Two days ago, soon after we were done with our dinner, my brother-in-law came running to tell us that my little one (9-month old) was chewing something. We rushed to her and found out that she was chewing on some paper. As we took out the paper out of her mouth we found it was actually a pack of Camphor (kapur) that she was chewing on. We managed to take the major parts of it out, but she had already ingested a one piece and the smell was very strong. We immediately called her doctor and washed her mouth 4-5 times. Though she seemed okay, we got extremely worried as Camphor is poisonous if eaten. It can cause seizures and can also be fatal if taken in large quantities and not treated immediately. We rushed her to the Emergency Room for treatment, where they gave her a stomach wash. She cried so much and was in a lot of pain. Our eyes welled up and we were constantly praying for her wellbeing. Thankfully after the wash, she was fine and was active. We came back home early morning. We gave her very less diet and observed all her activities for 24 hours. Thankfully she is perfectly fine now.
Every year, thousands of infants and toddlers are hurt in their homes. Kids in the age group of 9 months – 24 months are among those most at risk because they're mobile and eager to explore their environment, but they can't anticipate the consequences of their actions. Mobile infants have more control of their head, arms, and legs. Moreover, mobile infants are curious and learn by doing. They also begin to coordinate those movements. At this age, they sleep less and are more active during the day, eager to engage in everything around them. As they learn to stand, crawl and walk, they can move around more independently and explore their environment. They begin to develop their ability to reach for objects—suddenly grabbing, chewing, or trying to climb on objects that were once out of their reach.
To them, cabinets, toy chests, and other items that open and close become more exciting. They are also able to swallow semi-solid food and eventually begin to feed themselves solid food. And this can turn out to be quite dangerous at times.
I believe we should get down to their level and look at the world from their point of view. Low drawers left open has may have interesting items inside; bookshelves and cabinets have so many attractive things; and knives, sticks and glass dishes are not as out of reach as we may think. Infants have special interest in our cosmetics, lotions, medicines, actually anything to everything which is NOT meant for them, fascinates them. So, it’s extremely important for us to stay one step ahead of them and make sure that we can always see and reach our baby when they are moving about.
Here are few safety tips we should take a note of:
•Arrange furniture and household items so you can always see your baby
•Identify a safe area for him/her to explore
•Make sure that only age-appropriate items are within your baby’s reach, and all the tiny stuff like elder child’s tiny toys, screws, papers, marbles, coins, pins, clips etc. are kept aside in a safe & locked place
•Stay close by so you can reach your baby quickly if needed
•Anticipate what your baby wants or may try to do
•Engage and redirect. Even when you are busy, you can stay engaged by talking to your baby. If necessary, intervene quickly before your baby does something that is not safe.
•Mosquito repellents, incense sticks, match boxes, camphor, shoe polish, detergent are poisonous for kids, so please ensure they are kept in a place which is out of their reach
•Never let your child enter the kitchen unattended – it can be very dangerous because the kitchen contains knives, heavy appliances, hot utensils/food, fire, and can cause serious injuries. Remember that in the kitchen, the hazards multiply if you're cooking.
•Never leave your child alone in the bathroom – water filled buckets, toxic cleaning supplies, medicines, razors, and creams/lotions are some items which can be hazardous.
I believe we just need to be extra cautious with a young and mobile infant in the house. While we do not want to curb their natural curiosity for new things, it’s also important to take necessary precautions to ensure their well-being and provide them with a healthy and safe growing environment.