(Above is a photo of Mahli trying to jam a soft rubber toy into his mouth.)
So, the little critter is starting to crawl, climb and help him to things that break, smash and clatter? Here are some tips to help you protect your child from harm.
1) Never underestimate an object. Children put everything in their mouths, they don’t question it, and they shove it in by the mouthful. Sometimes, my son uses two hands to really cram it in. Animals carry seemingly innocent objects such a leaves, bones and clumps of fur into the house that babies will happily put into their mouth. Unfortunately, these items can get stuck in their throat. The plastic off a bread loaf, the mud off a person’s shoe, a dead insect (or worse, a live one); all of it goes up and in. If your floor is frequently swept, your little baby can crawl wherever he likes and not be at risk of swallowing little items that may be harmful.
2) Learn your first aid. I work full time and attending a first aid course was proving impossible. Unfortunately, my son puts absolutely everything in his mouth, nonstop. I resorted to watching online YouTube videos that really helped me to learn what to do if a baby started choking. And what do you know? Two weeks later my son choked on a little clear piece of plastic someone had left on the floor. I went straight into action, using the few simple steps I saw on the online video, and got the piece out safely. Watching the choking baby video took 2 minutes, but it taught me a lesson I will carry with me my whole life.
3) Don’t feed them anything they can’t break down. An apple is healthy and nutritious, right? Ask yourself, how would you eat an apple? If your answer is; with your teeth, then do not feed it to your baby yet. A couple of tiny teeth are not going to break down an apple into a soft swallowable condition. Try a mashed banana instead. It’s yummy and isn’t likely to likely to create a choking hazard. Fruit and vegetable puree is also ideal.
4) Put things up high. They grow up so fast, one minute they are immobile, the next they’re on the move. They’re forever developing, whether we are aware of it or not. My son had just started to crawl and one week later, he started climbing up the shelves. With one brief blow, he had smashed one row of priceless ornaments. Don’t underestimate them. Our little bundles of joy move quickly, place all your dangerous or valuable items away in boxes or store them up high for a few years. Your house might start looking bare but at least you will have piece of mind.
5) Putting them in a pen is easier said then done. My son won’t stay in one without screaming the house down. Setup an area in the house, such as the living area, fencing off all exits. Plant toys and interesting, harmless items around the room that will keep them entertained. That way, you have created a “pen” that doesn’t make your child feel as though they’re locked away from all the fun but is safe and easily supervised.
6) Never leave a child unattended. Creating a safe environment helps to keep them out of harms way but it does not protect them entirely. Nothing beats the good old watchful eye of a parent or guardian. It only takes a second for a child to get into serious trouble. Never underestimate what problems can occur when you are not around.