The Irony of Child Safety Month

September is Child Safety Month.  I remember horrible things that have happened to other children around Norton’s age.  Children not protected in an accident because of a correctly installed car seat.  An unsecured dresser falling on a toddler and killing him.  A little boy who was around Norton’s age wandering out of his home while his mother napped, only to be found briefly after his passing two days later.  A huge part of the reasoning behind Child Safety Month is to educate ourselves on these dangers in our homes and keep our children safe.

I’m afraid of those things happening.  It’s why we’ve taken steps with toddler safety in childproofing our home.  Norton is a little engineer who likes to investigate and figure out how things work; while he can figure out things that are far outside of his age range, he has no mind for what’s safe and what isn’t.  And since Eudora is just on the cusp of becoming mobile, that makes our safety efforts even more important.

We’ve done all of the right things.  We have childproof latches on our cabinets.  We’ve put latches on the toilet.  There are childproof knob covers on the inside of Norton’s bedroom door and on the exteriors of the bathroom door, Eudora’s bedroom door, and the husband’s office.  There’s also a childproof knob cover on the front door and a baby gate to the stairwell and the back door.  The oven is kept locked since Norton has been known to try to do chin ups off of the oven door handle.  We have a hotel style lock (instead of a chain lock) on the top of the exterior doors because Norton has mastered the deadbolt.

So much for that “child safety month” thing.

In spite of all of those efforts, Norton has had three incidents this month.  The first incident was from Norton climbing the stairs.  I was following him upstairs, watching and ready to catch in case he took a tumble.  Even with that, though, I failed to prevent an injury.  Norton tripped up the stairs and did a face plant on one of the steps.  He cried and had a pea size black lump almost immediately.  That lump grew, flattened out, and spread.  We went to the walk-in clinic, and that was when I found that he had ruptured a blood vessel near his eye.  It would continue to grow until the internal pressure stopped the bleeding.  He would end up with a black eye.  It looked far worse than it was, but I had no need to “worry.”

The second incident happened just after his black eye finally cleared up.  I went into Norton’s room to “liberate him.”  (Translation: get him changed and dressed for the day before opening his bedroom door so that he can head for the dining room table for his breakfast.)  We wrestled and I had to chase him down for his diaper change, but we finally got it done and together.  When he was changed, I opened the door to his bedroom and he flew out.  He ran down the hallway and for some reason turned two feet too soon.  He ran into the pantry door and smacked his head, hard.  He had a pretty big lump on his head.

After that, I started wondering if a crash helmet would be in order.

The third incident happened on Friday night, and it was easily one of the most terrifying incidents of my parenting “career.”  We have a toddler backpack leash.  Yes, it’s been useful, particularly when Norton was way too short to hold hands and completely and utterly unwilling to do so, anyway.  When there was only one, it was much more practical at times than getting out a stroller.  Somehow, that darned thing ended up in the house.  I kept “hiding” it from Norton, and he kept finding it.  When I put him to bed on Friday night, it was in his room.  Of course, I didn’t know that at the time.  I found out when I heard Norton screaming.  He had wrapped the leash part around his neck while the handle was attached to the door knob.  He couldn’t get it off.

My child nearly hanged himself with a stupid backpack leash.

When I got it off of him, I threw the Pooh backpack out of Norton’s room and told my husband to throw it away.  I never wanted to see that thing in my house again.

It was terrifying to see my son with that soft length of fabric tied around his neck.  It’s awful to know that he’s just terrible with trying to put things around his neck like that.  My shoes.  The vacuum cleaner cord.  Winston’s lead for his dog run.  We’re careful to keep things like that up, but I missed a stupid backpack leash.

We’ve been fortunate that Norton wasn’t truly injured.  Heck, we’ve been lucky that Norton hasn’t killed himself this month.  That all of these things are happening during Child Safety Month strikes me as particularly ironic, but it’s also made me more aware of the need to regularly inspect my children’s rooms to make sure that new hazards haven’t found their way in.

What are you doing to childproof your home?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Wow….I had never took a real hard look at the everyday items around me, especially the ones intended for kids in the first place. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I hope your little boy is doing great now and that your heart and mind have settled down!! I can’t believe what it must have been to see him with the leash on his neck. Thanks for sharing with us.
    We once found my youngest son stuck under the stairs’ child gate…

  3. Oh Mama, I have the same fears. I have three young children and one of them has autism. Our house is childproofed like you wouldn’t believe. It still seems like every week we are finding a new safety hazard. It’s a never ending battle to keep our babies safe!

  4. I am past this age with my kids but no grandchildren yet. I feel for all of you that have the young ones. It is a full time job keeping these little ones safe. Glad your son is fine and doing well.

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