According to the American National Center for Health Statistics 2016 report, congenital abnormalities are the leading cause of death for children under the age of one. For one to four-year-olds, accidents are the leading cause of death.
Two-year-olds are among those most at risk from accidents.
Toddlers are mobile and eager to explore their environment, but they can't anticipate the consequences of their explorations. Most 2-year-olds will do whatever it takes to get what they want. Their intense curiosity, combined with new physical skills, makes the world an exciting - if often dangerous - place.
Toddlers know no bounds, so it's no surprise that childhood injuries peak typically around 15 to 18 months of age. Toddlers are curious climbers, natural thrill-seekers, and are typically fearless – which means fitting safety gates, latches and outlet covers.
And, of course, moving valuable ornaments to higher ground.
Safety experts recommend also getting down to a child’s level and survey the world from their point of view. What's within reach? What looks tempting? Where would we go if we just learned to crawl, toddle, or walk? This will help us figure out which cupboards, drawers, and other spaces our child might get into. And, as our child grows and develops, we need to re-evaluate again, looking higher each time.
We can never be complacent.
Here are four rules of toddler safety:
- Don't assume that just because a child couldn't do it yesterday, they can't do it today.
- Never leave a child alone in the kitchen or bathroom. These rooms can be very dangerous, and of course, in the kitchen, the hazards multiply when we're cooking. It may be a good idea to limit access to the bathroom with a safety gate or lock. There’s a lot of temptation.
- Be especially aware when visiting other people's homes or when visitors arrive.We can easily become distracted and our supervision become lax. (2-year-olds are quick to pool their talents and get into more trouble than they could individually).
- Realise that even the most thorough childproofing cannot replace adult supervision.The most important 'safety product' for toddlers is supervision - childproofing our home is definitely helpful, but nothing replaces a watchful eye.
As hard as we try we can’t wrap our children in cotton wool to keep them safe all of the time.
What we can do is teach them skills for keeping themselves safe and make sure that our baby-proofing extends to making sure our home is as safe as possible too.