Young children love to learn and explore. Although it is generally harmless, the curiosity of toddlers can become dangerous if they are not properly supervised. This can easily be prevented with a little bit of knowledge and precautionary measures. Here are 5 injury prevention tips for toddlers.
1. Clean up the home for a safe, clutter-free playing area.
Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury hospitalizations for all children between the ages of infancy to 15 years old (Canadian Paediatric Association). While they generally result in bumps and bruises, slips and falls can sometimes cause more serious injuries, such as bone fractures and concussions. Having clutter around the home can result in an injury. Your toddler is already unstable on their feet, and leaving items in their path will only make the tumbles, slips and falls more frequent and possibly more harmful.
2. Store away dangerous products.
Curious toddlers seem to get into everything – or at the very least, they try. Any parent knows that it takes mere seconds for a toddler’s hands to reach for something that they should not be touching. The household is full of many dangerous products, from soups and detergents to cleaning chemicals and sharp objects. Go through your home and take all the items that could be potentially dangerous and/or fatal if your toddler comes into contact with it. A few items that are dangerous include:
- Toxic chemicals (cleaning supplies)
- Scissors, knives, etc.
3. Teach your child about household safety.
Toddlers do not understand what is safe, and what can cause serious harm. It is up to you to teach them what they need to stay away from to stay safe. Just as you do with the alphabet and numbers, recite household items and areas to your child that they should never touch. Explain that stoves are hot, being in the tub alone is dangerous, and reaching in the sink is a big no-no.
4. Practice outdoor safety.
Once your toddler starts walking and reaching, they will quickly figure out how to turn door handles. This can be incredibly dangerous. Not only should you be teaching your child about outdoor safety, such as never leaving the house alone or opening the door for a stranger, but you should also think about installing child safety locks on your doors. There have been reports of toddlers getting out of the house in the middle of the night, and you simply don’t want to take this risk.
5. Explain and educate.
Your toddler’s brain is like a sponge; they are eager to soak up everything that they learn every day. Your child is at the perfect age to start explaining things to them, as they are beginning to understand how to communicate. When your child crashes into something and gets a bump, explain to them why they got hurt. For example, perhaps they were running too fast, or not paying attention to their surroundings. When your child slips and falls after climbing on the kitchen table, explain to them that climbing on objects is unsafe and that is why they got hurt. Your child wants to learn about the world and is certain to use their mind and judgement moving forward.
The best injury prevention tip for toddlers is to teach them everything you know when it comes to safety. Your little one doesn’t know any better, and it’s your job as a parent to inform them of the dangers in and outside of your home.