Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mommy + Me Safety




Yes, these are blisters on a tiny 1 year old hand, and yes, this is my son's hand.  It turns out, not all "Mommy & Me" classes are actually child-safe.  I think it's kind of a bummer to start one of my earliest posts on this blog about something so negative, but this just happened, and I feel like it's my duty to spread the message of a little simple child-safety sooner rather than later.

A few days ago I was feeling spunky and decided to take my son to a Mommy & Me yoga class at Yoga West, here in L.A.  It's a beautiful yoga space that specializes in kundalini style yoga, and it's where I went for all my prenatal yoga classes, and I loved it!  The class takes place in a big, clean, open room with ambient lighting.  River had a blast running around to all corners of the room, investigating other kids' mats, sharing their snacks and toys.  I, too, was enjoying the much needed "me" time and stretches for my body.  When River would wander away, I always kept an eye on him.  I noticed that most of the electrical outlets along the wall had socket covers on them, but I was surprised that a few didn't.  So I stopped stretching whenever he wandered too far and made sure he steered clear of the open sockets (it's amazing how quickly they find open sockets and start touching them).  This should have been my first cue to give the room a quick scan for any other potential dangers.  I just didn't think there would be any.  It's a yoga studio, what other dangers could there be?  If I had been more on the lookout, I might have noticed a lamp on the floor, illuminating a large photo on the wall.  At the very end of class, as I was saying goodbye to the teacher, I looked at River just as he was putting his hand in the lamp and starting screaming.  The lamp was completely open to an exposed and extremely hot light bulb inside.  Needless to say, I whisked him up and immediately to the bathroom to run cold water over his hand, where blisters formed almost instantly (the blisters in the photo actually grew about 3 times in size by the next day, and there are 8 in total).  My son started walking at 10 months (3 months ago), so he's had his fair share of daily bumps and big falls.  He usually cries but recovers surprisingly fast.  But the pain from this burn was so intense, he was writhing and shaking and just could not be consoled.  I was so angry at myself for not being more vigilant, and angry at the place for having such a scalding hot light on the floor during a class where babies are supposed to be free to explore the space while their moms relax and do yoga.  Another shocker was the fact that they did not have a first aid kit of any kind, and when I asked for some ice or something cold, they lackadaisically said they didn't have an ice machine and sent me down the street to a restaurant (that was closed).  I had to run to the nearest gas station on foot with my screaming baby in my arms to get something cold for him to hold until I figured out what to do next.

Moral of the story is:  

Not all Mommy & Me classes are child-safe
If you're not positive the space you're about to let your child run freely in is 100% safe, you don't have to go nuts or immediately pack up and leave, but a quick scan of the room for potential hazards is not a bad idea.  In fact -- it's a good one!

Lesson learned the hard way is:

Have a first aid kit in my car at all times!
Our pediatrician said one of the 1st things you want to address when it comes to 2nd degree burns is pain control.  I DO have a first aid kit in my car that I bought from Rite Aid, but upon opening it I realized all it contained were a bunch of bandaids and sterile wipes.  I will now be buying a small container and filling it with:

-  a bunch of bandaids and sterile wipes
- children's tylenol or motrin
- burn relief cream
- bumps & bruises gel such as Arnicare gel
- neosporin
- sterile gauze and tape
- small safety scissors (for cutting gauze & tape)


Wanna hear another crazy Mommy & Me experience?  I was trying out a pretty highly touted Mommy & Me class here in the L.A. area, that had a crazy waiting list.  Women literally sign up for this class the minute they find out they're pregnant to reserve their spot.  Somehow there was an opening and I got a chance to try it out.  We're all sitting on the floor with our babies in front of us, playing with toys.  One mom was coming out of the bathroom with her eyes glued on her cell phone and actually tripped over a baby!!!!  

I really try my best to not be a "helicopter parent" who hawks over their kid 24/7.  I like the idea of being able to leave him in a safe space where he can move around and experiment and explore things on his own.  If anyone's interested, the one class where I know he is in a safe space is in our RIE class.  I will have to do a whole other post on RIE and our experience with it.  But what I love about it is that the space is absolutely child-safe, cell phones and shoes are left at the door, parents sit on the outskirts of the room, and the children are left to roam the room as they please, engaging with each other and the safe objects in the room, and we simply silently observe.  It's amazing how relaxing it is, as well as entertaining!  

I hope you never have to experience a day like I had when River's hand was burned.  I hope you find a Mommy & Me group that is a safe place for your baby.  I hope if anything should happen that you are more prepared than I was.  If you've had a similar experience, or have other suggestions for my first aid kit -- please share!

☆ Mama P

2 comments :

  1. I'm sorry for what happened to your baby, watching our babies in pain is the worst feeling in the world.
    Some things that I always carry around are repelent and bug bite balm, and now it's easy to find it organic or natural.
    One thing that is not necessarily for a first aid kit is baby shampoo and it's perfect to have in your car; one time I was driving a 2 hour trip, my baby had a diaper emergency just in the middle of our trip and I had to pulled over, with just some water I cleaned my baby's butt and back. Luckily it was in the middle of summer so it was refreshing for him!.

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  2. I'm so sorry to hear! Poor little River and I can tell you were distressed, too, since you couldn't soothe him right away! I hope he has a speedy recovery! I know you were trying your best with your due diligence before it happened and after the fact. I can't stand when people who are supposed to create a safe space for little ones to explore are just so nonchalant and apathetic about child safety. It really struck a chord with me since I used to care for infants and toddlers--their safety was top priority! Absolutely no dangerous things can be left within reach of kids. If we had to have a particular item in the classroom that was not child-safe (ie: a gallon of bleach to mix in with water to sanitize toys), it would be out of reach from the kids and also behind a gate that could not be easily opened. I'm not experienced in the world of mommy and me classes, but is there some type of accreditation they can receive? It can really give you a peace of mind and I'm also asking since it's a good heads up for when you're looking for an actual classroom for your son later on. Any decent early childhood education classroom should be accredited by NAEYC. It basically means that the classrooms are up to code, curriculum was appropriate, staff are trained in first aid, and children can wander anywhere and it should be okay. I've had an experience with an ECE classroom in Burbank that was NAEYC accredited, but they played the teaching philosophy really fast and loose. I was really uncomfortable working there with teachers who didn't really care and the heads of the school didn't really care about how the kids were taught as long as basic safety was in effect. One of the teachers was giving me a hard time for being so thorough with sanitization between my primary group's diaper changes (WTF, right?!). It didn't meet the standards for what I thought was appropriate tone and teaching style for young kids. You can find out more about my former classroom in UC Davis here: http://ccfs.ucdavis.edu/EarlyChildhoodLaboratory.html , which I consider the gold standard for ECE. When the time comes, I'd suggest touring a prospective school at least two separate times in a week, or twice in one day, so you can really get a feel for the staff since there are busier times than others. You can tell quickly when the classroom is understaffed. I don't think this would be overkill, so don't worry about seeming like a helicopter parent! :D

    As for other additions for your car's first aid kit, I'd suggest some aloe vera (Trader Joe's sells a big bottle that you can divvy up into smaller ones) for immediate, but temporary, relief for minor burns and a duplicate of your son's favorite toy. I know it's hard to keep track of even a favorite toy in the midst of everything at home, but it can probably console him at least a little bit if something were to happen on-the-go.

    I hope little River is healing nicely and bouncing back from everything. I hope you're feeling better, too! Don't stay upset with yourself--you can only learn from these things!

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