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Columbus, Ohio
USA

Blog

Why injury? It's this simple: more children die from injuries every year than from the next three leading causes of death combined. Nobody knows this because no one is talking about it. In the U.S., one child dies every hour from an injury that could have been prevented. Around the world, a child dies every 30 seconds as the result of an injury. You don’t need to have a child to know that we can do better.

 

The Myth of Supervision

End Injury

"Unattended Children" by  Michael Allen Smith  licensed under  CC BY-SA 2.0

"Unattended Children" by Michael Allen Smith licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Parents often believe that because they are watching their kids closely, they’ll be able to protect them from harm. This is what I refer to as the myth of supervision. The truth is that watching your kids is not enough. Even if you’re with your child at all times (which isn’t really possible, by the way), you might not be able to stop an injury from happening. A friend of mine is an emergency department doctor and has commented on the number of times she has heard parents say, “I don’t know how this happened—I was standing right there.”

Having a child of my own showed me how hard it can be to simply keep little ones safe and healthy, and the thought of my daughter being injured is one of my biggest fears. I can’t hover over her and protect her every second of the day, so I try to do things that reduce or eliminate the chance of injury, which gives me just a little more peace of mind. After all, if I can get rid of the risk, I can get rid of the worry, too.

Taking precautions like these makes it just a tiny bit easier to get through each day, especially on the days when getting my kid to bed in one piece feels like a major victory.

For instance, if I don’t buy laundry pods, my child won’t mistake one for candy and pop it in her mouth. I bought cordless window blinds because I know that the cords can strangle children. I installed wall-mounted gates on my staircase so my daughter won’t push a gate over and fall down the steps. Taking precautions like these makes it just a tiny bit easier to get through each day, especially on the days when getting my kid to bed in one piece feels like a major victory.

I don’t want to shield my child from testing herself or exploring or taking risks. By not falling for the myth of supervision, I can keep her safe and healthy long enough for her to figure out what she wants to explore and what risks she’s comfortable taking. I wish I could protect by sheer will but know I can’t, so I use every tool in the toolbox, including both supervision and safety.

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