Parents sacrifice a lot for their children—whether it’s their time, money, or bodies.
Parents aim to keep their children from danger, but what about keeping parents safe too? A parent’s health is just as important as the health of their child. They need to be in top condition in order to take care of and give their children the attention they need.
With this thought in mind, on International Parent’s Day, we should focus on ensuring the safety and healthiness of parents worldwide. Here are three common injuries for parents along with methods for prevention!
- 1 Ways Your Perfect Angel Can Actually Do You Some Harm
- 2 Prevention
- 3 Happy Parents Day!
Ways Your Perfect Angel Can Actually Do You Some Harm
Corneal abrasions occur due to a scratch to the cornea, which is the outermost layer of the eye. While this injury is usually easy to treat, it can cause pain, light sensitivity, and redness. Corneal abrasions are common in all age groups, but specifically in workers, as demonstrated by a study conducted in February, 2019.
Corneal abrasions can be classified under various categories such as:
- Dry eye syndrome
- Acute angle closure glaucoma
- Infective keratitis (bacterial, fungal, herpetic)
- Corneal ulcer
- Recurrent erosion syndrome
It may be hard to believe that a child younger than 18 months could do such damage, but this is a very common injury parents face.
Dr. Allison Brindle, a pediatrician at The Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital stated that , ”Even toddlers, who have great control but are not physically aware of their bodies — it’s very easy for them to accidentally bonk their head into you.”
In addition to bonking their head into you, it is also very easy for them to poke you in the eye with their surprising long fingernails. Dr. Ramona Sunderwirth explains this phenomenom by simply stating, “kids can be very curious about glasses.”
But of course curiosity is very common in children. They want to see how things work and they want to poke, touch, hit, and press everything as their method to understand the world. Only it becomes more difficult when parents are getting injured.
Although Rahil D. Briggs, an assistant professor of pediatrics at The Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, sees these run-ins as signs of growth rather than as a father/son boxing match. Briggs notes that an important component of child development is “rupture and repair.” According to Briggs, this plays out so “the child gets an understanding that even though things aren’t always perfect and there may be ruptures, we as a parent-child system can survive that,” and then “there’s repair: ‘Oh look, we are more resilient than we thought.’”
ACL knee injuries
Parents might not spend a lot of time thinking about their knees—until injury strikes, particularly in the ligaments that stabilize the knee. Without them functioning fully, you can find yourself making friends quickly with gravity.
With life expectancy rising, so are the ages up to which adults continue performing physical activity. The current common age of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears has now reached 40 years old and up.
ACL tears can be partial or complete and occur due to the over-extension of the ACL located in the knee. While any gender could suffer this injury, studies have proven that it is more common to occur in females.
Spending time with your children is a job parents love, but sometimes it is hard to keep up with the never-ending energy level of a child. Running around in the backyard or at the park can be a perfect time for an injury to arise.
A common cause for ACL tears is due to consistent movement in one direction with a sudden change in direction. With the constant element of surprise with children, that abrupt turn could happen at any time. But it is important to not push yourself too hard. An ACL tear can result in a need for surgery and recovery gets more and more difficult with age.
Back pain (specifically in the lower back) can be acute, subacute, or chronic, but is painful no matter which category they fall under.
Studies have shown that at least 80% of adults have experienced back pain at one point in their life, which makes it very common. Both back strains and back sprains are common injuries faced by adults. Strains are caused by tears in the tendons or muscles, and sprains are generally due to overstretching or tearing ligaments. These are often caused by physical activity such as lifting or twisting improperly, or by lifting something too heavy—say your ever-growing child.
There are specific characteristics that can make one more at risk for back injury. Some of which include:
- Fitness level
- Occupation that requires heavy lifting
It is important that parents are aware of these potential injuries since their “occupation” requires heavy lifting. Women who have just given birth need to be especially careful. Pregnancy alone takes a toll on a woman’s body and can cause back pain so once they have the child, it is important to avoid further back injury.
It is also advised that when lifting a child, turn the chest and hips facing directly towards them and avoid twisting. Also, kneeling on one knee before lifting the child can prevent straining from bending over.
Just because these injuries are common for parents does not mean they have to happen to you. Now that we have mentioned these three injuries, let’s look at some ways to prevent them so you can remain healthy and happy for your child.
Perception — No sneak-attacks here!
Parents are superheroes and all superheroes need a superpower! Perception is the essential superpower utilized by parents in order to prevent harm to their children, but this power can also be used to save themselves. Being able to read your child and remaining very aware of their actions can help you dodge when they are going to spring at you.
Dr. Jennifer Shu, an author of “Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality,” would agree with this method of prevention. She believes the power of perception is what can differentiate and good parent from a great one. Her direct words were, “you can say, ‘Don’t poke Mommy in the eye,’ but if they don’t get it, you just know you are going to have to be a step ahead of them.”
By understanding your child and anticipating their moves, prevention can be simple.
Create a safe environment — De-Arm the children!
For a child, anything can be a weapon. Dr. Shu advises parents to frequently trim their child’s fingernails to prevent those aforementioned corneal abrasions as well as to scan the house for anything that could not only harm the child, but also something that potentially harm them.
Dr. Shu expresses it well when she says “What you might not have thought dangerous can be dangerous in the hands of a toddler — something as innocuous as one of those stirrers in a coffee cup.”
Talk to your child — Every moment is a teaching moment
It may not work the first time, but children need to know that poking mommy/daddy in the eye is wrong. Do not excuse their behavior just because they are young and innocent. It is important to teach them what’s right and what’s wrong so they can eventually learn.
Taking that into account, do not get frustrated if they don’t understand or if they still do it again. According to Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, medical director of the Tom Sargent Children’s Safety Center at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, “somewhere between 18 months and 2, most kids will start to grasp the concept of consequences for their actions.”
Make time for yourself — You matter too!
Obviously a parent’s life revolves around their children, but taking some time to sit down and rest will allow you to prevent injuries.
It is important to sleep as much as possible so you can be aware of your surroundings to not only prevent injury, but also to be a good parent! Being well rested means you can run around with your children and keep a look-out for potential hazards to their health along with your health. Debra S. Holtzman, author of “The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety and Healthy Living,” agrees that “a well-rested parent will be more alert and more physically able to dodge the kick.”
Happy Parents Day!
Parents, you all deserve a pat on the back for your selflessness and unconditional love, but don’t forget to take care of yourselves. Use this guide to prevent injuries and to be the best parent you can be because a healthy well-rested parent is the best kind of parent.