Wednesday, November 08, 2006

On Being Parents

A couple of days ago, a toddler’s big toe was ripped off when it got caught on the side of an escalator. She was wearing rubber clogs (you know, the one that is damn ugly but damn comfortable). It was highlighted that these clogs are very pliable & hence would get caught & pulled into the gap between the side of the escalator & the step.

Hopefully, the clogs won’t be made the scapegoat of this kind of accidents. If you think about it reasonably, it would be quite difficult to edge your foot to the side of the escalator so that it would get caught. But knowing children, they have a propensity to stick things where they don’t belong. I have had to, on many occasions during my A & E posting, extract a variety of foreign objects from various orifices in the head of a number of children.

My point is this: an adult (usually the parent) is supposed to supervise the behavior of children, especially those under the age of 5. They are supposed to teach them that certain actions are dangerous, and that certain kinds of behavior are unacceptable in civilized society. They are supposed to teach them how to do certain things like crossing the road, going up & down stairs, going up & down escalators. Obviously, we don’t expect the kids to pick up on the safe way of doing these things immediately. You would expect the adult to hold the child’s hand, for example, while crossing the street (I still try to do that to my 12 year old, to his chagrin ☺). You would expect the adult to watch the child & admonish him if necessary, if the kid starts misbehaving on an escalator (like trying to stick his/her foot into the crevice between the step & the side…I don’t know if this actually happened in the above mentioned case, but it could have).

Parenthood is a full-time job. You need vigilance, care, and attention on top of TLC. It’s easy to love a child (especially your own☺!) but it is hard to keep them safe 24/7.

When my kids were little, I had child-proof locks on all my kitchen cabinets/drawers; child-proof covers on the knobs of the stove; a plastic shield attached to the front of my stove to prevent inquisitive fingers from reaching up & pulling a pot of boiling liquid on top of his head; child-proof gates preventing the kids from getting into the kitchen while Mommy was cooking (no maid while living in the US – I survived ☺); child-proof gates on the bottom AND top of the staircase, bumpers on the corners of my coffee table to prevent accidental bumps & scalp lacerations.

Whenever we ate out, I automatically would move breakable crockery or glasses full of liquid or hot dishes out of reach of grasping hands…I still do this if I happen to be dining in the company of small children!

Locally, many children are being looked after by domestic helpers. I think many parents become very lackadaisical when the time comes that they have to take care of their own child (eg. on the maid’s day off). They need to wake up, step up to the plate & take responsibility, not only for keeping their children safe, but also in teaching them how not to behave like hooligans.


angry doc said...

What I don't get is: why the big toe?

Shouldn't it be the most lateral digit that gets caught?

aliendoc said...

You would think so, wouldn't you?

As I said, kids like to stick things where things don't belong...