Parenting a toddler can be a tricky business. One moment they are snuggly little baby and the next, they transform into a small crazy person. They challenge parents in almost every way possible and somehow find trouble around every corner. There are temper tantrums and big emotions that they just don’t know what to do with. They push the boundaries of safety and often need constant supervision.
It’s a big job to keep a toddler safe and most parents are aware of the litany of dangers lurking around every corner. It’s crucial that mom and dad make their home a safe space for their little one and most of the time, it just takes a little bit of logic to toddler proof your life. Yet, there are some things that parents do and don’t do that put their child at risk. You may not even be aware that you’re putting your child in harms way.
Have no fear, I’ve compiled a handy list of potentially dangerous situations you may not be aware of. There is no one way to parent a child and everyone makes mistakes now and again. Yet, with a little bit of awareness, you could prevent your toddler from getting in harm’s way. Something as innocent as swinging your child by their arms could injure them. From food choices to discipline techniques, these suggestions will make for a happy and healthy kiddo. Here is a list of 15 damaging things parents keep doing to their toddler.
15 Not Anchoring Furniture
One safety hazard to toddlers that many parents might not be aware of is failing to secure furniture. Dozens of American children lose their lives yearly when topple-prone dressers or bookcases fall on top of them. It’s a scary situation that can easily be prevented if parents simply anchor the furniture to the wall.
A toddler in Utah narrowly escaped injury in a video that was posted to Facebook. The baby monitor captured a set of 2-year-old twin boys attempting to climb up a dresser in their bedroom when the furniture tipped over and trapped one of the toddlers underneath it. The other brother actually attempted to move the dresser and saved his sibling’s life. Their parents posted the video on Social Media to raise awareness and inform others about the importance if anchoring furniture to avoid a potentially deadly situation. It’s takes little effort but can make a huge difference.
14 On Their Phone Too Much
Most parents have cell phones these days and many of them spend more time looking at their screen than they do their toddler. Children sometimes have to compete for their parent’s attention and all too often, the Smartphone wins. More and more kids are being ignored while mom and dad stare at their phone.
Parents are missing out on crucial moments with their little ones and children are not getting their basic needs met. Eye contact is crucial in making a child feel connected to their mom and dad. Many of their social skills are learned by adult modeling and these neglected kids are paying the price. Their self esteem takes a big hit when their parents don’t foster a relationship with them because they are too distracted by their devices. It’s time to put down our phones and give our children our undivided attention. Trust me, everyone will be happier.
13 Killer Hot Dogs
A popular food that many parents feed their toddler are hot dogs. They’re easy to fix and seem like the perfect finger food for tiny hands, but the truth is, they are a potential choking hazard. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics made a statement in the year 2010 recommending that hot dogs should come with a warning label to prevent choking. Apparently, their round shape is just the right size to get stick in the windpipe.
If you insist on feeding your little one hot dogs, be sure to cut them in half to prevent choking. As a matter of fact, if you have a child that is younger than 4-years-old, cut all their foods into chunks that are a half-inch or less. Other menu items, such as grapes and veggies should be cut up as well. Taking all of these steps could prevent a potentially scary situation.
12 Trampoline Dangers
Every kid loves jumping on a trampoline but they are so dangerous that the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages the use of trampolines at home. The risks include: sprained ankles, head and neck injuries, spinal injuries, and fractures in the arms and legs. Children under the age of 5 are at the most risk of being injured.
Research has shown that the use of safety nets around the trampoline do not reduce injury rates and that many of the traumas occur when two or more children are jumping at once. Attempts to do somersaults often results in spine injuries. Little ones can suffer serious and permanent damage. Injuries also take place at trampoline parks that often don’t meet the AAP safety guidelines. The truth is, every time your toddler jumps, they are at risk of getting hurt. Be sure to check your insurance coverage to see if it covers trampoline related injuries.
11 Never Saying No
Parents who indulge their children and never tell them “no” are damaging heir child. It’s mom and dad’s job to set limits and teach their kiddos how to deal with disappointment. If little Sally gets everything her heart desires then she will never be satisfied with what she has and will forever be striving to obtain the next big thing. Not only that, but parents who can’t resist the temptation to say yes to everything will more than likely raise a bratty kid.
All too often, we see kids pitching a temper tantrum in the checkout line at the store because they aren’t getting what they want. If you view these moments as opportunities for them to learn to cope, then it becomes easier to leave the store with a crying kid in tow. Almost every parent has been in that situation and sometimes you just have to stand your ground.
10 Holding Child From The Arms
I’m pretty sure that many of us can look back on our childhoods and have fond memories of our parents swinging us from our arms. Who didn’t love spinning and laughing while their mom spun us in circles. It just seems to come naturally to do the same activity with our kids. Well, there is a potential injury that parents might not be aware of. It’s called Nursemaid’s Elbow and toddlers are the most at risk.
This is when when a ligament slips out of place and gets caught between two bones of the elbow joint. A health care professional often has to slip the arm back in place, although it can pop back on it’s own. A Nursemaid’s Elbow can be painful for a kiddo but it won’t cause permanent damage. The joint can slip out of place from an arm being jerked or if a child is picked up by their hands.
9 Too Much Screen Time
We’re all guilty of using devices to distract our toddlers. It’s all too easy to just hand over a SmartpPhone or Ipad to buy a little time while we grocery shop, sit in the waiting room of our doctor’s office, or to sneak off and take a shower. It’s fine to do this every now and then but it can be damaging to toddlers if they get too much screen time. Often times, parents use screens to babysit their kids.
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to avoid media use for children younger than 18 to 24 months. That excludes video-chatting and they want parents to only expose their little to educational content and watch along with their child. For children ages 2 to 5, they should only spend one hour of screen time a day of high-quality programming. Just be sure to use that one hour wisely.
8 Sand Tunnel Collapse
A fun day at the beach can quickly turn into a nightmare. One moment, you’re lounging and enjoying watching your child dig in the sand, and the next, they’ve vanished. One hidden danger of allowing your little one to play on the shore is the risk of a sand tunnel collapse. The sand can cave in on them and bury them alive. Other times, kids fall victim to a tunnel left behind by someone else.
There have been twelve young people who fell victim to a sand collapse in the last decade. Although the odds are pretty low of this happening to your child, be sure to keep a close eye on your little ones while they play in the sand. Also, be aware that if you’re children have tunneled or made a hole, that you fill it in before leaving the beach so that it won’t be a hazard to other beach-goers.
7 Flame Retardant Chemicals Cause Aggression
A recent study conducted by researchers carried at the Oregon State University found that chemicals that can be added to furniture, carpet, and other household items may cause aggression in children who are exposed. In the study, the behavior and exposure levels in children were analyzed and it was discovered that kids who were exposed to flame retardants were more aggressive, hyperactive, inattentive, and defiant or bullied peers that were of the same age or younger.
These chemicals are added to many common items and children can be exposed in their own homes, cars, and schools. The study suggests that children are more vulnerable to the negative affects of potentially hazardous materials. Be sure to seek out Eco-friendly items to protect your toddler from being exposed to the chemicals in question. If your toddler struggles with aggressive behavior, be sure to check your home for flame retardant items and replace them immediately.
6 Crib Safety Mistakes
Most parents of toddlers dread the moment that their little one discovers that they can crawl out of their crib. One moment your sweet angel is sleeping soundly and they next moment, they’re standing at the foot of your bed in the middle of the night. It can be tempting to ignore it but it’s crucial that parents keep their toddler safe.
For starters, resist the urge to put a net over your kiddo’s crib, these mesh tents fit over the top and prevent your little one from climbing out. The problem is, they’re just not safe. Some approved options include putting your child to bed in a sleep sack. This can restrict their limbs so they won’t physically be able to climb. Another idea is to lower the crib mattress to discourage a jail break. The best solution is to move them to a toddler bed and hope for the best.
5 Too Much Yelling
Let’s be honest, toddlers can be maddening. Between the “terrible two’s” and parenting a “threenager”, it’s enough to drive any mom or dad to yell out of frustration. Raising your voice at your kiddo usually doesn’t change their behavior and only leaves the parent feeling some serious guilt. Children who are yelled at often exhibit aggressive behavior or become timid and afraid. It can totally damage your kid.
The most important thing you can do as a mom is to take good care of yourself. Most yelling takes place when you’re feeling exhausted and neglected. So, be sure to make time just for yourself and you will be more patient with your toddler. Sometimes good break is all that you need so enlist help if you find yourself losing it all over your kid. Another tool to temper yelling is to count to ten before you discipline your insane toddler.
4 Food Dyes And Hyperactivity
If your toddler attends a birthday party and eats a cake covered in red frosting, chances are they may be keyed up when they get home from the festivities. The average mom and dad may not suspect that the foods they feed their kiddo might have a negative impact on their little one. Many parents of ADHD kids swear that the additives in food dyes affect their child’s behavior.
Research on the subject has produced mixed results and no conclusive evidence has been discovered to connect the two, yet a new wave of parents are taking measures to protect their child from hyperactivity due to food dyes. The Feingold Diet is a program that eliminates foods that contain food dyes and replaces them with similar foods that are free of potentially dangerous chemicals. It might be a good idea to think twice before giving your child food of unnatural primary colors.
3 Spanking Their Toddler
Another hot button issue that is potentially dangerous for toddlers is spanking. Many parents choose to discipline their kids by giving them an old fashioned smack on the bottom. Perhaps their child ran into the street or tried to touch a hot stove and mom gives the kiddo a pop to teach them a lesson. The hard truth is that the American Association of Pediatrics strongly opposes the use of physical punishment on a child.
A recent study linked spanking to mental illness in children. According to a report published in the August 2012 Pediatrics, harsh physical punishment was associated with increased chances of mood and anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and several personality disorders. They encourage parents to avoid hitting or slapping their child as a form of harsh punishment. Whatever your opinion is on the subject, you should be aware of the link between spanking a potential mental disorders.
2 Car Seat Safety Mistakes
There is a particularly dangerous temptation for parents of toddlers and that is to turn their rear facing car seat around. Their little legs get longer and it seems logical to face them forward but it could be totally deadly for them. Many parents flip their seat around on their baby’s first birthday and unfortunately, some of these little ones end up losing their life in a car accident.
The American Academy of Pediatrics published a statement in Pediatrics advising parents to keep toddlers rear facing until the age of two, or until they exceed the height and weight limit that can be found on the back of the car seat. Until recently, AAP suggested that kids be rear-facing for as long as possible and that the switch could happen at one year and 20 pounds. Many parents may not be aware that they now need to wait until the child is two-years-old.
1 Skipping Immunizations
Perhaps the most polarizing parenting topic is immunizations. You have one camp that dutifully follows the suggested immunization schedule and on the other side, there are the antivaxxers. Many parents are leery of giving their child the shots for fear that the preservatives in the vaccines might be linked to autism in children. It’s a decision that every parent must make but the Centers for Disease Control have very compelling reasons proving that choosing to not vaccinate your child could be dangerous.
Immunizations have eliminated many diseases but there are still some pretty nasty ones out there that your kiddo could catch. Some diseases that have been eradicated in the United States are still occurring in other countries and unvaccinated kids could easily be exposed when infected travelers enter the US. Not to mention that diseases like polio, the measles, and the whooping couch were scarce until parents decided to not vaccinate their children.
Sources: consumerist.com, psychcentral.com, aap.org, techtimes.com, babysleepsite.com, parents.com, feingold.org, cdc.go