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Health and Safety, Birth to 2 Years - Parent Self-Care

Gaining confidence

Many parents wonder whether they are equipped to handle the responsibility of keeping their child safe. You will likely feel more confident if you are alert, take all the precautions you can, and know how to respond to emergencies.

  • Learn first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Classes usually are offered through your local hospital or fire department.
  • Read and learn about child growth and development. Knowing what to expect can help ease the fear of the unknown.
  • Join a support group. Parenting groups can help you learn new skills and help ease emotional issues of having a new child. Groups differ in their focus. Some target specific concerns, such as breast-feeding, while others offer parents a chance to get together with their children for playtime and visiting. Contact a local hospital or religious group, or ask your doctor for resources in your area.

Connection between parent well-being and child safety

Taking care of yourself is a vital part of keeping your child safe. Although accidents can occur at any time, most happen during times of excess stress, such as when:1

  • Parents and children are hungry and tired, especially right after work and before dinner.
  • Another baby is expected.
  • There is an illness or death in the family.
  • Relationship problems develop.
  • Major changes in your routine or environment occur. This can happen when your child's caregiver changes, when you move to a new house, or even before you go on a vacation.

Recognize the signs of stress and what situations cause it. Be extra careful during these times, and ask for help when you need it. Also, work on taking care of your personal relationships.

For more information, see the topic Stress Management.

Seeking help

All parents have times when they feel exhausted, frustrated, angry, sad, or overwhelmed. Recognize that this is a normal part of being human and being a parent. But if these feelings become too much for you to handle alone, keep your child safe by getting help.

For example, when your emotions are too much for you to handle alone, you may not have the energy or desire to watch your child as closely as you should. Some parents injure their children when their emotions cause them to shake, hit, or push a child. This can result in injury to the child such as shaken baby syndrome, which can cause lasting brain damage or even death.

Call911immediately if you feel you are about to injure yourself or your child.

Places to go for help include:

For more information on physical harm to children, see the topic:

For more information on handling difficult emotions, see the topic:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 08, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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