Preventing household accidents
Mothers should make their homes healthy and safe.Your home should be a haven: the place where your children will be protected from harm. A healthy home environment is critical since many hazards aren’t obvious.
There are important preventive steps for mothers to take to prevent household accidents that involve children and which might harm them.
Mothers should guard against scalding. Hot water can burn the skin just like fire. A baby or toddler who is exposed to 140 degrees F water can be scalded in less than five seconds, so make sure hot water is nowhere close to your toddlers.
Mothers should watch out for windows too when protecting their children from accidents at home. It is crucial to install window guards, rows of bars no more than four inches apart that screw securely into the sides of window frames but can be released quickly by an adult in case of fire.
Babies and toddlers can be strangled by cords on blinds and shades, so place cribs and other furniture away from windows. It’s best to use cordless window coverings in children’s bedrooms.
Mothers know how often children can fall and injure themselves. They should take precautions to foil falls too. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury for children from ages 14 and under, but your child’s risk of being hurt in a fall down the stairs or off furniture, multiplies once they can walk.
Toddlers are still mastering the whole walking thing, and they lose their balance a lot. Install wall-mounted baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs, and cushion corners and edges of tables and fireplace hearths with padding to protect your child from banging their head on them if he or she topples over.
Mothers should be prepared for fire outbreaks at home too. Children from 5 years and younger are likely to die in a residential fire than older children or adults because it’s harder for them to escape on their own.
It’s critical to have a smoke alarm on every floor including the basement as well as outside and inside every bedroom. Remember to test them monthly. You should also have one multipurpose fire extinguisher for every 600 square feet of living space.
When using an extinguisher, remember PASS: Pull the pin. Aim at the base of the fire. Squeeze or press the handle. Sweep from side-to-side at the base of the fire until it goes out.
Ban bugs safely. Mice, cockroaches, ants, and mosquitoes are annoying, but they are usually not nearly as big a health threat as the toxins that get rid of them. Pesticides contaminate the air your child breathes and the floor she plays on and increase her risk of developing neurological problems and cancer.
Mothers can protect their children from the harmful effects of pesticides by keeping their kitchens clean and free of food particles. If you must use pesticides, buy the smallest amount needed.
Preventing domestic accidents also mean locking up poisonous products and keeping them away from your children’s reach. Mothers shouldn’t hide only cleaners, medications, and caustic cosmetic items like nail-polish remover but also perfumes, bath oils, mouthwash, aftershave, and vitamins from their toddlers.
How to raise children who can stand up for themselves
You can’t change a child’s inherent nature, but you can help kids stick up for their rights, with confidence. Being assertive helps children in virtually every relationship-at school, at home, and on the playground.
In the classroom, it puts a child at an advantage because she’s comfortable commanding the teacher’s attention, raising her hand if she knows the answer, and asking for extra help if she’s lost. They will also have an easier time making friends.
Some children are simply born comfortable with the ability to say what they want while others are inherently shy or passive. Trying to force a child into a role that’s not comfortable for them in order to boost her confidence may have the opposite effect. It will also make the child miserable.
But there are ways to nurture the nugget of assertiveness in any child without pushing too hard, or to help a retiring one see that being just a touch more pushy can be useful. Basically, anything that promotes a healthy sense of self-esteem helps promote assertiveness.
Fathers, discipline your toddler. As your child’s first birthday nears, it’s time to start laying down the law. If you don’t set limits, they may learn that the best way to get what they want is to whine or scream.
There are more esteem-affirming ways fathers can discipline their children. They should criticize the behaviour rather than the child. Say “Stop that! Pinching hurts!” rather than “Stop being a brat!” Belittling your child will make them feel bad about themselves and discourage assertiveness.
Be consistent with your rules. If you tell your child he or she can’t jump on the furniture, don’t let him or her do it on Friday nights just because you are tired after a long week. If the rules are constantly changing, your child won’t know what’s expected of him or her and that makes it tougher for them to be assertive.
Explain your command briefly while sticking to rules at home. Saying, “You have to go to bed so you won’t be tired for camp” is preferable to “Because I said so.” This helps your child distinguish the right from wrong, rather than perceive rules as arbitrary.
Discourage peer worship. Some children shy away from asserting their true selves because they want to fit in or emulate a cherished pal. Prepare your child for the possibility of being rejected by friends, and explain that a friend who doesn’t respect other people’s opinions isn’t worth having.
Let your child call the shots sometimes. If you are always telling your child exactly what to do and when to do it, he won’t learn how to take the initiative. Encourage your child to decide for himself what activities he likes to do.
Encourage your child to think for themselves. Once your child is old enough to carry on a conversation, encourage him or her to speak their mind-even if you disagree with them. If a child is shouted down every time she has an opinion that differs from those of their parents, that child will shy away from asserting himself or herself.