Toddler Danger

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					TODDLER DANGER: EVEN UNDER
SUPERVISION - IT ONLY TAKES A
MOMENT!

As a father of three I recall only too well that the toddler phase of
each of my kid's lives was wrought with danger from the moment
they woke up in the morning to the moment they went to sleep at
night. Everything was new and inviting to them - like an
intriguing pot handle on a stove or the magic of shimmering
water. You only had to turn your back and they were into
something they shouldn't be! This thought-provoking article
reminds us that with toddlers, we really do need to have eyes in
the back of our heads!

Loving families do things together. When the kids were small
my wife and I once took them on a trip around rural New South
Wales as part of helping them understand that loving families
tend to do things together from an early age. This particular day
we stopped for a rest break in the central NSW town of
Gundagai where the legendary dog of yesterday's droving
culture still 'Sits On The Tuckerbox'. We'd just pulled into a little
park down by the river for a picnic when we spied a sign
explaining the history of the now dilapidated wooden bridge of
the Hume Highway that spanned the formidable Murrumbidgee
River. So Jan and I decided we'd wander down with the kids and
take a look.

The mile-long bridge with its old planks and railings was quite a
sight spanning the expanse of the mighty Murrumbidgee. And
we were relieved to see that the end of the bridge closest to us
was fenced off by a 3m high Cyclone steel-mesh barrier. And
just as well, for on the other side of the fence was a sheer 10m
drop to the swirling dark waters of the Murrumbidgee, which,
from way up where we were, looked forbidding indeed! So safely
behind this substantial steel mesh fence little 4-year old Linda
and 5-year old Felicity felt very secure as we surveyed the
'scariness' of it all... or so we thought.
Before I could stop him, little 2-year old Richard had found a
small hole big enough for him to squeeze through and was
suddenly standing on a crumbling ledge on the other side of the
fence where I couldn't get him! He was holding on to the mesh
and laughing, fully primed to play the next part of this exciting
game with his dad.

I spoke to him very softly. My heart stopped for I knew that
one wrong move would be the end of it. If I startled him or yelled
at him he would have turned and slipped, disappearing over the
edge into the murky waters below. I'd already made up my mind
to leap over the barrier and follow him down if that happened...
So I spoke to him very softly, mindful of the precarious state we
were in. His little feet dislodged pebbles and clods of dirt which
disappeared over the precipice. The only thing that prevented
him from falling was his firm grip on the mesh, pent up as he
was for the next step in this exciting game. Then out of sheer
desperation, Jan said something that changed the situation
completely.

"If you're very quiet Richard, Mummy's got a nice lollypop for you
in her bag!" This changed his focus. His attention now on what
his mum was doing, Jan began rummaging around in her
handbag for something to give him.

I moved with lightening speed. Before he could realise what had
happened my hand was through that opening and latched onto
his arm like a vice. Startled, he let go and his little legs slipped
over the edge... This time the sturdy fence came to my rescue
and gave me support and leverage for there was no way I was
going to relinquish my grip and let my little boy go. With him
kicking and screaming and my last ounce of strength, I pulled
him through that hole to safety.

Scratched, bruised and shaking all over, I bundled everyone into
the car and we got away from that place as fast as we could!

The interesting thing is that now the kids are much older,
Richard and the girls have no recollection of this incident at all -
but Jan and I certainly do! If there's a life-saving message here
it's this: Toddlers move fast and are into everything. Never let
them out of your sight or assume everything is completely safe
and secure. Remember they see things differently from you and
will probably find an 'opening' somewhere that you weren't
aware of.

				
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posted:5/31/2012
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Daniel Egbune Daniel Egbune Managing Director http://
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