As a longtime member of the Safe Kids staff I was pretty familiar with child safety, long before I became Stephen’s dad 17 months ago, Back then, I didn’t realize the impact Safe Kids would have on my new role as parent.
Not surprisingly, my first lessons about parenthood came from my own parents. My mom and dad have been amazing role models for all aspects of my life, and have taught me much about how to create a loving, supportive environment for my little guy. But looking back on my own childhood, a lot has changed in 33 years – especially in preventing accidents. I vividly recall long road trips when, more often than not, my brother, sister and I were not buckled up.
Times have certainly changed and so have the safety messages directed at parents and caregivers. As a result of my work with Safe Kids, I am now more aware of all of the dangers in and around our home, more aware of the ways a car seat can be misused and much more aware of all the places where water can pose a risk to my son. But I also know all of the relatively easy steps my wife and I can take to prevent our son from being hurt. My wife and I knew to not allow Stephen to sleep with a stuffed animal and not to use pillows, blankets or other loose bedding. These items may look innocuous, but they can be a suffocation hazard to young babies.
Recently, we had to decide when to turn our son forward facing in his car seat. The recent study by AAP and NHTSA that advocates keeping kids rear facing until they are at least 2 years old was very timely. It came out a day after we turned him forward facing, although we knew rear-facing was safer, and prompted us to turn him right back around. The new statistics were simply too great to ignore.
Although I don’t think I go overboard on safety issues, some things scare me more than others. Our son spends over 12 hours a day in a crib completely unsupervised and I'm all too aware of the dangers associated with a child’s crib. Although heatstroke from kids being left alone in a car is not a leading killer, the 49 deaths last years were 49 too many and approximately half were because the parent simply forgot the child. As a pretty forgetful person, this terrifies me. And living in an old row house in DC, I tend to worry a little bit more about CO poisoning and fires.
This is why I appreciate the work of Safe Kids and the easy to follow, realistic, safety advice and tips offered to parents. Taking a few simple necessary precautions provide the added support needed to keep your child safe. So this Father’s Day weekend, give yourself a little peace of mind and visit our website.
This blog was written by Dan Orzechowski.