If you’re a parent to a young child, you’d probably agree to the statement, “toddlers are little trouble magnets.” Even a second’s distraction is enough for an accident to happen with a young child around and that too when you least expect it.
I came across a post on the BabyChakra Momstars group a couple of days ago and identified so much with it!
It was a relieved expression of a petrified mom who was locked in the bathroom by her own child. It reminded me of a similar situation that had happened to me, except that it was my 2-year-old daughter who was locked in. And boy, it was scary!
While I’m very glad that the mom and her child are safe, all of us may not be that lucky. And for those of us living in nuclear families, the situation can induce panic especially if a mum and child are home alone.
Even if you feel pretty confident that you've done a thorough job of childproofing your home, it’s always best to be prepared for the worst. Here are few safety pointers that were offered by super-helpful Momstars in the group. These could help us be better-equipped to tide over situations like these.
For example, Momstar Priya Sood Use playpens or cordoned areas to leave your kids to play. This worked well for me when I attended to chores. A handful of books and toys kept him busy for a while”.
Image source: candokiddo
Another helpful Momstar Prerana Poddar contributed, “You could change the position of the locks. Tower locks or locks installed at a height can keep a toddler from reaching them till she gains some height.” Most older children can discriminate between what can and cannot be played around with. So till then, this arrangement could keep problems at bay.
She also suggests that keeping a spare set of keys advisably within arm’s reach is a great idea. Should someone get locked in, the fastest way to get out would be to reach out for the key and open the door.
An additional precaution could be changing the type of the locks of the doors inside the house to those which can be opened easily with the screwdriver. These locks are not only easy for children to get their way around but can also be conveniently opened with a key.
Meenakshi Bansal Agarwalla had a simple solution. She said, “ I use foam door stoppers to hold the door slightly ajar. Of course this means that the door cannot shut completely.” This could be a bit inconvenient in terms of privacy but a door stopper can eliminate all issues of being locked in/out. There are plenty of online stores that offer these stoppers. Giving your child some TV time while you need some time alone is not a bad idea. It is better than getting into a danger atleast! ;)
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In addition to these external precautions, many unpleasant incidents can be prevented by preparing your child.
Momstar and culinary expert Umaima Abdulally feels, “With older kids and more curious toddlers, just baby proofing might not be enough. Explain to your child that locks and bolts are not to be played with. Teach her how to lock and unlock the door while also emphasising that it is not to be done without an adult supervision.”
If it still happens despite all the precautions, what should you do?
While this is no rule book, here are a few things that could help the situation:
Be Calm: Remember your child will sense your emotion. Your panic will reflect over your child and could cause panic in her too.
Talk Through: In my case, this worked well and my daughter was able to unlock the door herself. Remember that your child trusts you and senses your voice. Explain what to do by making it sound fun.
Assure your child that it’s fine to wait till someone comes. Talk about the fun things she can do after she comes out. This will keep the child away from venturing towards doing something more dangerous in the confined area.
If you’re the one who’s locked in, try asking her to get your phone/keys to you or call for help.
Call for Help: This could vary depending on what the situation is. Calls to your spouse, neighbour, a family member or in the worst case the fire department, are all options. Think about who will get to you the fastest.
Thinking ahead when it comes to toddler troubles is the way to go. Because, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.