Is Your Baby Learning To Walk? 3 Child Safety Mistakes You Might Be Making
As a parent of a just-learning-to-walk child, you try to do everything you can to keep your little one safe. But sometimes what you think is safe is actually putting your child at increased risk of injury. If your child is starting to gain mobility, read on to learn about 3 child safety mistakes you may be making, and how to fix them.
Carrying Your Child Up And Down Stairs
If your child is old enough to crawl up and down stairs, but you're still carrying them because you think you're limiting their risk of falling on the stairs by doing so, think again. Children don't always fall down stairs by themselves. Oftentimes, parents fall down the stairs while a child happens to be in their arms. Children who are injured when they fall down stairs with a parent, as opposed to falling down stairs alone, are three times more likely to require hospitalization.
Only carry your child up or down stairs if you absolutely have to; if you're only running to another floor of your home briefly, leave your baby safely in his or her crib. For when you do have to carry your child up or down stairs, prevent missteps by making sure every stair in a set has a uniform rise and run. That is, each stair should be of equal depth and height.
If your stairs are uneven or especially steep or tall, it's best to call a contractor to square them up. If a contractor isn't in your budget right now, consider painting the edge of each step a color that contrasts your stairwell so you can clearly see where each stair ends and the next one starts when you're walking up and down them.
Installing The First Railings You Can Find On Your Stairs
Yes, your stairs need railings so your child has something to grab onto if he or she happens to slip on them while practicing their new walking skills. But if you haven't installed the right railings (and installed them correctly), you're putting your child at increased risk of injury. Railings with slats that are placed too far apart could allow your child enough space to slip their head in-between the slats and get it stuck.
To protect your child up to the age of two, the slats on your railings should be no more than 2 and 3/8 inches apart. This distance ensures that there is not enough space for your child to wedge their head in-between the slats. It's safe for the spacing in between slats to measure as much as 3 and 1/2 inches after your child turns 2, but only if your child is of average size or larger for their age.
As an ulterior option to slatted railings, you can purchase stair railing kits with acrylic glass guards. The guards are transparent and extend from the top of the banisters to the steps, thus completely protecting your child from falling through the railing or getting stuck in it.
For more information, consider sites like http://www.staircaseandrailingstore.com.
Buying Your Baby A Walker
A lot of parents assume that a walker is a safe place for a young child who is just starting to gain mobility. While the fact that the child is contained to the walker does limit the risk of them climbing up tall objects or repeatedly falling over when they're learning to walk, walkers do more damage than good. Infant walkers don't actually teach babies to walk -- in fact, they may delay your child's development. Furthermore, walkers are blamed for a good portion of child stair falls.
If you insist that your child use a walker, though, purchase a brand new one. Old or second-hand walkers may not comply with safety guidelines. The walker you use should be wider than any doorway that leads to a staircase in your home (standard interior doors are 36 inches wide), and it should have an automatic braking mechanism that halts wheel movement in the event that one or more wheels loses contact with level ground.
To further protect a child who will be using a walker, install gates at both the top and bottom of each stairwell in your home. The gates should be hard-mounted as opposed to being held in place by pressure. Pressure gates aren't as sturdy as hard-mounted gates; they can shift out of place over time.
If your child is just gaining mobility, keep them safe. Use the above information to learn what you may have wrong about protecting your just-learning-to-walk baby, and adjust accordingly.