Safety is an important issue for children of all ages, but some special safety concerns arise when preparing an environment for infants and toddlers.
- Keep rugs and floors cleaned regularly. Little crawlers are sure to discover any small, potentially harmful objects.
- Wash toys, rattles, and vinyl cloth books daily. To clean, mix one-quarter cup of household liquid chlorine bleach with one gallon of fresh tap water. Thoroughly rinse and air dry. Be sure to change the water daily.
- Be sure that all toys pass the choke test. You can use a commercial choking tube to determine if a toy size is appropriate for chiidren under 2 years.
- Remove large toys from cribs and playpens. Once children are able to climb, extra caution must be taken. Keep cribs and playpens away from windows and be sure windows have screens or safety locks.
- Remember that even the youngest infants can wriggle right off a changing table. Never leave infants unstrapped or unattended during diapering routines.
Creating Cozy Spaces
As you welcome infants and toddlers in your program, help them to feel safe and secure.
- Encourage parents to bring special lovies from home.
- Provide small, cozy spaces where children can have some quiet time alone (yet still be seen by an adult).
- Place carpeting on several sections of the floor so that crawling babies can experience the softness and warmth that it offers.
- Display a variety of artwork, including easy, peaceful scenes and objects familiar to children and infants in cribs or playpens.
- Use attractive curtains or shades that will satisfactorily block light during nap and rest times.
- Paint walls green, blue, and white. These colors are cool and nonstimulating.
- Be sure your program has comfy couches, chairs and rocking chairs.
- Provide soft cuddle toys, including soft dolls, textured balls, stuffed animals, and soft puppets. Don't forget the sand and water tables for toddlers.
- Sand and water offer soothing, repetitive experiences for very young children.
This article originally appeared in the August, 2000 issue of Early Childhood Today.