Top toddler safety tips every parent needs to know

June 06, 2018
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    It can be frightening to watch your toddler at times. One minute he’s standing with his feet firmly on the floor, and the next, he’s climbing over the furniture or running furiously without looking where he is going. Without any real sense of danger, he plunges headlong with limitless energy from one potentially harmful situation into another.

    But whenever you furiously reprimand him for his lack of safety, he bursts into tears. That’s not because he realises how close he was to injury but because he genuinely cannot understand why you are so angry with him.

    As far as he is concerned, you are worrying unnecessarily. In his mind, he is invincible.

    Related: How to teach your child to be smart about strangers: safety tips

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  • 2 / 5

    Psychologists researching into the development of a child’s sense of danger have found that:

    1. Kids under the age of three have virtually no ability to anticipate hazards, which means they need extra vigilant supervision when they explore. It isn’t until after their third birthday that they become more aware of their surroundings.

    2. Your two-year-old’s judgement is affected by his emotions. Even if your toddler is one of those who are apparently sensible and cautious, he may become reckless when upset.

    3. Excitement affects perception, especially with young children. That’s why the thrill of seeing his friend on the opposite side of a busy road blots out all sense of self-preservation – he may try to dash right through the heavy traffic.

    Related: 7 ways to teach your kid about stranger danger

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    If your toddler is a boy, he will typically blame someone else when he is injured accidentally, whereas a girl is more likely to blame herself and hence change her behaviour. Boys are generally more reckless.

    There is evidence that a toddler is more likely to develop a sense of danger when he is rewarded for acting sensibly instead of punished for thoughtless behaviour that put himself at risk.

    Parents are more tolerant of energetic, daredevil behaviour from their young sons than they are from their young daughters, thus suggesting that they find such behaviour more acceptable from boys than from girls.

    When your toddler does hurt himself, chances are that he will forget the unpleasant experience very quickly. The incident easily slips his mind, making him happy to repeat the dangerous experience the next time round.

    Related: 10 escalator safety tips you should know

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  • Ensure a safe home environment
    4 / 5 Ensure a safe home environment

    You need plastic electric socket covers to guard against his prying little fingers, adequate locks on cupboard doors to stop him from getting inside and drinking those fascinating bottles under the sink, as well as external door handles at an appropriate height to prevent them from being opened by your young child.

    Of course, no family home can ever be 100 per cent safe from the exploits of your young adventure-seeker who is prepared to try anything once – but this should not stop you from trying to create an injury-free zone.

    Related: Playground safety: tips to keep children from getting hurt

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  • Have more “do” than “don’t” rules
    5 / 5 Have more “do” than “don’t” rules

    There are other steps you can take to keep him safe. Firstly, tell him clearly what he can and cannot do – but be sure to include positive limits in addition to negative ones, so your child knows where he can explore as well as which areas are off-limits.

    You should also provide opportunities for him to explore safely, as he will have no choice otherwise but to put himself at risk in order to achieve excitement and adventure. For instance, if your toddler especially enjoys climbing, running and balancing, take him to a good outdoor play area.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

    Related: 4 tips for a safe and child-friendly bedroom for your kid

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