How cautious are you?

Tara - posted on 11/20/2010 ( 28 moms have responded )

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Along the same lines as the bath tub thread I would like to know how cautious everyone is with their kids and safety issues.

I know people who don't let their kids walk down the stairs alone until age 3 which I think is nuts.
I know some who won't let their kids ride their bike around the block at age 10.
I know some who don't let their 2 year old shower fearing they will fall down.
And the list goes on..... in some cases to extreme levels of over protection.
Any examples?
Anything you'd like to share?

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Krista - posted on 11/20/2010

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Honestly, it depends on the kid, his abilities and his maturity level. I don't like to set hard-and-fast age limits on certain things, because every kid is different. I try to not be too much of a helicopter parent with my kid -- I let him take small falls, and don't make a big deal out of it when he does take a tumble. But, when he tries to stand on my desk chair, which is on tile, I make sure he sits down -- I'm not willing to let him experience the "natural consequences" for that one, as it could mean broken bones or teeth.

With everything else, I'll have to see how it goes, I guess. But I'm not all that high-strung...I don't think.

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[deleted account]

I don't think I'm an overly cautious mommy, although obviously there are things I don't let my son do, he is only 13 months old.



My son climbs the stairs with me/ an adult behind him - he is so quick up them now. If we leave the gate open and are not within sight of him he will make a big fuss and only go 3 steps up, but when he can see us he zooms up the stairs. He can come down 3 steps but is really hesitant to come down from the top, he's not quite ready for that yet.



My son will not be going around the block at 10, that puts him on a main road, tbh I am not comfortable with my child going to the shop on their own at 10, but I may feel differently when we get closer to that age. I know definately my son will not play on the street before the age of 8, there is just no need, we have a huge garden and I have no issue with him going to his friends houses to play.



He doesn't play in the garden alone yet but then he is still little and learning, next summer he will be allowed to run in and out as he wishes.



My son showers now, he showers more than he bathes because I do not like to bath, I shower, so he comes in with me, unless I want a peaceful shower to myself :-)



Ethan feeds himself, he climbs anything he possibly can, he chucks himself off my bed (which is like a mountain it is a really high bed), he runs around and plays with his friends at wacky warehouse (soft play area) and at the park, if he falls I ignore it and let him carry on unless he has a golf ball on his head (a purple one at that, like he did the other day oops) and then I soothe him. I seem like a really bad mom now

[deleted account]

"I always ask before including myself in his activity to show I respect his space and what he is doing and If i need to hover I do so in a manner that is not obvious or intrusive." ~ Loureen

I do the same thing and feel it is so very important. I caught myself grabbing a toy out of Roxanne's hand one time as I was simutaneously ASKING, "can mommy have that please?" What an oxymoron. I would have never done that to an adult.

Charlie - posted on 11/21/2010

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Aside from the obvious like roads , cliffs , knives REAL dangerous situations ect .
Im pretty free range , I like for my son to explore the world at his own pace and at his own leisure , I do not impose myself on his learning by hovering over him when I am not needed or asked , If he is trying something new like stairs which he has been doing since crawling i will guide him for the first few times but i do not interfere , then i step back and watch now he flies up and down stairs , he plays outside by himself all the time , we are fully fenced off and there is no way out for him and he is fully visable from the house , it takes about less than minute to get to him anywhere in the yard , Parks he can run wild and play on whatever he likes .

I always ask before including myself in his activity to show I respect his space and what he is doing and If i need to hover I do so in a manner that is not obvious or intrusive .

Erin - posted on 11/20/2010

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As if I needed any more proof that the 'What to Expect' series was a crock! haha. Good luck trying to confine a toddler to a play pen.

Becky - posted on 11/20/2010

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I'm fairly laid back, I think. We've always had stairs in our house, so both boys learned to go up and down them very young - they both started climbing about the same time they started crawling! My 14 month old doesn't walk yet - although I have caught him trying to walk up/down the stairs holding onto the railing a couple of times, which I do not like! But my 2 1/2 year old walks up and down the stairs without an issue. We do remind him to hold onto the railing, and he has fallen a couple of times, though not very far. I always feel terrible when he does, but he's been okay. I let our 2 year old play in the backyard by himself, with the door open so I can hear him, and watching him out the kitchen window. He is good about staying in the backyard unless his dad is out front. He's afraid of cars though (got that from me, I'm afraid :( ), so if he does go into the front yard, he won't venture off the lawn. Even when I'm getting them into the car, he waits up on the sidewalk, by his own choice, while I get his little brother in. I don't let him ride his bike around the block, but that's because he doesn't know how to ride his bike on his own yet! Plus, we don't have sidewalks all the way around our cul de sac, and I won't let him ride in the street, even though it's quiet, because he's small and someone in a big truck wouldn't necessarily see him.

I was actually going to post something similar, because I was reading What to Expect, the toddler years, and it said you should never leave a young toddler in a room unsupervised, unless they're confined in a playpen or something. I thought that was silly. I don't confine Zach every time I have to go to the bathroom or put laundry in! Our house is safe and childproofed and he's quite fine to play in the living room for a few minutes. Usually, he follows me wherever I go anyways!

I'm not totally neglectful though! I'm very cautious around water - don't leave my kids unsupervised in the tub or around a pool. They don't shower, but that's because they're afraid of the shower, not because I'm afraid they'll fall. I used to take Cole in the shower with me, but now he doesn't want to anymore. I'm very cautious in regards to other people. Like someone else mentioned, I won't leave my kids with anyone outside the family until they are old enough to tell me if anything bad happens. We've still actually never left them with a babysitter outside the family. That's partly been because we haven't needed to though.

Lacye - posted on 11/20/2010

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I have to say I'm a little cautious but I do let my daughter Lily have some reign. If we are outside, I let her run around and play. I keep an eye on her to make sure she stays safe and doesn't try to go too far up the stairs, I live in an apartment and the stairs are outside. But for the most part, since I've been letting her test her own boundaries herself, I haven't had hardly any trouble with her falling or anything. She has been climbing the stairs a little bit and knows how to get down by herself if she wants to, she's adventurous but cautious at the same time. lol. There are times when I do have to watch her because she wants to run towards the parking lot but that's the only problem that I've had and she's starting to do it less than what she was before. I don't want to be one of the smothering moms that doesn't want their child to do anything but I make sure that I can see her at all times and I make sure that if I have to I can make a mad dash if she needs me, which it's really funny to see considering I'm a fat person! LOL

Erin - posted on 11/20/2010

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I am appropriately cautious with things like traffic and pools. There are some things that are just categorically unsafe for small children. But things like stairs and parks? Doesn't bother me. She has been doing my neighbour's stairs (we don't have any) by herself for a few months (since about 18mths). And she has free reign at the park or playground, under my close supervision.

Johnny - posted on 11/20/2010

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I try to keep her away from steep cliffs & freeways, otherwise, I'm fairly laid back.

In all seriousness, I've always let her go up and down our upstairs set on her own, but I still insist on either following her up or holding her hand on the way down our basement steps. They are steep, long, and end in a concrete floor. I've slipped going down a few times, and I know they can be risky. We are installing hardwood over them and covering it with a carpet. Hopefully that will ease my mind a bit.

I always let her play in the back yard on her own, but I'm right inside. Our back yard just has a low fence and is right on a greenway that people walk through on their way to the park. So I don't like to have her out there when I can't see. If we had a high fence and lower foot traffic, I'd be less concerned.

I don't think I'm too uptight though. I let her conquer the playgrounds on her own. If she feels she can handle it, I'll give her the chance. Occasionally I suggest to her that something is simply too big. She's a very active, very monkey-like kid who is pretty brave. I do NOT want to squash that at all. I was the opposite, and I know that having all those guts will serve her well. I wish I had.

Kim - posted on 11/20/2010

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My kids were probably older than 3 when i allowed them to go up and down my stairs. They are windy and there are hard tiles on the bottom. The railings go from one side to another and the stairs go to tiny points. We had a relative and a family friend who both fell down the stairs and banged the back of their heads and died!! Some people have good reason to be cautious. I did let them go down regular stairs alone at other people's houses though. I hate when I see 2 yr olds on the very high open climbers at the playground that are suppose to be for 5 and up alone! Do they not understand what a trip or bump by another kid could mean, or if their 2 yr old that doesn't have common sense yet leans too far over? I worked with Toddlers for 6 yrs and I don't think I'm overly cautious, just practical and very much know that a Toddler doesn't think before acting. I don't think some parents have enough common sense.

[deleted account]

My husband is the over cautious one in our house. Our then 3 yr old had climbed up on the handle of our clothesline he freaked and told her to get down. I told him to not worry about it so much because other wise how will she learn it's dangerous? I remember at 4 hanging off the clothes line while my big brother would start spinning it around and jump on. I let them do a lot of dangerous stuff but i am there watching and supporting just in case something might happen.
That not letting the kid shower is stupid. when my kids can sit well thats when they often start showering with me.

Amie - posted on 11/20/2010

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I'm pretty laid back when it comes to our home and our neighborhood. Our children will not and have never left our neighborhood without one of us though.

Well ok except our oldest, she can go around the block when she walks our dog. I know Sasha will protect her and Sasha listens to her. Ride her bike around the block alone? Nope, not happening. She's 10 but we live in the city. I don't care what other people think, not happening.

They are free to run around our neighborhood. All the neighbors know them and us. Their gramma and grampa live across the street. They know to look before crossing and to not play in the road. Our 3 year old even knows this and I've let our out to play with our neighbors 5 year old. Both girls listen well and stay where they are supposed to. Because she's so young (our girl) she knows to come and ask before leaving our yard to go to the neighbors or gramma & grampa's if her siblings are not with her.

We've had no issues about this.

Our almost 20 month old has been walking up and down stairs since she was roughly 18ish months, I think. It's been awhile. She just would not turn around to crawl on the stairs so she learned to walk on them.

Mine don't shower. I'm not worried about them falling, I'm worried about our water bill.

In my comfort zone I lean more to free range parenting, outside my comfort zone I'm a hover parent. So long as they are in our neighborhood, I'm all good. =) If they want to leave our neighborhood, for whatever reason, we (my husband, myself or another trusted adult) must be there. It's just how it is and will be for the foreseeable future.

C. - posted on 11/20/2010

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Well.. The stairs thing.. I won't let my son walk down the stairs by himself and he's almost 2 1/2 years old. BUT, he has not grown up around many stairs, either, so when he's faced with going up the stairs, either my husband or myself is always with him. We let him hold onto the railing and climb up by himself, but we do not let him do it w/o one of us watching him.

Riding around the block at 10.. I don't know how I'd handle that b/c my son is still so young. But I imagine I would still be outside waiting for them to ride around the block and back just to make sure nothing happened.

My son doesn't 'shower'. We still give him baths. He's terrified of water and has fallen down, so I can see why parents would do that.

I guess I can be overly protective in some instances and not so much in others. It just depends on the situation for me. For instance, I don't mind that my son likes to climb all over the jungle gyms at parks by himself and I don't mind if he falls down, as long as it isn't injury-causing. He's 2 and will get hurt by playing b/c he's a rough-and-tumble kind of kid, always has been. So I've just come to terms with that, I guess.

Jenn - posted on 11/20/2010

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I let my almost 5 year old play outside by himself, but not my girls (they'll be 2 in 2 weeks) because our yard isn't fenced in, we live on a busy road with a lot of fast transport trucks going by, we have a pond, and very steep stairs that go up to the top deck. Maybe by next year I'll be able to trust them out there - we'll have to see how they are. I do find they tend to get into more things than their brother ever did because I think they egg each other on.

Rosie - posted on 11/20/2010

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once again i think it all comes down to the individual child. lucas i have tested over and over again to be left in our yard alone, and i just cannot trust him. the naughty little shit ALWAYS gets out of the yard, and goes immediately for the alley in the back. if he goes running from our driveway into the alley our neighbor could hit him (our garage blocks his view). i constantly test him to see if he will stay in the yard, we even used to have padlocks on the gates until we got tired of them, it's pretty annoying to have to bring keys with you to open everytime we want to go from the from yard to the back.
i want him to learn how to stay in the yard on his own accord without locks anyway. he just won't do it yet, so until that time, i stay out there with him. like i said before, i test him almost daily to see if he can handle it, but it just isn't his time yet. vinnie could handle it, and more at age 3. he was already going down the sidewalk on his bike when he was 3, hanging out with the neighbors. lucas just isnt ready. he can't even ride a bike yet. he hasn't figured out the pedals. he's just slower. :)

[deleted account]

I'm actually surprised by my relaxed parenting style, as is everyone else. I can be pretty high strung, in case you hadn't noticed! ;)

Sara -- you can have Roxanne anytime you wanna pay the shipping costs...

Kate CP - posted on 11/20/2010

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I'm pretty laid back with my kids, generally speaking. My pediatrician even commented when I became a first time mom that I was one of the most relaxed, confident new moms he's ever met. Kids are made out of rubber. When my daughter knocked out her tooth she was fine after 15 minutes-no crying, no screaming, no bleeding. She kept asking me why I was taking her to the hospital and I'm in the front seat trying not to freak out saying "Because Mommy wants to make sure that your teeth and your head is okay...you want to listen to the radio???" (anything to change the subject)

The only things that I will never let her do and I am very serious about is going outside at my mother's by herself as they have a pool. My sister thinks I'm being paranoid but my daughter isn't a very strong swimmer and I would rather NOT take the chances of her drowning before I could get to her. I won't let her cross the street by herself or go up or down stairs without a railing by herself. If there is a railing for her to hold on to I have no problem with it. I don't let her ride her tricycle around the block because she's just not that steady on it yet.

But I let her help me cook, she feeds the dogs, she helps me with laundry, she can shower and bathe by herself (for the most part)...she's very independent for a four year old. But I wanted an independent child who was confident enough in herself and her abilities to thrive.

[deleted account]

Eliza plays outside by herself too. And this was actually the little girl I used to look after, and I would let the girls outside by themselves for very short periods of time. When I saw the mom do that I said, "whoops" inside my head. I also let her have diluted juice when she was about 11 months old and didn't realize mom had never given her juice before. Another "whoops" moment. And purely an accident, I was making juice for both girls at the same time and it never occurred to me that an almost 1 year old had never had juice. I thought it was odd when she gulped down the entire sippy cup in less than a minute! Now that you know what an awful babysitter I am, none of you will want me to watch your kids if we knew each other in real life. :(

[deleted account]

Oh my, Sara! I let Roxanne run around, play in her sandbox, jump on her trampoline even, without being in the backyard with her. Like I said before, I've tested the waters and I'm comfortable with it. If I'm not outside, I'm in the kitchen right off the deck and well within earshot.

Now, if I was looking after or responsible for someone elses child, I wouldn't take the same risks. I think that's why I had such a hard time babysitting/daycare my friends 13 month old. I felt like I had to be around her constantly and it drove me nuts. I'm sure she would have been fine but because she was my responsibility, I couldn't/didn't want to take that risk. Thank goodness it only lasted 3 months...

[deleted account]

Not letting the 2 year old out of her sight for even a second in their own yard.

My daughter and I were out walking the neighborhood and saw some friends of ours outside. Mom was washing the car and her daughter (my daughter's age) was playing under the carport. We stopped to talk for a few minutes. The girls were excited to see each other and immediately started chatting in their own little toddler language and chasing each other.

They have a shed connected to the carport and backyard behind the shed that is closed in with a 10 foot wooden fence. The girls "plotted" to run behind the shed. I didn't think twice about it. But this mom ran and grabbed her daughter and said they would go inside and not play outside anymore if she ran behind the shed again.

I asked what was back there, thinking maybe there was yard equipment or something that could be dangerous to the girls. Nope, nothing. She just didn't like not being able to see her daughter when they were outside in THEIR OWN YARD.

Rosie - posted on 11/20/2010

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i just let my kids do what they are capable of doing. if they can walk down the stairs unattended, they will go unattended. if my child is showing he can be responsible with riding his bike he will be able to go around the block. my eldest one can, my 6 year old can't. he isn't even allowed to walk around the block. i think with his level of maturity he will be able to once spring rolls around next year. we'll see.
i won't let my 3 1/2 year old stand up in the shower, he'd fall over immediately. once he's capable, he will.
i leave and put the grocery cart back in the cart corall while my kids are in the car, i will leave them in the car while i go in and get a pop at the gas station. i balance risk assess the situation from there. where i live the likelyhood of someone taking a locked minivan with 3 kids in it is less likely to happen than me getting into a car accident so i'll take that risk.

i don't know of anybody who is over protective. maybe its where we live, or who i hang out with i don't know. people seem to know what their kids are capable of and follow that.

ME - posted on 11/20/2010

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I might have turned out to be a helicopter mom if my husband wasn't SO totally laid back. He doesn't let me be overprotective or overbearing...We both agreed, however, that we would keep Miles home with us or leave him ONLY with family until he was able to speak. A decision that I'm pleased we were able to make and keep...We are doing the same thing with our daughter right now...not exactly based on a free choice (my hubby has been out of work for WAY too long), but it's good for Mayah...so, I've tried to find the silver lining...

[deleted account]

I'm a worry wart by nature BUT BUT BUT, Roxanne has never given me any reason to worry so I've learned not to hover nearly as much. Some of you might think I'm not cautious enough, but, I know my kid. I typically am by her side when she's trying something new but once I'm confident she has a good graps of it, I'll keep my distance.

At 26 months she's constantly up and down the two flights of stairs at my parents. She plays in the tub for several minutes alone unattended etc.

I've never left her showering alone because I do feel that is dangerous. Our tub is slippery and I'm not able to put down one of those pads on the bottom. We want to replace it but it hasn't happened yet so until then she's absolutely not allowed to stand in the tub.

What are some other examples? Hmmmm?

Katherine - posted on 11/20/2010

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I try not to be a helicopter mom. My daughter (5) has her scooter and bike. She wears a helmut and I just let her go. I wouldn't let her go out by herself, we live in the suburbs. There are registered sex offenders and so forth.
My 20 mo I will NOT let walk down the stairs by herself, although she's done it. She hasn't fallen YET. She has gotten her number of bumps and bruises. She goes at break neck speed on the cement and has face planted. Well.....kids do that, I hugged her, felt horrible...but she's going to fall.
I am pretty protective, but not overly.

[deleted account]

I pretty much let my son do whatever he's comfortable with, within reason, of course. He's 3 and has had many falls, bumps and bruises but he's also learned how to get right back up, brush himself off and keep going. I remember when he was learning how to climb up onto the couch. My first reaction was to help him or to pick him up and put him on the couch. But then I realized that it's like watching a bird hatch from an egg. If you help the cute little baby bird by breaking off little pieces of the shell, the bird won't develop the muscles needed to fly. Same thing with a child, sorta.

About the stairs though? Jacob is 3 and I still make him hold my hand on stairs. We recently moved from Florida. There aren't many stairs down there as a majority of the houses are one story. So yeah, with stairs I'm still a little cautious lol The shower thing? I've been taking my son in the shower with me since he was able to sit on his own. When he was first learning to stand and walk, I'd make sure he kept seated because I didn't want him to slip and fall. But once he mastered walking I didn't restrict him to sitting.

I just feel like it's a good thing to have a child who is adventurous and wants to explore. We have to let them go and do things (again, within reason) when they are little so that when they are older they aren't afraid of the big bad world.

Jenn - posted on 11/20/2010

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I'm definitely not a worry wart when it comes to things like that. I do let my girls who are almost 2 walk down the stairs alone, but I will say that they have both taken a tumble down the stairs which gave me a heart attack and I felt like a horrible mother. :( They were perfectly fine though - probably more scared by my crying and hugging them LOL! I wouldn't let my son ride his bike around the block at age 10 - but that's because we live in the country so a block is over 3 miles long and part of it is a highway, plus there is a huge trucking company down the road and transport trucks drive by all the time going about 100 KM/H. We don't have a shower - just a bath - but I would love it if we had one and wouldn't have a problem with my kids having a shower.

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