Keeping your child safe is one of the most important issues to consider when bringing up your child. Each year in North Carolina, some 200 children die from accidental injuries and another 45,000 visit a doctor's office for treatment of such injuries. There is so much information available that it can feel overwhelming. As a parent, you've noticed that some kids are naturally cautious, while others are more prone to take risks. Psychologists now believe that this is related to brain chemistry. The child who startles easily at loud noises and needs coaxing to get on the seesaw will benefit from a different approach than the child who delights in dangling from the highest rung on the climbing bars. Children who are fearless adventurers need help in order to become more patient and vigilant. On the other hand, kids who avoid challenges need your reassurance and encouragement to comfortably explore.
Your child's age also plays a big part in how you handle safety. Very young children haven't developed the judgment to distinguish safe from unsafe situations, and hence need clear, non-negotiable rules. For instance, "Don't go near the stove" and "Never step into the street" are absolutes, which, when said and enforced consistently and emphatically, are accepted by most young children. As kids enter the preschool years they begin to develop some judgment about safety, but still can't be expected to apply safety rules consistently on their own. This is where you come in! Trust your judgment as their primary care provider. If in doubt, reach out to local agencies such as your pediatrician, police department, fire department, Department of Social Services, and the Wilkes Community Partnership for Children.