5 Habits That Will Save Your Toddler’s Life

Sometimes little mistakes can turn into big accidents, especially when it comes to the safety of your toddler, who at a moment’s notice can go from 0 to 60 mph in 0.5 seconds flat! These 5 habits can actually save your toddler’s life.

Sometimes little mistakes can turn into big accidents, especially when it comes to the safety of your toddler, who at a moment’s notice can go from 0 to 60 mph in 0.5 seconds flat! These 5 habits can actually save your toddler’s life.

1. Stop, look and listen

This is a good habit to adopt before crossing the road but also before acting in general.

Being aware of your surroundings and learning to listen to people’s words and instructions is a good skill to have. Stop and think before you act, right? Look around, see if there are any dangers and listen to what’s going on around you. Listening to authority relates here as well. This could be a police officer, a teacher, crossing guard, doctor, mommy or grandmother. Learning the art of respect and giving a listening ear when it’s due will be invaluable for childhood, but also all the way into adulthood. I’m sure a few of us have come across an adult or two who could have learned a little more listening when they were younger!

Once they have listening to authority and dangers around them down, then they will be ready to learn critical thinking. Wahoo, opinions! 😉 But FIRST is obedience to those who love them, teach and protect them so they grow in wisdom and character.

2. Hold your hand

When you are dealing with an issue of safety hand-holding should be mandatory. 

Issues of safety could include but aren’t limited to: walking close to a road, touring a crowded park or museum or venturing down a narrow, steep stairway. During these moments, it doesn’t matter if your child wants to hold your hand. Please don’t leave this decision of safety in their tiny hands!

It’s our job and responsibility to act responsibly. (Yes, even if that makes them unhappy)

If your child refuses to hold your hand, then you’ll need to either put them in a stroller or hold them. The walking privilege is allowed for those little ones willing and able to assume your instruction (see #5).

In my many years of working with different families and children, a particular phrase I once heard a parent say has stayed with me, “She refuses to hold my hand when we are walking by the road! I ask her to hold my hand. I take her hand and she pulls away or falls on the ground. She doesn’t want to so what am I supposed to do?”

I’ll tell you what you do…You put that little girl right back in her stroller!

It’s okay for yes, even toddlers, to start making the connection that if they are not going to follow rules, they do not enjoy certain privileges. It is really that simple. Its that simple in the work force, its that simple in school, its that simple if you cut in line 😉 and its that simple at home. By all means though, keep giving them chances! This is how they learn and make those connections between their expectations and their actions. When they ask to get out of the stroller, take them out and tell them they may walk if they hold your hand. Try it. If they do, GREAT! If not, then back into the stroller they go. This isn’t a mean thing. It’s an assurance and trust thing.

They will learn to trust what you say when you starting doing what you say. 

3. Ask permission

Teaching your children to first consult you or a respected adult before they make certain decision is a very, very good idea. 

Take a moment and think about the consequences of a 2-year-old not asking before: going up or down stairs steep stairs, reaching there hand into that silverware drawer filled with sharp knives, giving their baby brother their Doritos chip or leaving with a new acquaintance at the park.

One of the many reasons you are in your child’s life is to provide wisdom, counsel and good judgement for when they can not. God has placed your child in your life on purpose, whether you are a nanny, teacher or mum. We all have a meaning and purpose to where we are and our unique abilities/skills we can impart! When your child is a toddler, they’ll need to ask permission for most things (until they learn the do’s and don’ts of your household). It’s just a good rule of thumb. But eventually this will become less and less. You’ll be able to trust your child to make responsible decisions based on what you have taught them.

4. Take manageable bites

That cracker you just gave her? Its gone! She shoved the whole thing into her little mouth. (Why wouldn’t she, it looks so good!)

It is better to teach your child how to take manageable bites, than to have an emergency room visit after nearly choking to death. I’ve been in this situation and its not pretty. When you see your child’s face turning purple because their airway is being blocked by a big bite they thought they could handle?? Awful. This is a nightmare of an experience. I don’t pray it on anyone.

Children need to be taught. They need to be taught how to treat people, how to dress themselves, how to read and yes, even how to eat. This is why especially during meal time, I keep an extra sharp eye out for teachable moments. I make sure to review our good eating habits and demonstrate what a manageable bite looks like. They usually then are given a chance to show me their ‘small or nice bite’ too. Believe it or not, this is actually FUN for them. To demonstrate how much they know and also they can do it just like you. Within a month or two of teaching this valuable lesson, you will notice how you worry less about your child choking. You’re more confident in the skills you’ve taught them, how cool! It is such a nice feeling!

While you are teaching manageable bits, maybe practice no running or playing while eating also. As they grow and mature, this rule will be amended, but while your child is young, it is a very good practice to keep.

5. Obey

Obeying instruction given from an authority figure is so important. 

This includes anyone who is in charge of your children like: a nanny, babysitter, parent, grandparent, etc. It also extends to general authority though, like first and foremost, God, then our president, our policemen, librarians, store owners, bank tellers, cross guards, life guards, teachers and more.

Obedience and respect is the very best way to practice self-control, build character and show the love of Christ.

Before we go teaching our children to be respectful and obedient, it’s paramount that they’re able to identify WHO is worth obeying and respecting. The first individuals they learn are worth respecting and obeying are Jesus, mommy and daddy (in that order 🙂 ). After Jesus, mommy and daddy, come the caregivers next in line whether that be relatives or a nanny/daycare worker. From there, you establish others in their lives that will receive obedience like teachers, doctors and policemen.

It’s extremely important also, to teach our children that if an authority is asking them to hurt themselves or hurt others (in any way) they are not to be obeyed, ever!

With these main principles under their belt, their obedience will be a breathe of fresh air for you. It’s so amazing when you ask something of your child and they DO IT, the FIRST time! What a blessing! They now know you are to be trusted. You say what you mean and you are looking out for their well being. They will be an excellent example of what Christ would have us be. This can’t be underestimated. Remember, we (as the parents and caregivers) are more knowledgeable about life and danger.

No matter what our 2 year old may think they know, we know best and are looking out for them. Obeying at first command/request could save them from awful consequences and scenarios!

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Better Safe Than Sorry

Accidents happen. But what do you do in the event of an emergency and how can you prevent disaster?

Yesterday, my littles and I were headed to the mall for a stroll since the weather was predicted to be quite cold and cloudy. Once we were inside, I let the older sister down to walk and run the vacant halls. She is very active and absolutely loves this free reign of the halls before the mall stores open. She was headed to a familiar phone case kiosk to take a look around. I greeted the kiosk attendant and exchanged a few pleasantries, all the while keeping an eye on my little one. She decided she had had enough of phone cases and wanted to move on. The problem was she didn’t look where she was going. When she turned around to head off down the left corridor, she bumped her noggin right on an eye level metal sign. Not a great feeling for her and not a great moment for me. I hate when she gets hurt. She hates when she gets hurt. Her little sister hates when she gets hurt (she cries when sissy cries-it’s the sweetest thing). So here she was bawling. I picked her up and immediately turned on nurse mode.

First I checked for blood-there was none. Next I looked to see where she made impact- it turned out it was on the bridge of her nose (awful). Once I identified where the injury was, as long as I knew it was not emergency status (blood, passing out etc), I gently felt around the area to see if there was extreme tenderness in any one area. She did not screaming when I pressed anywhere around the area so I knew she was fairly OK. She had stopped crying at this point but swelling had begun. We hustled to the nearest Starbucks and grabbed a cup full of ice, a few napkins and a white mocha latte. Applying the ice about every minute for 20 seconds or so the area did the trick and the swelling was down within 10 minutes.

Fast forward two hours and we were now at the park with our friends. The remaining cup of ice was still in the stroller. At this particular park, they have metal ducks lined in a row. It is a statue that gives recognition and sentiment to a duck pond that is in the park as well. The display shows 8 little ducklings following their Momma duck. They were solid metal and big enough for even a 3-year-old to climb onto comfortably. On this particular day, there were many other nannies and moms around watching their littles play in this area.

There was one little blonde, curly haired girl who must have been around 1 ½ years old. She was still a little wobbly on her feet but would walk faster at times and sometimes even run. Now the area surrounding the duck display was nice soft grass but the area right underneath was cobblestone. This little girl was headed to give one of the little ducks in the back of the line a hug when…I think you know where this is going…She tripped on a cobblestone block, fell forward and hit her forehead on the duck’s unforgiving body. This impact sent a resonating DONG through the air and everyone stopped. You could FEEL the impact. The girl didn’t move for what seemed like forever but I’m sure was no more than 5 seconds. The nanny or mom had seen what happened and was on her way over but she was sitting on the nearby bench, so it took a few seconds for her to scoop the little girl in her arms. Soon the girl began crying (thank goodness) and the adult began consoling her. She assured her she was OK and empathized with the pain the little girl must be feeling. When I thought to myself…

MY ICE! God is so good. Remembering that my little not even a couple hours earlier had had an unfortunate collide with a metal object as well, I reached for the left-over ice in our stroller. The woman took the ice with enthusiasm. My friend, having finished giving her little boy his sandwich had a plastic baggy. She offered it to the woman and we had completed an ‘ice pack’ for this little girl. Now up until this point, the girl had been facing the woman in her arms and I had not had the chance to see her forehead. What came next will be etched in my brain for a very long time…

I looked up to find this precious girl with a black and blue, goose egg size welt on her head. When I tell you that I got shivers from looking at it, I am not exaggerating. I was very concerned and waited to see what the woman would do once she took a good look at it. The woman with ice in hand began….texting. Yes, texting. To be fair though, I do not know and don’t claim to know whether the text was going out to a mother or father in hopes of getting their opinion on further action or the incident. However, I do know one thing, she could have applied the ice to this girls head!

This was the second worrying event. The first was noticing the girl did not move or get up once she made contact with the metal duck. Now the third worrying event was next. As the little girl sat in this woman’s lap, her welt growing, she was merely staring. She stared straight ahead. No more crying. She wasn’t looking around or fidgeting to get down. This worried me and I began to think this may be a concussion level head collision. I did say a little about the ice application and I’m sure my face told the tale of how awful this little girls head looked, but I didn’t say too much in fear of overstepping.

I know that this nanny or mother probably meant well. I overheard her say that the little girl did not like it. I’m sorry, if your little one is pretty seriously injured and you as the adult know what is best to remedy it, do it! Do not let the child squirming or resisting the treatment, null the treatment application all together. That is just ridiculous!

So, in recap…she did not apply ice, she did not call anyone, she did not seem too concerned and she let her little down to resume playing.

I am in no way aiming to bash this woman or paint her in a bad light. Perhaps she was not aware of the possible severity of the situation or maybe she knew something that I did not. I am however, using this pretty graphic story to highlight two things that I believe are so important when you are a mom, caregiver in anyway or nanny by trade.

On the Go First Aid Kits

Whenever you leave the house, it is a good idea to keep a simple first aid kit on hand. I have not always done this. Throughout the years of caring for children and seeing the seemingly impossible situations they get themselves into within 2.2 seconds, I have learned that it is so important to have this handy bag around. The kits should be small and filled with only the essentials: band aids, cleansing cloth, antibiotic ointment for cuts, gauze and tape, a breakable ice-pack and possibly Benadryl in case of severe allergic reactions. These items should hold you over, even in a slightly emergency situation, until you arrive at the doctors and your child begins receiving medical attention.

Better Safe than Sorry

It is always better to be safe than sorry. This is especially true when you are a nanny, teacher or caregiver that is watching someone else’s child, but also true for parents as well.  My oldest little earlier that fine day had hit her head off a sign. Sure, she didn’t bleed, she didn’t cry for more than 2 minutes, and the area was not severely tender to the touch but noticing the quick swelling and potential bruising, I still applied ice for quite awhile. I have learned and would like to tell you before you have to find out the hard way on your own…It is always better to be safe than sorry.  


I have gone ahead and attached a FREE FIRST AID KIT CHECKLIST for you to use as you wish. Personally, I place this check list above the hook in the entryway where the kit hangs nicely. I do a quick check of what I need, make a note of what we are running out of and grab it as we head out the door. I hope you find it useful as well!

Thank you for reading and sharing your time with me! 

If you found this post helpful or beneficial in any way, please SHARE with friends and fellow caregivers! I would also love to hear from you. Have you had this situation happen to you? Do you agree it is better to be safe than sorry? I want to hear from YOU!   

Talk soon,