Falls and misshaps

Falls and misshaps

Being a mum is often described as the toughest job in the world but also the most rewarding. We have included below some tips on how to get some often much needed instant energy. Baby adores your attention and we have some handy games for you to play together. This age is also one of potential accidents as baby starts to move around. Read below what you can do to avoid your little one being injured.


SLEEP:

Cuddlies, blankies and loveys
It doesn't matter what you call these soft objects that become a baby's constant companion. They can be a soft toy, a blanket or piece of a blanket, even an item of clothing. These items provide baby with a sense of safety and security. Babies who adopt a cuddly usually do it in the second half of their first year. Cuddlies can last for years and are very precious. Family holidays have been ruined and nights have been spent in frantic searching when a cuddly is lost. Cuddlies develop a smell and a feeling that their owners know can not be replaced by another object.

If your baby adopts a cuddly then plan ahead. If it is at all possible to put one or two copies in a safe place then do so. If you can't find an exact match then find something that is as close as possible. Then if the unthinkable should happen and your little one's comforter disappears you can offer a replacement. It won't be the same but it may save the day.

Babies on average need 14 hours sleep in 24 hours, but every child is an individual. To find out how much sleep your baby needs use a sleep/settle chart which you will find in Sleep in Early Childhood fact sheet from the SA Children, Youth and Women's Health Service.


BEHAVIOUR:

Saying 'no'
This is a tough call. Your baby is growing and changing all the time and you may find that coping with your baby's needs, as well as your own, stretches you to the limits at times. Every parent finds juggling these needs and demands very difficult. It is not unusual to be so stretched that baby's behaviour has you shouting 'no' at him at some stage. Baby will be frightened by this, but it is not the end of the world. His behaviour will deteriorate if you ignore him because you are frightened of the effects of yelling at him. But that doesn't make the yelling okay - you need to find your own ways of coping with these frustrations, and with baby's behaviour.

Baby can understand that he is not to do something when you say 'no'  and over the next couple of months will also learn to cooperate. What he is not able to do just yet is to understand the consequences when he doesn't cooperate. He is a long way from understanding that you are at the end of your tether - or that it was okay to tip the box of blocks on the floor but not his dinner.

It is your role as a parent to keep baby safe in his environment and to anticipate when he might do something that will make you angry or upset - and it is up to you to remove him from the danger before it happens. You need to treat him gently and lovingly. By all means say 'no' firmly and definitely before you take him away from what it was he was about to do. Have a diversion on hand so that his frustration does not get the better of him when you do.

Caution:  No matter how angry or frustrated you are NEVER SHAKE A BABY. Shaking a baby can cause brain injury - even death.


HEALTH:

Falls and mishaps
As baby becomes mobile he will also become more prone to falling down and falling over - especially when he starts to pull himself up to standing. Little tumbles are a natural part of learning to stand and move about. The more serious kind of fall - off a change table, a bed or a high surface, down a flight of stairs or over the edge of something more dangerous - are the highest cause of injury to children under the age of five years. These more serious falls happen because children are also learning the skills they need to work out what is dangerous and what is not.

At least one safety gate is a valuable investment for every family. Safety gates can be put at the top and bottom of stairs or in doorways, such as the kitchen or the bathroom or at the back door. Moveable safety gates are ideal because you can take them where baby goes - even when you go visiting if need be. And they don't need to be expensive. You can usually buy them quite cheaply second hand.

Babies also fall out of highchairs and off change tables. This can happen in the split second that you turn away to get something or talk to someone, so it is important to use a harness when baby is on this type of equipment. A five point harness is recommended for a highchair. Babies can, and do, fall out of prams and strollers, so these too need a five point harness. Bouncers and baby chairs can also give baby a nasty tumble and these should never be put on a high surface for any reason when baby is on board.

Baby walkers are extremely dangerous and have been the cause of many serious accidents. Baby can move out of control in a walker and safety organisations, doctors and health authorities do not recommend using walkers at any time.

Being alert and aware of the dangers that your baby faces at home - as well as when you are away - will help you to prevent a nasty accident.

Find out more:
Go to the Kidsafe website and click on your state for the latest child safety information.


PLAYTIME:

Finger games
You can use your fingers to play simple games with your baby:

Where is Thumbkin?
"Where is thumbkin?"
Hold up your two hands in fists.
 "Where is thumbkin?"
 Keep your hand as a fist and open up the thumb.
"Here I am."
Keep your other hand as a fist and open up thumb.
"How are you today sir?"
One thumb nods to the other.
"Very well, I thank you."
The other thumb nods back.
"Run away."
Hide one hand behind your back.
"Run away."
Hide the other hand behind your back.

This Little Piggy
"This little piggy went to market."
Wiggle baby's thumb.
"This little piggy stayed home."
Wiggle baby's index finger.
"This little piggy had roast beef."
Wiggle baby's middle finger.
"This little piggy had none."
Wiggle baby's ring finger.
"And this little piggy cried, wee, wee, wee, all the way home."
Wiggle baby's little finger and tickle her palm.

This is the way we clap our hands
Sing this to the tune of "Here we go round the mulberry bush" and show baby how to clap her hands as you go along (if she doesn't already know!)
This is the way we clap our hands
Clap our hands, clap our hands
This is the way we clap our hands
When we want our dinner/ Early in the morning/ When it's time for breakfast.


MUM:

10 tips for instant energy
Being a mum is tiring. Here are 10 things you can do to re-energise yourself while baby is having a nap.

  1. Put your feet up above your heart. Either lie on the sofa with your head and your legs on the arms, or better still lie on the floor with your bottom against the skirting board and your legs up the wall. Stay there for at least five minutes and then come down slowly - counting seven breaths before getting up.
  2. Have a warm, relaxing bath with a favourite magazine.
  3. Ask your partner for a neck and shoulder massage and promise them one in return.
  4. Put on a funny DVD and have a good laugh with your feet up - laughter is a great relaxer.
  5. Cat nap - put an eye pillow or mask on, set the alarm and sleep for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Put your favourite music on and lie down while you listen.
  7. Put on some dancing music - and dance.
  8. Stroke or brush your dog or cat.
  9. Give yourself a pedicure.
  10. Take a cool drink out into the garden or onto the balcony and daydream.


Find out more:

The Parent Easy Guides from Parenting SA, a government organisation and the fact sheets from the Children, Youth and Women's Health Service are amongst the best and most up to date sources of information for Australian parents. Here you will find PDFs on all these topics and more.

Visit the Essential Baby Forums to meet other parents and share your experiences at each stage.


These guides are written for Essential Baby by child care author, Carol Fallows. Carol established Australian Parents magazine in the early 1980s as Australia's first parenting magazine and managed it for nearly 18 years. She continues to write about and for parents. Her most recent title is Having a Baby. The essential Australian guide to pregnancy and birth. (Transworld/Random House, 2005).

Sign up for the Baby's First Year Monthly Guide email - covering development, sleeping, baby care, immunisation reminders, feeding and more.


This information is not a substitute for professional advice. If you have any concerns about your child's health or wellbeing it is important that you seek help from your doctor or a health professional.

Unless otherwise indicated the pronoun he or she refers to either sex. We have chosen to alternate.