Safety first and “You can’t be too careful.” are two common phrases in our language, especially, pertaining to kids.
I believe keeping a keen eye on safety is very important but also know that parents can be careful to the point of causing more danger to their kids.
The first area where ultra-cautious parents endanger their kids is by being “chokeaphobics”.
Baby’s first solid foods can drive, some parents, crazy. There are lists of foods that I would never feed children under four.
- whole hot dogs
- whole grapes
- peanuts (most nuts) but walnut meats are softer than most.
- sticky, chewy candy like gummy bears
- hard candies
- popcorn (sometimes okay)
You see, at about a year old, kids have their first exposure to chewing food for swallowing. Gagging can be an alarming sound but it is a noise from a reflex which alerts the child to chew. The sound also lets us know that his/her airway is not obstructed. Up to the time of the first solids, babies are gulpers. Parents who “cream” everything and avoid approved baby “munchies” just because gagging frightens them, are encouraging their baby to continue gulping. Chewing must be learned and the earlier, the better. An over-protected eater will have more gagging and choking episodes in later years when other kids are chewing things, like popcorn, without incident.
Then there are the “germaphobic” parents.
Germs are not all bad and even those which offer colds and stomach bugs, have value. Unless your child has a compromised immune system, let them mingle.
Babies are clean slates. Their immune systems are too. As much as we dislike a sick baby, the illness makes baby stronger. Children who rarely get to play and exchange germs with each other, will not only be in for a “plague” of illness when they go to school, they may really get sicker when they are older before they are exposed.
To me, the worst over protection is what I’ll call, the “bumpaphobic” parents.
You’ve seen them. The ones who interrupt “rough and tumble” play at every opportunity.
Kids are pretty sturdy creatures. Their bodies are developing many groups of muscles, and sadly, there is not manufactured child-safe equipment suitable for every need. Kids who aren’t challenged by uneven ground (they will fall)or jumping off of steps (they will fall) or climbing up things that cannot hold their weight (they will fall) are deprived of lessons in balance, depth perception and the physics of living with gravity. Too the extreme, “bumpaphobic” parents create clumsy, accident prone kids who won’t keep up with their peers.
These are my biggest over-protective peeves. I’ve witnessed every one in my day care experience of 38 years and thought I’d warn parents OR give a printable text to offer someone who is witnessing over-protection.
- Parents licking a pacifier ‘clean’ may boost baby’s immune system (fox5sandiego.com)
- Don’t Clean Your Baby’s Pacifier Off In The Sink If It Hits The Floor – Suck On It, Says Study (consumerist.com)
- For the need to chew!! (chewigem.wordpress.com)
- Study says baby’s spit-cleaned pacifier is OK (wqad.com)