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Updated: June 28, 2012 20:54 IST

Parenting is no child’s play

A. SHRIKUMAR
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CHALLENGING ROLE: Demands of parenting has increased. Photo: A. Shrikumar
CHALLENGING ROLE: Demands of parenting has increased. Photo: A. Shrikumar

With kids getting more dynamic, hyperactive and inquisitive, parenting has become a harder challenge. Parents need to stay cautious to keep their little ones away from any harm

The recent episode of four-year-old Mahi’s birthday party turning into a death tragedy (the child who fell into a borewell in Gurgaon and died) has once again prompted the need for parents to be vigilant on kids. Had Mahi’s parents kept an eye on her, perhaps she wouldn’t have fallen into the bore well at all. In a similar incident, a six-year-old boy lost his life falling from the railing at a mall in Bangalore four years ago.

Often, we brush aside and underestimate the capabilities of kids, but your toddler can cause more trouble than what you actually think.

Media has been reporting many such child accidents time and again, but there are many many more unreported experiences too. Retail consultant Rupa Agarwal remembers the day when she had gone to the market with her two-year-old son Nisarg. While she was buying tomatoes, Nisarg with his tiny feet had already reached the middle of the busy road. “It was fortunate that he was picked up by a pedestrian just in time from a speeding car,” recollects Rupa. “I still get scared if I think of that moment.”

Kamini, a working mother shares how she went crazy when her daughter had once swallowed a safety pin. “It was my daughter’s third birthday party and we couldn’t keep a watch on her,” says Kamini. “Sometimes, kids can do such things that you wouldn’t have even imagined.”

Avoiding mishaps

“Children are like little explorers and in the course of trying to do something they can unknowingly harm themselves. Being a parent goes beyond just nursing, feeding, taking care and upbringing children. It needs total commitment and round-the-clock active vigil,” says Vanitha who runs a play school. “At play schools and crèches, we play the parents. We need to run behind the kids all day, get along and respond to every single action of them.” Vanitha says that keeping a constant watch on kids is so quintessential to avoid mishaps.

“Small children are generally hyperactive with high levels of curiosity. And it may turn dangerous most of the times,” says paediatrician Saroja, running a child care centre. “If it is not possible for parents to be around all the time, some responsible elder should be left in charge of children.”

Working parents living in fast-paced cities, often find it a challenge to raise children safely. “In olden days, grandparents looked after kids while parents were away at work. But in nuclear families, the demands of parenting has increased,” says Sumathi, a working mother. “To appoint a third person is also unsafe.” In smaller towns like Madurai, the lack of babysitters and proper crèches adds to the woe.

For young working parents, there are numerous sites on the net that provide tips on child safety. ‘Safe Kids’ is a network of organizations based in the US working to prevent unintentional childhood injury. Their site www.safekids.org contains top tips every parent needs to keep his or her little kid safe. The information is also given according to the various age groups and is also organized into three categories (at home, at play and on the way). On this site, one can also find other resources like checklists, quick tips and how-to videos that will give you the tools to make your home and car as safe as possible. There is also option for parents across the globe to join the Safe Kids online community, where discussion threads are posted, questions are asked and tips are shared.

Though the safety of a kid depends on various factors, the primary responsibility undeniably is that of the parents.

With new-age kids, it has become inevitable for a parent to be the guide, guard, friend and playmate.

SAFETY TIPS:

•Hold or lift your kid at crowded places like markets, parties, festivals, malls and on busy roads.

•Keep children away from machines or technical equipment like vacuum cleaner, washing machine, dish washer and oven.

•Keep a watchful eye over kids while using escalators, lifts, staircases, cars, bikes and rope cars.

•Be with them while playing outdoors and it is better to prevent kids below eight years from riding a giant wheel or roller coaster.

•Never leave your kids near slippery bathrooms, unguarded doorways, floor edges without railings, pits and tunnels and areas with wild growth.

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