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Your toddler now
If you haven't witnessed a tantrum firsthand yet, you may very soon. Tantrums are an expression of frustration over something a toddler can't do, either physically or because it's not allowed. Mix in fatigue or hunger, and kaboom!
As much as you may wish you could soothe the savage beastie right away, there's no magic formula. A tantrum usually burns itself out faster if you act neutral or even ignore it instead of responding with a sympathetic cluck or rational explanation.
Once your child calms down, offer her a lap and a chance to regroup. Try distraction (rather than giving in to something you refused). Don't punish a tantrum. At this age, your child can't help herself.
My husband really involves our son in every little step in the process of getting dressed. He talks to him about putting his head through the neck, and then says, 'Find the armholes. Oh, where are your hands? Pop! There they are! Find the holes for your feet. Now zip the zipper!' and so on. It's like a game now, and our son feels like he's dressing himself.
Warnings about water
Water poses a bigger danger to your toddler than almost anything else. Drowning is the second most common cause of injury-related death among children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2005, for example, of children 1 to 4 years old who died from an injury, almost 30 percent drowned. Read our complete article on water safety – it could save your child's life.
Most of these tragedies happen in home swimming pools. Pools are such fun – and such hazards. If you have a pool, live close to one that your child could wander into, or spend any time around pools, you can't be too careful.
Pool owners can read up here on childproofing their pool. When you're hanging out poolside with your young child, don't take your eyes off her even for a few moments. (Toddlers who fall in tend to sink within seconds rather than flailing and yelling as an adult would.)
If you're in the water together, keep her within arm's reach. And if you're in a house with a pool, make sure kids have no access to it. Many children have drowned because someone left the door to a yard with an unfenced pool unlocked.
Pools aren't the only danger, however. Any sort of standing water, including inflatable wading pools and hot tubs, poses a drowning risk for very young children. They have no sense of danger, and if they fall in unnoticed they simply can't get out.
Even a bucket with a couple of inches of water in it can be deadly, as improbable as that sounds. Toddlers are top-heavy (their heads are relatively big for their bodies) and if they tumble headfirst into a bucket they can't right themselves.
Water wings, noodles, and similar toys can be fun but they're not designed to be safety devices. They're even banned at some pools because they give parents and kids false confidence. Kids using these toys need constant supervision by a responsible adult.
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