my other pages on car seats, childproofing, child poisoning and child safety to find out more about these areas.