How to Protect Your Child When They Are Too Young to Protect Themselves

It is impossible to protect your child from all threats no matter how hard you try and no matter how much you want to do it. The world just doesn’t work that way. That is probably a good thing since your child is eventually going to come into contact with the real world and they need to be ready for the impact. No matter how carefully you hold them, drops happen and are usually inconsequential. They bounce back quickly from most mishaps. Even at its most fragile state, humanity is surprisingly durable.

If you want your child to be immune to the worst effects of illness, they are going to have to encounter viruses and bacteria somewhere along the way. In this way, overprotection can actually make your child more vulnerable rather than less. As they grow up, you want to know that they can handle themselves when you are not around. But if you never let them roughhouse with other kids, they will never know how to defend themselves or fully develop their physicality.

Parenting is a tough mix of hard choices. That said, there are plenty of things from which you need to save them, even from themselves. Here are a few occasions when it is okay to let your protective instinct run free:

Thumb Sucking

What could be more natural than thumb sucking? Babies start doing it almost immediately. They don’t have to be taught how to do it. But there are a lot of things we do by nature that are not good for us. Thumb sucking is one of them. It is natural to start but not so easy to stop. Up until age 3, you shouldn’t worry about it. If it continues past 6, you and your little one have a problem.

You want to start applying parental encouragement and employing the latest tools to help your child stop thumb sucking for good after they turn three. You want to start early because it might take a while before they actually stop. It doesn’t happen overnight and will take longer in some children. It also gives you plenty of time to be more gentle and patient with your instruction. By six, the habit can cause permanent oral deformity that would require unpleasant and expensive treatments to correct. You have to protect your child from their natural instinct because in this case, Mother Nature does not know best. You do.

Your Home

You feel safest when you’re at home. But your home isn’t always a safe place, especially for small children who have learned to toddle. Being smart with how you protect your family is about more than the latest home security tech. It is about securing your home against the dangers from within to a child that is too young and vulnerable to protect herself.

Start with the stairs. Toddlers and stairs don’t mix well at all. That said, you probably already have a baby gate. If you are into the connected fitness device trend, you might also have a treadmill. The leading treadmill has been slapped with warnings after a string of injuries and even the death of a child. Don’t feel smug if you have a different brand. These are dangers common to all treadmills. You have to childproof everything. The biggest safety tip for a treadmill is to keep the key safely hidden away. Treat it like the key to the gun cabinet.

Screen Time

It is a subjective thing. There has not been enough research to make pronouncements one way or the other. But at some point, you are going to have to make some decisions about how much screen time you allow your child to have. It used to be that TVs were used as babysitters for small children. Now, it is tablets and smartphones with ever more apps for toddlers. Some are quite educational while others are setting them up to be future customers. You have to work this out very early because they will start reaching for your phone the moment they see you spending too much time on it.

It is better to be overprotective than underprotective. So be sure to take the appropriate measures against thumb sucking, hidden household dangers, and too much screen time.