Kitchen drawers pulled out like a stepladder, a telltale sign. There, on top of the refrigerator, six-month-old Patrick sat cooing. He crawled up on the counter and got on top of the refrigerator. As an eyewitness, it is still hard to believe it happened. Babies need constant close attention to be safe. What the adult watching the baby thinks is safe dictates levels of safety. Babies are often more capable than adults think.
There are eight fronts of safety to be addressed when preparing an environment for a child. 1. Age 2. Equipment 3. Toxic compounds 4. Motor skill level 5. Human threat 6. Weather 7. Presuppositions 8. Physical structures. The child is only as safe when the supervisory adult maintains a constant active vigil over all eight fronts simultaneously. Assuming the environment is safe is the most common error.
Every child increases abilities at a unique rate. While it is wise to study how to keep a child safe, it is unwise to apply the information as a safety standard. Material available to read lists information that applies to children as if each one is exactly the same. Every child is unique, develops at a personal rate and has skills related to mental acuity. Some child supervisors say, ‘According to the materials this child is not old enough to get in the cupboard and cannot open a safety cap. It is not my fault.’ Never give too much authority to statistics or ‘typical’ behavior reports.
There are basic guidelines for providing a safe environment for a child. Avoid buying used equipment. Used items often are for sale because they are unsafe. Check safety records for any item purchase used and be aware unsafe products. Any used equipment must be professionally sanitized before being near the baby. Understand that a baby is a commodity to some strangers. Never leave the baby unattended at any time especially when there are other people around. Do not leave your baby unattended for even a few seconds in the car or anywhere else. Prepare the environment so that there are no dangerous items, fall points or opportunities even before the baby is crawling. Always, error on the side of caution.