All children need to play. It is how they learn, develop spatial skills, language, and form opinions about the world around them. Without sensory input from playtime, children would not develop the centers of the brain which control vision, audio input, and problem-solving skills. While it may be easy for an adult to disregard a child’s play as continuous recreation, there is real work involved as the child comes to unlock the world and how it functions.
Since playtime is so essential to a child’s development, it is equally important to provide a safe environment for the child to explore, and to do so freely. Children need to learn boundaries and will test the boundaries set out for them in order to determine the extent of their own powers and the limits of their skills. As a parent or guardian it is essential to allow for these experiments, but to safeguard against any serious injuries or even tragedies.
With such easy access to information on the Internet, no can be excused for lacking basic knowledge of safety. Manufacturers make attempts to recall toys that are found to be hazardous and Megan’s law gives people access to information regarding offenders, but caretakers of children need to do their own part by guarding the kids while in a presumed safe environment.
15 Never Let The Baby Play With Blankets
People tend to give babies many soft items to play and enjoy for the obvious reasons. Babies have sensitive skin, they can be easily injured by hard objects, etc. While these reasons are valid, leaving a baby to play on the floor with pillows and blankets can be extremely dangerous, especially if the infant does not know how to roll over. In the child’s attempt to change position she could become entangled in a blanket which would result in strangulation or the loss of blood flow to a limb.
Rebreathing suffocation results when an infant places his head near a blanket, pillow, or other covering which does not allow for adequate fresh air. As the baby breathes out carbon dioxide the immediate area fills with this kind of “old air,” not allowing for enough oxygen for baby. Death in this instance happens slowly and may not be easy for someone to recognize that it is happening until it is too late.
14 Don't Put Battery-Operated Toys In The Bath
Battery operated toys can bring so much entertainment to children. A talking Elmo can open his mouth when he speaks, Leapfrog can give lessons on the alphabet, and firetrucks can sound sirens. However, batteries themselves can be extremely dangerous because they not only produce an electrical current, but they do so using chemical reactions. When a battery or a toy containing batteries is immersed in water, the outer shell and the positive and negative terminals begin to deteriorate.
In a best case scenario, the battery operated toy that takes a bath with your child will cease to work. In more extreme cases, the battery will begin to leak the chemicals which could cause respiratory, eye, and skin irritations. Since there are so many toys that are water safe, it is just a better practice to keep the battery operated ones for dry play.
13 Is The Baby Around Unsecured Furniture?
Many accidents occur yearly from unsecured furniture falling on top of a child. The injuries sustained can be extremely serious and deadly. Sometimes children will attempt to climb onto dressers, bookshelves, or television stands to grab an item or simply to see the world from another angle. Young toddlers learning to walk often pull themselves up by using objects that appear steady and that are close to them. Unfortunately, the toddler could easily pull a cabinet over herself without any means to stop it.
Manufacturers do produce materials to mount, harness, or otherwise secure televisions, bookshelves, and other objects to reduce the risk of injury. The simplicity of these safety measures make it easy for anyone to protect their children from this kind of injury. For just a few extra dollars and a couple tools, you can be confident the furniture will stay in its place.
12 Keep Slime Off This Year's Christmas List
There are some kinds of slime and playdough that can be made at home and made relatively safe (the ingredients are mostly salt, flour, and water), but the recommended usage for anything store bought is two. Babies and toddlers explore the world by putting things into their mouths. They often will continue to try an object or a new taste and texture multiple times before moving on to the next thing.
Even items that are considered nontoxic are not intended to be ingested and can upset the child’s sensitive stomach if consumed. Since there are so many other safe things for your child to explore and learn in the first few years of life, bringing out the slime, playdough, and paint can probably be held off until the child is a little older.
11 Playtime Should Never Happen On Your Bed
Most parents have heard the song “No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.” Although a silly child’s counting song, it still makes the point that jumping on a bed or sofa can result in an injury. While jumping on any bed can turn into a trip to the emergency room, allowing a child to jump on an adult bed increases the risk. Adult beds tend to be higher than a child’s which increases the height from which the child falls. Additionally, other furniture in the room could create more hard and sharp surfaces upon which the child could land.
Since young children’s ligaments and bones are still developing, a fall from the couch or a bed may fracture a bone, dislocate a bone, or tear a ligament. Children are also not as adept at putting their hands and arms out to catch themselves, which results in more face plants to the floor. Any head injury can be serious and the risk of such should always be avoided.
10 Remember... Your Keys Are Filthy
Anything that jingles and is used by mom and dad can be very exciting to babies and small children. Holding keys at the grocery store feels like such an amazing treat that parents often occupy fussy babies this way. Unfortunately, playing with keys poses multiple risks. Like an older child’s toy, keys are small and can easily become lodged in a baby’s throat. Keys are also dirty, dropped and carried everywhere, which expose children to a myriad of germs, and the sharp and pointed edges increase the likelihood of injury to the skin or eyes.
Aside from the harm that can come to the little one, keys are important articles that should be guarded to some degree. They start cars, open houses, lock safes. Putting such a valuable item in the hands of someone that will likely toss it down an aisle at some point is not a sensible idea.
9 Don't Leave Small Objects Around The House
When having an older child there may be the temptation to allow younger siblings to play with the older child’s toys too early. The older one may even be told to “make sure your brother doesn’t put this in his mouth” in order to clear your conscious and free your responsibility. However, the responsibility must always be yours and despite the younger child’s complaints (or tantrums) toys have recommended ages for a reason.
Most toys containing relatively small parts are recommended for children ages 3 and up due to choking hazards. If you are unsure as to whether the toy should be used by a younger child, take a toilet paper roll and see if the small pieces can fit through the roll. If the piece can be angled to slip through the hole, it is too small for any child still mouthing toys.
8 ...Or Anything Sharp
Letting a child play with pens or other “sharp” objects increases the risk that a child may accidentally stab himself or others. Young children may even attempt to chew, suck, or swallow the object which can tear the esophagus and stomach or choke the child. Pens can also leak and the ink can be ingested accidentally.
Imaginary play is an excellent way for children to develop storytelling skills, and many children create situations that they see their parents or other adults doing on a daily basis. Children may try to use props from the parents in order to engage in this play. Toy designers often recognize this desire and create toys that are safe for children, but mimic adult gadgets. These would be better to give a child than an adult object.
7 Always Clean The Baby's Toys
As mentioned, young children explore orally, often putting everything they can into their mouths. Although this is an important part of their development, it also means young children consume germs and dirt on a daily basis. When toys are not washed or sanitized regularly the little one can become sick unnecessarily.
One simple way to clean toys is to take a bin with soap and water and immerse the toy, wiping off any noticeable dirt or debris. The toys can then be rinsed and put into a bleach and water solution and left to dry. For toys that contain batteries, wipe the objects with a wet cloth and spray with a bleach and water solution. Soft toys should be laundered weekly. In this way, a parent can reduce the amount of germs consumed and keep the little one healthier longer.
6 Don't Ever Throw Them In The Air
Usually it is a dad that can be seen doing this. A giddy and giggling child will get thrown into the air with the intention of being caught as gravity pulls her back down. This roughhousing can be exceedingly dangerous for the parent and the child. Not only can the child be injured from a fall, but the parent as well may sustain injuries as the child falls on him.
Although the distance from the throw may not seem to be particularly great, a young child’s skull is not completely set. Any fall could result in severe cranial damage and death. If a child likes the feeling of going up and down with this kind of play, a trip to the swings at a local park would be a much better substitute.
5 The Kids Shouldn't Play Alone Outside
Outdoor play is an essential part of a child’s growth and development. During outdoor play children discover nature, remain active, and benefit from the fresh air. With more and more parents keeping children inside, there has been an increase in a sedentary lifestyle for children of all ages, which can lead to obesity later in life.
However, despite the obvious benefits of running and jumping in a natural setting, supervision of this play is necessary. While many parents assume their children will be safe playing outside alone, they neglect the fact that children are natural risk takers and can become seriously injured if not properly supervised. Even older children could wander from home or the playground only to become lost. An unsupervised child is also an easy target.
4 Not Child-Proofing Outlets
Toddlers and babies learn about the world through self-discovery, experiments, and feedback from their environment. This results in injuries now and then that are more alarming than injurious to the child, but allowing a child to play near outlets without a child proof cover can lead to a serious electrical shock. Although a parent may have never witnessed the child’s interest in the sockets, no one can know when a curious child will decide to stick a finger or a toy into the plug. After all, they see you plugging in the vacuum cleaner, toaster, and nearly every other appliance into the electric outlets. As an imitator, a child may attempt to see what can be achieved by shoving a toy or a finger into the intriguing holes. Childproof covers are relatively inexpensive as well so there is no excuse not to purchase and implement them.
3 Avoid Hide And Go Seek In Public
Kids love to play hide and go seek. Even small children will find little nooks and crannies where they can wedge themselves in order to hide, and their giggles are contagious when you find them. This may begin as early as the peekaboo game with an infant. Like playing outside, hide and seek should not be avoided altogether, because it does help children with counting, problem-solving, and motor skills. The game must be conducted safely, however, and in a private setting.
Since most cases reveal that a family member, friend, or acquaintance was the perpetrator, it would be extremely easy for the young child to be snatched while you are either hiding or looking for them. The predator may tell the child that there is an even better place to hide, or that they saw where you are hiding. With confidence and trust the child could be taken away long before you realize what has happened.
2 The Kitchen Is Not A Playroom
Although it is important to keep children under supervision, it is equally important to have a safe place (appropriate toys, child proof outlet plugs, secured furniture in place, etc.) where children can play while making dinner, or otherwise in the kitchen. Second only to the bathroom, a kitchen is one of the most dangerous places for a child to play in a house. Not only are chemicals often stored under the sink, but knives, herb scissors, and other sharp objects can be accessed as well.
For some homes, locking the cabinets and drawers may make the kitchen seem relatively safe. Unfortunately, curious children can often reach a hot stove and be burned. If the stove operates by gas, a child may be able to turn the knob without igniting the top causing dangerous gases to fill the room.
1 Always Supervise Pool Time
For a person to drown there only needs to be a few inches of water present. Young children, and even older ones, can easily misjudge their abilities and become submerged in the pool without the strength or wherewithal to get out. Often by the time the child realizes the danger and tries to cry out, the child has already gone under the water. If the parent is close at hand but not watching, the child could be inhaling water before the parent realizes what has happened.
Even if a child is submerged for a short amount of time and does not need CPR, it is still advisable to take the child to a health care provider. Secondary drowning occurs slowly as water in the lungs settles and prevents the person from breathing. This could occur as late as 24 hours after a submersion.