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CHILDHOOD SAFETY

February 19, 2013

This blog is geared mostly to parents who have toddlers and young children but not limited to that age group.  I am going to assume that you have certain safety practices in place such as a car safety seats, guard rails and even outlet plug covers. Over this Winter I had encountered several accidents described below that should serve as good reminders.

A two year old boy “eyes” a coffee mug belonging to the parent near the edge of the table.  The cup contains hot tea that the mother just brewed and took a sip from. Mom was quick at catching the child’s desire to grab the cup and moved the tea toward the center of the table. You would think that all is well but moments later, when Mom was “off guard” the toddler pulled a chair over to the table, proceeded to climb onto the table and grabbed the cup. Well, that hot tea poured over the forearm resulting in a second degree burn, a trip to the hospital, lots of pain and parental guilt.

A four month old infant was placed on the exam table by the mother prior to my arrival so that a fresh diaper could be applied. The mother was by herself. When turning to retrieve a new diaper, WHAMM! Down goes the baby onto the floor. The intense scream caught my attention and upon my arrival the mother was understandably frantic with tears streaming down her face. Fortunately, the baby was not harmed.

A two and one half year old boy was in his crib as usual and one morning finally was able to exert enough muscle power to “pole vault” the crib’s guard rail. All was doing well when the toddler was at the top of the rail but when trying to descend toward the floor for freedom the right foot got caught and the boy was suspended head hanging downward and screaming louder than the alarm system. When the parents came to the rescue, they noticed the right thigh was grossly swollen. The emergency room evaluation revealed a spiral fracture of the right femur bone requiring surgery. The battle with Child Protective Service did not make it any easier for the parents. The child did well after all was said and done.

We had a round glass coffee table in the living room that was about three quarters inch thick. There were no sharp edges and the top was heavy enough that it seemed to present no problems.  My son (why is it always the boys?) loved to run into that room and use the table as a brace to stop his momentum. This went on for months so it was considered safe.  Well, one day the usual impact resulted in the table top tipping over. The weight of the top certainly would have caused a fracture of the foot or toe but what was earth shattering was that the glass broke in half right in front of him. Thanking all angels in heaven, he was not cut or injured in any way. We, as parents, were mortified. The table was never replaced.

The case I will never forget involves a one year old girl who, while exploring the floor, found Mom’s recently lost diamond earring stud. When Mom saw the child with it, suddenly time slowed down as Mom saw the child place the earring into the mouth and swallow it despite Mom’s attempt to run over and abort the mission. After finally reaching the child’s mouth, yep, it was gone! “My child has eaten my precious anniversary given diamond ear ring stud!” That’s when I got a call. Syrup of ipecac was given (over the counter) by mouth and after drinking some water the child vomited and the ear ring was recovered.

Over the 2012 year I cared for about 12 children involved in fairly serious auto accidents many involving the total destruction of the vehicle. I am presently involved with driver training for my last child, and what I realized, is that when you are teaching a teenager to drive defensively, you realize how inconsiderate other drivers can be even when there is a “rookie driver” sticker on the car. Despite the wide use of money making photo cameras throughout the D. C. area, when the coast is clear you see the release of frustration by many drivers speeding and cutting in and out of lanes. Placing your child in an automobile is one if not the most dangerous things we do to our children and we do it almost daily. When strapping them in simply give thought that this may be the time you get into a bad accident.

Just a few more comments.  While raising children there is one thing I’d suggest you NEVER have; a deep fryer. Third degree burns give rise to lifelong scars that surely will influence the psyche of that person eternally. Every child will have accidents no matter how hard you try to avoid them. Don’t be so hard on yourself with blame; assuming that you are doing your best.

See ya!

Dr. “D”

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