Providing a safe environment for your children is a blow-by-blow experience and a constant challenge to your imagination. For the first few years they grow at an incredible rate, both in physical and mental capabilities. During these first years they look to you for all their needs, including protection from themselves and your environment.

These following blog entries published with the thought that the best defense against common household accidents involving young children is intelligent prevention with a planned and instituted program of child safety. Before a program can be instituted there must be an understanding of what represents a danger to a young child.

iStock 000014195358SmallOrdinary household items can be very hazardous to young children. Even with the best supervision, their ability to get themselves into trouble is uncanny. Once a child is up and moving around, his world expands rapidly. Your task is to be aware of what potentially dangerous situations he could get into long before they can happen. If this is not your first child, do not assume that he will not do one thing or another just because other children did not. This can actually put an experienced parent at a disadvantage. Lucky once does not necessarily make you lucky twice.

Accident prevention and safety awareness are skills that need practice, sort of like a sixth sense for danger.

Most children will learn safety from their mothers. It is your attitude on safety and how you react to situations that will influence your children for the rest of their lives. This attitude will determine how they regard their own safety and that of others around them.

Mothers are often torn between keeping a baby safe (for example, by limiting his area to a playpen) or allowing him to explore with more freedom. Obviously a child cannot be confined forever. With your awareness of potential dangers that exist in your home, a few safeguards, and good supervision, your little person can begin to expand his world, making new discoveries all the time.

The responsibility of the primary caretaker in the home produces a stress unlike any other job. A good safety awareness program can add the necessary confidence needed to let your child explore without needless interruptions for a NO-NO and help get him through this wonderful age of curiosity, experimentation, and daily adventure without the havoc contributed by unnecessary accidents.

As you read, keep in mind that there are no “cure alls” for accidents. Some accidents will still happen no matter how hard you work at avoiding them. Minor injuries are a part of learning and a result of your child’s exposure to the world around him.

A child must, however, be taught what is an acceptable level of risk and what is not. A simple example is learning to walk and run. There is an acceptable level of risk involved in this learning process and you should expect the associated bumps and bruises from falling. This risk of minor injury is part of the price we pay for learning to become mobile. However, running through the house near furniture with sharp corners or on a slippery surface around the pool present risks of a much more serious nature without any benefit to be gained — unacceptable!

Your education along with firm guidance in your child’s education are the keys to accident prevention and safe living.

Providing for your children and enjoying their very presence is what we have come to feel are the most generous rewards life gives us. This joy can also be your most devastating pain if all is not well.

You cannot be sold on living safely and we certainly don’t need anymore laws. It is a personal decision and preference, just like wearing a seat belt while driving a car. You determine and set what are acceptable risks in almost everything you do each day. Choose wisely — someone else is depending on you.