SAFETY – I initially decided that I would not do a blog about safety because it is drilled into us as caregivers of young children, and we know about safety, even in our sleep.
But wait a minute, I thought. Sometimes we take safety for granted. We become lax and let things slip and slide, and before you know it, there is an accident that probably could have been prevented. I know, your argument is that it was an accident and that’s what “accident” means. Unintentional. But let us go back and re-think the accident situation. If you had remembered to ___________ and ____________ had not been distracted before you finished ____________ then this most possibly could have been prevented.
Example: You know, it is like that stop sign that is on the corner that you kind of roll through with your foot near the brake, just in case. But as you come to the stop sign, you look away for a ½ of a split second and as always, your foot is near the brake as you move across but WHAM!!!!!!!!! Here came a truck that should have seen you were almost going to stop and why would they just keep going so that you are forced to have an accident. Yes. It could have been prevented. Truth be told!
Most accidents can be prevented with preplanning or awareness.
Thus, I decided that a reminder about safety is necessary. I am going to focus on those slip and slide situations in child care centers.
SLIP AND SLIDE SITUATION NUMBER 1
Most childcare centers have a place for staff to store their personal belongings. However, you put your purse in the locker or other room, and later on, in the day, you realize that you need to get something. You take a quick break and get your purse from the storage place or locker or room and bring it back into the classroom – just for a minute.
Then, you put it down on the table because you need to get Matthew out of the bathroom; then you get busy doing something else after that, like changing Makala’s diaper; and another distraction comes along with Matilda crying because a toy was taken from her; and then you forget to put the purse back in its safe place (locker, other room, drawer, etc.) and away from the children; that is until Marcia says to you, “Ms. Mary, Michael is eating chocolate candy from your purse. Can I have some too?”
You scream, “That’s not candy. Michael! Who told you to bother my purse!!!!!!!!!!” Here was the accident that could have been prevented. Now since it wasn’t candy, let’s see what Michael really could have gotten into – hypothetically.
You slipped by the good sense and slide right into disaster!
SLIP AND SLIDE SITUATION NUMBER 2
You decide to put something less messy in the water/sand table. You justify this as a new experience for the children’s sensory identification. Your bright idea is beans. They are fairly cheap and easy to buy. In addition, they are so easy to clean up.
On Tuesday, Nicholas starts breathing heavily. On Wednesday, Nicholas cannot seem to hear what you say when you call him. On Thursday, Nicholas is whining, breathing heavily, and picking at both his nose and ears. You look closely in his right ear and see a cream-colored bean shape. You look in his left ear and see the same thing. On a hunch, you look up his nose and see a bean in each nostril.
Of course, you call the mother to have him taken to the doctor. You tried, very briefly, to extract the bean from his left ear, but found you only pushed it further and he cried out from the pain.
The next day, Nicholas’ mother reports that the doctor found 3 beans in his left ear, 2 beans in his right ear, and 2 beans in each nostril.
Too late, you immediately dump all those beans.
You slipped by the red flags waving at you and slide right into regret and guilt and shame.
SLIP AND SLIDE SITUATION NUMBER 3
You are under ratio and group size, but today seems like there are just too many babies everywhere. Of course, this is not true because you have them all harnessed into a seat of some kind or their crib.
You know that Carolla is hungry because she has been crying for a long time. Your co-teacher, Constance, is on her lunch break. You decide to stop straightening up and feed her.
You heat up Carolla’s bottle and prepare to sit down and hold her in your arms while she eats. Then Carl starts to cry, and Cathy wakes up. Colin starts to cry now also. You prop up Carolla’s bottle on a stuffed animal while you go to put Cathy in a swinging chair and take Colin off the bouncer while you pick up Carl.
While trying to quiet Carl, you hear Carolla starting to cough. Carl clings to you and Cathy starts to cry again. You hesitate for just a moment to figure out what to do next and Carolla stops coughing. But she looks a little blue and is making strangling noises.
You drop Carl and rush over to Carolla.
You slipped past the calm, good sense, constant supervision, known best practices into tragedy.
The moral of these stories is to be ever vigilant and don’t take safety for granted.