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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I try to give ds as much freedom as possible. I definitely have boundaries, mostly for the sake of safety and respecting others. But as much as possible I am trying to let my 23 month old explore the world and learn about himself through his own trial and error. I do feel though that it is my job as a mom to help him learn from those experiences. I have also been doing a baby care swap with a mom who does the continuum concept thing. She doesn't have any child-proofing done to her house, no gates on the stairs. I do have childproofing, but I respect what she's trying to do, and have even been more lax about what ds is allowed to do. For instance, I let him climb the stairs by himself now, and he can definitely handle it. I also let him stand on our dining room chairs by himself, and I really feel confident that he won't fall (well, there's always the chance he'll slip, but I feel that that's true in other, sometimes more dangerous situations).

But today, I had a playgroup with main stream moms, and perhaps I got a little carried away, but I let ds do both those things, and at least two of the moms had a heart attack. One mom told me I should never let ds do that in other people's homes for fear of liability (okay, now who thinks like that?). I thought about it and totally realized that most moms aren't used to this, and I should definitely reign ds in when we're at other people's homes. He can learn that there are different behaviors for different contexts.

But my question is this: Does anyone know any stats on how many kids fall down stairs, burn themselves, drink draino, etc. if left to do so? And how much of this is prevented by gates, latches, and such? What did parents do before these safety inventions? When ds was younger and crawling, I would definitely be more concerned about him falling down stairs and such. But how long does a mom go on fearing that happening? I think my ds is perfectly capable of handling situations that other moms seem to panic over.

Look forward to your responses.
 

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I'm in a similar boat as you are. I was actually thinking of creating a similar thread.

I do make sure to keep the draino up, though. It's kind of like street saftey...no room for learning a lesson once.
I do know that death by accidents is a leading cause of toddler deaths. I don't have the stats, but I remember reading it a while back and taking notes.
So I sort of judge situations in a two phase system.
1)Could he really die from this?
2)What are the chances I'll have to run to the ER if he falls (or whatever)?
For example, I kind of freaked my MIL out last week. She has stairs, while we don't. We have steps on our front porch, though, and ds fell one step one time. Ever since then he's been super cautious about all steps. He holds on to the rails for dear life and moves slowly. So, at MIL's house, I let him go up the stairs alone.
Now, these are carpeted steps, and the floor is carpeted and padded.
For the life of me I could not imagine him falling in the first place, or seriously injuring himself if he did fall.
This was his first encounter with stairs, and he ended up only going up about 8 steps before deciding it was looking kinda scary, anyway, and he looked at me and said "Help", and I helped him down.
(I probably would have sat half way between him and the floor if he'd gone much farther).
MIL was aghast. We encountered a few similar situations that day with chairs and such, but by the end of the day she saw my logic. (She's a very cool woman.
)
"Well, he's definitely the most agile 20 month old I've ever seen before. And you're right, he never falls. And even if he did, I have to get creative to imagine how he'd actually require a visit to the doctor for it. He stops himself before he loses control. I guess your thing is working.", was what she said before we left.

Anyway, sorry I'm just posting here instead of starting my own thread. I don't have the stats you were looking for, but I do see the CC ideas on saftey working very well with my own ds. He's that perfect blend of fearless and cautious and curious.
My version of cc has always been kind of watered down, but I really do think the idea holds truth.
 

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Hi, I've also read the Continuum Concept - the first version, I think - it's the only one available in our city's entire public library system. (**Sigh) and I found the book helpful in her observations, but not the applications. Sorry, I don't have an answer to your stats but I'm just happy to hear someone is trying the same stuff I am! We too are giving our 22-month-old leeway on the stairs and with climbing but are still pretty conservative as to what she's allowed to do. I'm finding that children't aren't really psychic, but can tell if the image in your head doesn't match the words in your sentence (try saying "come here" while picturing your child running away - works against you every time!!). We DO have safety gates on our stairs, we didn't have them as soon as we needed them because we couldn't find an extra-long one to fit our stairs that we could afford. But we were really relieved when we got them in and found we could relax a lot more!!

We have basically safetied our house, but not excessively. I think it's a lot easier when you have only one to keep track of, I have a feeling that a lot of accidents happen in homes with more than one preschooler and your attention is really split up. On the other hand, both myself and my husband have been really carefull how we word stuff ("Honey, Mommy doesn't like you playing on the stairs... knives are sharp, you can look at it later" (like when she's 10 years old)...) and she has a really good grasp of how to behave in certain areas of the house, yard, playground, and knows how to handle objects, and which things are for Mommy and Daddy to handle.

Sorry for the long reply, I'm just so happy to hear from you on this topic!
 

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I sort of divided various childproofing possiblities into catagories - in my head. There are some things that small children have no instinct for, and no frame of reference.

They are primed to learn about heights and depths and climbing safetly -- there is something biological to help them along with these things. So I didn't use gates and I let them attempt whatever furniture climbing they felt ready to attempt.

But nothing in their physiology tells them not to stick their tounges in outlets or not to drink drano. So I used saftey plugs and I put up the cleaning products. Does that make sense?

And then there is a 3rd catagory of childproofing that has to do with protecting stuff that is important to me, and avoiding creating power struggles. I stored away things that were precious to me, or put them up high, and made sure that everything 3ft and down were unbreakable and okay to explore.
 

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Sorry if I've misunderstood what this is about, but have you read the perspective of Kathleen Dettwyler (http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detcross.html - see second paragraph)? An anthropologist who says that in her experience in Mali lots of babies did end up injured from being able to play with knives and near boiling water. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with letting your child climb the stairs - I suppose its a question of how supervised they are (are you behind them to catch them if its something very new to them - without obviously 'hovering').

just a thought,

Sarah

Mum to Clara 28 months and new baby due 8 July.
 

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I unblocked the stairs when DS was 17 months old (he'd been crawling up and down them since 9 months of age, and starting going upright at 13 months). BTW, he is 21 months now. We insalled a handrail at his level as well. He actually never goes down the stairs by himself though unless one of us goes first. He will come up them without us though. Outside is a different story. He climbs up and down these awful rock steps we have. But, he has never fallen on those. He did take a tumble on the inside ones at about 14 months, but he only fell 2 steps...and it scared him more than hurt him. He tends to be more cautious than a lot of toddlers his age, and I do trust his insticts. Anything seriously dangerous was put up or locked away when he was about 9 months old so he could really explore. I let him help with most anything that isn't incredibly dangerous...I even let him help stir hot things on the stove, though I have my hand on his the whole time. I'm kind of a watered down CC mama, but I tend to trust my DS more than other mamas I know IRL.

I have no idea about toddler accident statistics, but I do believe it has to do with parenting a bit. Telling a toddler "no" over and over again will really only pique their interest in something.....so when mom is out of the room, what do they immediately go for? The object they were denied.
 

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We err on the side of protection in our family, but mostly because of dh. My dh is way over-cautious, IMO. I'm constantly reminding him that we don't have to protect them from every possible bump and bruise. Our kids are beyond the baby gate age, so take bikes for example. I'm all for helmets, and when dd was learning to ride without training wheels, I agreed that knee pads would save us *all* a lot of pain. But he's got both of them (ds still uses a tricycle or small bike with training wheels) decked out in helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and now he's talking about getting them gloves to protect the palms of their hands if they fall.
By the time they get all that gear on, they've practically lost interest in riding bikes. Sheesh. But that's my problem, not yours. :LOL

I'm probably about average in my concern with safety. I take resonable precautions, but I try to let them explore, jump, run, etc. as much as possible. I did gate stairs, for example, but I also let them crawl up for fun if I was there to spot them. My dd is more naturally cautious than my ds, so I think some of the ability to keep themselves from harm depends on personality.

There are a couple of moms in a group I'm involved with who seem to take the Continum Concept thing pretty religiously, and I have to say that it makes me *very* uncomfortable at times. Their babies (under a year) will be half way up the jungle gym bars, where a fall to the ground would be complicated by a possible hard knock to the head or face by the bars. If we are inside, the babies will be exploring the electrical outlets.
I don't want to seem jumpy, so I try not to intervene too much, but I feel like it interferes with my enjoyment of the get-together when I see the babies in situations that I consider to be quite dangerous, but the mom does not seem to be concerned. I can't just turn my back and stop worrying about it, kwim? I'm not the only one who worries, btw -- I see other moms watching with worried expressions as well, or sometimes going over to pluck a child off the monkey bars or whisk them away from the bottom of a slide in the nick of time. So I agree that it would be thoughtful of you to at least keep a closer eye on your child when you are around more cautious moms. If your ds wants to stand on a chair, just go over and watch him (close enough to catch him if the chair starts to tip). If the moms of these babies in our group were at least *watching* them, that would be enough for me. I might still disagree with what they allow, but I know they would keep the child from being *seriously* injured. That's my 2 cents!
 

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I think it's really an individual thing and a lot of it goes back to knowing your child and their abilities. I don't personally subscribe to any philosophy other than my own, which is... I try to learn as much about my daughter's abilities and give her room to grow within those boundaries. I'd never let her near knives or a stove (she's 3) because she simply does not have the motor skills to handle them properly at this age. Likewise, I wouldn't let her play with matches or chemicals. Not because she doesn't know they are not safe, but because accidents happen more often at this age. But I let her climb up on the counter to get her beloved sunflower seeds because I know developmentally, she can do it without difficulty. But I'd never assume an accident can't happen.

It sounds like you know your ds and his abilities. I wouldn't let others' opinions sway you. But I do have to say that yeah, liability worries me. My father was sued because some kids ran through his yard and one broke an ankle when he fell in dad's yard. Dad won the case only because he had several documented complaints about these kids in his yard and posted no-trespassing signs. But even with that, it was and iffy case.

We have a 2 storey house with finished basement and I DO NOT let visiting kids go up and down stairs for this very reason. In this litigious nation, I don't put anything past anyone.
 

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I'm with you guys. Both my 5 YO and my 2 YO have copmletely free reign in the playground, climbing in the house (well, I did freak a little when my then 15 mo. old got to the top of the fridge), stairs, and exploring in the fenced-but-wild 1/4 acre way-back yard. My mother goes nuts every time she visits. However, I am careful with chemicals and drugs, mostly because 2 YO DD has shown she can and will try to give herself a handful of "Mommy medicine" if I'm not. We also have a house that is very limited on things they can't touch so I don't worry about that sort of childproofing much.

The other day I had a really interesting encounter with an emergency room Dr. at the playground. He was very worried about DD climbing up those ladders that look sort of like someone's spine -- open curvey rails. Now, DD is tiny, so she looks younger than she is but is also more physically adept than she should be for her age. So people frequently flip when they watch her. Anyway, this guy starts on a very earnest lecture to me about playground falls. I listened, but then pointed out that this was the 10th time she had climbed the ladder TODAY and she had been doing it for months. I made him watch her and he admitted that I did have a good grasp of what she was capable of and apologized for jumping to conclusions. I restrained myself for say "Well, duh" because he was at the playground spending and hour with his daughter inbetween 2 12 hour shifts. Frankly, I think we're more in danger if we need medical care from him than the playground, but that's anoother thread.

We have been to the ER twice for falls -- one for each kid. One sustained at daycare when someone pushed DS and once when DD fell from the back of a couch on the driveway during a yardsale. We only went to the ER because they started vomiting afterwards. Both times the kids were OK. I guess I'm willing to risk the occassional trip to the ER for the sake of what the kids learn about their bodies and the world by having such freedom.

But I do get really, really tired of other people's freaking out on me!
 

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ok I must be a really bad mom then b/c I taught DS how to crawl up and down the stairs alone waaaay younger than 23 months (like 14 months maybe?). Our steps are broken by a landing, so the most he can fall at any time is 7 steps (which he has done twice and that was a long time ago....which is what got me to started teaching him the right way to do it).

He now walks up the steps and slides down on his heiney


He also frequently stands on chairs....but I draw the line at standing on the table...both for safety issues and I dont want stinky little feet on there lol

My goal is to teach him how to navigate the world around him while still trying to keep him as safe as possible
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by velochic
I think it's really an individual thing and a lot of it goes back to knowing your child and their abilities. I don't personally subscribe to any philosophy other than my own, which is... I try to learn as much about my daughter's abilities and give her room to grow within those boundaries.
Yes!

My dd is 20 months and I don't let her go down our stairs without me right next to her. She is fearless, and not afraid of falling. She doesn't have any fear of heights, never has. She also has a high pain threshold, which means bumps and bruises don't deter her. I love her confidence, but there are situations in which I hover.

On the other hand, I love giving her as much freedom as I can, and I have no problem letting her do things if serious injury or death aren't looming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So awsome to hear from all you mamas. I think we are all mostly in agreement, even you more cautious ones. I too put away the draino, and I am vigilant on the playground equipment, but as velochic says, we get to know our children and know what they can and cannot handle. I don't think any of us want to see our children hurt (though I can't speak for the moms at your playgroup, luv my 2 sweeties. I certainly don't think moms should neglect their kids). But like you all, I allow my child to challenge himself rather than follow the book on certain things. It's great to know that there are others out there doing the same things.

I understand the importance of safety, but I also think that there are people and parents in our society that overemphasize its value in their "I'm a good parent" repertoire. Sometimes I'll be out and about and I'll encounter a person who looks for some safety no-no to point out. Like my ds was playing with rocks at the beach one time, and there was an older lady, who I thought was going to say how cute he was, but instead lectured me about how the rocks are choking hazards. But safety is only one part of the child's welfare, not the whole thing, kwim?

I have to think more about the liability issue. We live in a litigious society, but I don't want to have to live my life determined by it. I certainly would not constrain my baby care share partner with the fear of it.

And Mamakay, that's really cool what your MIL said. She sounds very open-minded. It's my hope that people can be open-minded too when I let ds do things that most parents would not. I too feel that ds is better at handling stairs, etc. because he is allowed to navigate it himself and be able to practice that way. These moms can see (or maybe not) how capable he is, but I think they're so stuck on the safety issue, nothing could convince them. I liked reading your post, so no need to apologize.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by goepark
I understand the importance of safety, but I also think that there are people and parents in our society that overemphasize its value in their "I'm a good parent" repertoire.
I have encountered this so many times. Like there needs to be the whole show of concern for your (or someone else's) child to prove you are a "good parent". I have often had to step in as someone tries to pluck my little one off the monkey bars. Of course if my child is asking for help I am right there, but it is important to me to let my children trust their limits and safely push their own limits is well. I also watch them without hovering and asses the potential for injury if there was a fall. The only bad injuries my kids have had have been right in front of me, in our living room, and completely unavoidable. So I let my kids hike on trails, chimmney up the door frames, jump from ladders or climb trees. The one "rule" I have is that as you climb you must make sure that you are able to get back down, and you don't climb past that point. I once had friends over and my 18 month old was walking up our steep trail, and the other moms were freaked, despite my reassurance that he climbed it almost every day. But, like mamaduck and others, I do put up cleanng supplies and outlet covers, because I don't feel that my babies have any instinctual guide for how to deal with these things.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by farmer mama
I have encountered this so many times. Like there needs to be the whole show of concern for your (or someone else's) child to prove you are a "good parent". I have often had to step in as someone tries to pluck my little one off the monkey bars. Of course if my child is asking for help I am right there, but it is important to me to let my children trust their limits and safely push their own limits is well. I also watch them without hovering and asses the potential for injury if there was a fall. The only bad injuries my kids have had have been right in front of me, in our living room, and completely unavoidable. So I let my kids hike on trails, chimmney up the door frames, jump from ladders or climb trees. The one "rule" I have is that as you climb you must make sure that you are able to get back down, and you don't climb past that point. I once had friends over and my 18 month old was walking up our steep trail, and the other moms were freaked, despite my reassurance that he climbed it almost every day. But, like mamaduck and others, I do put up cleanng supplies and outlet covers, because I don't feel that my babies have any instinctual guide for how to deal with these things.
I would just like to point out that while you may disagree with the limits other parents impose in the name of safety, their concern for your child is genuine and heart-felt. Speaking from personal experience, it is *so* uncomfortable to have my heart in my throat as I watch a small child in a situation *I* see as quite dangerous, but at the same time to feel that I might annoy the mother if I intervene. My point isn't that you need to do anything differently -- just to respect where they are coming from. Perhaps a bit of reassurance from you that your child is a precocious climber or whatever would help. They don't know what your child can do, only that *most* children cannot safely do what your child is doing.

In situations where you aren't right there watching, there is no way other parents can know what things you deem safe and what you don't. Most fellow mothers will chose to err on the side of safety and pluck any child off the monkey bars if they think the mother is not aware of a dangerous situation. Personally, I would *want* someone to do this for my baby/toddler if I hadn't noticed them climbing too high. If you are obviously watching then they shouldn't do that, but if you aren't, or they don't know you are watching ,then you can't realisticly expect people to do nothing if they think a child is in danger. Just a different perspective.
 

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luv my 2 sweeties- Thanks for the other perspective. I think I wasn't totally clear. Genuine concern for my child's safety would never be irritating to me, and I would respond to it with a friendly "She's fine, thanks." or "She does this all the time". I guess I am talking about a kind of dramatized panic and "Can you believe she is letting her do that?!" attitude (does anyone know what I am talking about?), and I can tell the difference. Sorry I was unclear.

That said, I have asked unattended children if they needed my help on the playground based on if they looked frightened, so I do know where you are coming from. I would never be p*ssed about someone's genuine concern.

Oh, and I think any limits another parent sets for their own children should be respected (for their children). It isn't my place to judge the limits other parents place for their kids and I would assume they are based on the child's ability or comfort, and I even ask my kids not to do certain things that are well within their limits based on what the kids around them are not allowed to do (like climbing on top of structures, etc).

Gosh, the playground can be such a tricky place, lol.

Edited because I put the little * in the wrong place. Oops!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Farmer mama, I wanted to add something to your train of thought. I've been thinking about this, and I think part of what motivates certain people to be (hyper)vigilant about our kids in terms of safety is the same motivation that expects the child to be obedient. It's another way to put them in their place, tell them 'no', and punish them if they don't comply. One of the moms I mentioned in the original post does not have a gate up at her own home! (So far not a problem.) But she forbids her 23 mo dd from climbing it, and her dd gets in trouble for doing so! Her dd is constantly tempted to go up those darn stairs. That may be an extreme example, but my point is that I think certain people are "watch-dogs" for safety in a parallel way as they are watchful for bad behavior. Just a thought.

But of course there are people who are genuinely concerned. I count myself among them. I'm the first one to keep an eye out for a kid on the playground if I think their mom is not paying enough attention. But there are those out there whose concern is not balanced enough with caring for the child in other ways.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties
In situations where you aren't right there watching, there is no way other parents can know what things you deem safe and what you don't. Most fellow mothers will chose to err on the side of safety and pluck any child off the monkey bars if they think the mother is not aware of a dangerous situation. Personally, I would *want* someone to do this for my baby/toddler if I hadn't noticed them climbing too high.
Oh man, any person who physically moved my child from a piece of playground equipment would probably regret it for weeks because I would definitely tackle first and ask questions later. I may let her climb to the top of the jungle gym, but if anyone touched her I would be all over them in a heartbeat! I mean, how would I know if you were "helping" her to your car or *merely* trying to control my child? Either way, I would think it was way out of line!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom
Oh man, any person who physically moved my child from a piece of playground equipment would probably regret it for weeks because I would definitely tackle first and ask questions later. I may let her climb to the top of the jungle gym, but if anyone touched her I would be all over them in a heartbeat! I mean, how would I know if you were "helping" her to your car or *merely* trying to control my child? Either way, I would think it was way out of line!
I'd just think she was trying to help. I think moms just sort of instinctively want to protect most little ones, and I think that's a beautiful, wonderful attribute of humanity.
Last week ds was "saved" by a stranger at the park. He was walking around the base of the playground, but before I knew it he was making a mad dash for the swingset. I'm running after him yelling "Stop"
and another mom saw him and grabbed him before he was hit by a big kid on a swing.
(This is an area where I'm not so cc...logically I know getting whacked by a swinging kid probably wouldn't cause any serious injury, but the thought just freaks me out).
So I don't have a problem with moms who just instinctively want to protect my baby. That's
in my book.
I just get annoied by those who have a "saftier than thou" attitude in general...the ones that seem to think they're a better mom because they would never, ever, ever let a 20 month old risk falling even one foot...right after telling me the story of how their 4 year old has had to have stitches because of falls 3 times this year alone.

Those are the ones that get to me.
 
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