Some Accidents Can Be Prevented
The name toddler tells you something about what to expect during your child's first through third year. Toddlers are not as steady as they will be later. They fall down a lot. Luckily, their bones are supple but strong and don't break easily. They are also close to the ground when they fall.
They are extremely curious, and liable to get themselves into dangerous situations. It is always better to prevent, rather than treat an injury. There are many things you can do to avoid some common accidents.
By the time your child can walk, you should have childproofed the house. This includes installing locks or other devices that prevent your son or daughter from opening drawers and cabinets. All medication, both prescription and over-the-counter, should be inside locked cabinets and in bottles with child-proof tops. Vitamins should be stored the same way. All cleaning products and chemicals need to be behind locked cabinets, preferably up on a high shelf where your child cannot climb. The same is true for gardening supplies, paints, and anything else that should not wind up in a toddler's mouth. In case your child finds something you thought you had locked up, you should have the local poison control number where you can easily find it.
You need to go through your house at your child's eye level and look for dangers. You can either remove sharp-cornered tables or buy padding to cover the edges. You should put away small rugs which can trip your toddler. If at all possible, you should put up gates to keep toddlers off the stairs when you aren't there, both at the bottom and at the top.
You need to think about the family pets. It is very important to teach your toddler how to behave around pets, dogs especially, because of their size and the fact that they will bite if provoked. A toddler should not be left unsupervised with a dog. A child should never approach a dog that is eating, or try and take something out of a dog's mouth. It is really true that dogs that bite once will bite again. You do not want a dog that bites in your home. Your child should also be taught not to approach strange dogs. If your toddler does get bitten by someone else's dog, it is important to know that dogs do not have rabies in the United States. It is still best to check out the dog's immunization record if possible.
Cats usually do not present problems. Contrary to tales told in many cultures, they are not dangerous to babies or toddlers. However, they will scratch or bite if provoked, so you want to try to make sure your toddler does not pull the cat by the tail or do anything else that might make the cat act aggressively. Feral or wild cats avoid children like they avoid all people.
If your child is bitten by a dog or cat, the bite can get infected. Any bite that goes through the skin and bleeds should be evaluated by a doctor to see if antibiotic treatment is needed. Serious cat scratches should also be evaluated.
Your child can also be bitten by another child, for example, in day care or preschool. If it is a significant bite with broken skin, besides washing it with soap and water, you need to take your child to the doctor. Human bites can be worse than animal bites. Your child's tetanus immunization status will also be checked.
The pool in the backyard may be the most dangerous thing on your property. It must be fenced and locked so that your child cannot fall or jump in. Whenever children are in the pool, an adult must supervise them, and that means being right there with the children. Children drown all the time because adults are not paying attention. Approximately 11% of deaths of children aged one through four years are from drowning. If you have a pool, in addition to fencing it, you should learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and hope you never need to use it.
Another danger on your property is any car or truck. Toddlers get run over by cars backing out of driveways because the driver cannot see them. They are too short. You must make sure your child is in the house or in the car when you or anyone else is leaving the driveway, or driving on your property.
This is by no means a list of every danger in your home. You will do the best you can, but there will still be accidents.