On Keeping Your Children Safe

One of my big fears happened this morning. Gavin fell down the stairs. They are wooden with no carpet to help absorb a fall. There are fourteen steps and Gavin was on step seven. Directly in the middle.

I cringe whenever he walks up, or down, with socks on. The house, and stairs, are new. The oak stairs are stained dark brown, and are slippery. I think about him falling down the stairs in the middle of the night. Among other fears. Megan and I talk often about how best to keep him safe. He’s not yet four and, in our opinion, should not be walking up and down these stairs alone. He was not alone. I was in front of him.

It was early morning. We had just finished brushing our teeth. Gavin held his large T-Rex in his right hand as I stood in front of him and took my first step down. I watched over my should as he grabbed for the railing, held it and started down behind me.

I usually pace him, step for step, until we reach the bottom. Half way down, Gavin stopped and complained about his sock on his right foot. Stating it had something in it. I was now at the bottom looking up at him and gauging a possible fall. I do this with everything when it comes to his safety. I have been called a helicopter parent behind my back because most people are cowards and are afraid to say what they mean while in person. That is not me. I say exactly what I mean and I write exactly that way too. I will happily continue to be a safety aware parent until Gavin no longer needs me to be.

I asked Gavin to sit, trying to trust him more, and to take his sock off. Gavin did this. He then tossed his sock toward me. I had told him that I would fix the sock once he was downstairs. I asked him to stand and hold onto the railing and to be careful because he still had one sock on and that it was slippery on the wooden stairs. He stood, reached for the railing, and slipped. I immediately started up the stairs calculating when I could intercept his fall. Both of my hands were full with sea creatures.

He lost any grip he may have had on the railing and did a split with the slippery sock leading the way. He bounced when he landed, on his side, and the compression expelled his body into the air. I rushed and caught Gavin, with both arms just as his head was about to hit a wooden step. One under his neck and the other under his knees. He looked at me with a stunned expression and started to cry. I nearly did too. I held him like a baby and walked to the couch while asking him if he was OK. He stopped crying somewhat quickly and said that he was. I asked him if it scared him that he fell down the stairs? He nodded yes, but later told me he wasn’t scared.

I was. I still am. I shook for an hour. I had a hard time dropping him off at his school/daycare. I didn’t want to let him out of my sight.

It can happen so quickly. A life changing event. So damn quickly.

I hope you are all as well as possible today.

Matt

25 thoughts on “On Keeping Your Children Safe

  1. I am so glad he is okay and that you are too. Unfortunately, and I speak from experience (and believe you already know this,) it won’t be the last time.

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    • It certainly won’t. He’s very athletic for his age and I think it’s easy for some people to assume he can do everything but the fact is he’s not even four. All we can do is the best that we can

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness, yes the stairs have always been a fear of mine. Two of my kids have gone down them as well, but we have carpet on them. And I am the same – always thinking of the worst possible “how is my child going to get hurt” scenario and try to prevent them. So glad to hear Gavin is okay. I would be shaken up as well.

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  3. πŸ˜ŠπŸ™ƒπŸ˜ŠπŸ™ˆ kids are tough! Hope he’s not too shaken upβ€”he will no doubt remember this. Hope YOU are ok!!

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  4. Not exactly the post I needed before I send my oldest off to college. Sigh. Now there is no more catching them before they get hurt. Hugs to you both!!

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  5. Same thing happened to Big Sissy. A couple of months ago we went to my oldest brother’s house for a family get-together. It’s rare when all 6 of us are together just spending time. Well anyway, Big Sissy, 2 y.o., went upstairs with my 10 y.o. nephew and I told him not to let her go downstairs by herself. He must not have heard me because the next thing I know, I see her at the edge of the stairs, taking a huge step without looking and taking a tumble down the stairs. I tell you, my heart jumped out of my chest. Thank God that their stairs had carpet otherwise I would’ve jumped down my nephew’s throat out of fear. I blamed myself because I wanted my daughter to have a little freedom without being next to me all day. She cried for a little while and I knew she was scared. After a couple of minutes, she gave me a high-five and went back and played only this time, I went up and down the stairs with her. I’m glad your little guy is doing okay. Parenthood is quite an adventure.

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