There are so many things to be afraid of as a parent. When even the soft, stylish crib bumper is a potential death threat, it's easy to let your imagination run wild and decide you never want to let your child out of your sight, especially if you are an anxious person to begin with. But in the spirit of self growth, and because 'tis the season for New Year Resolutions, here's 10 irrational parenting fears you should look in the eye during 2015.
The thought of standing by helplessly while a child chokes to death terrifies me. But since you don't want to stick your baby's first slice of birthday cake in a blender or feed him pre-chewed food like a bird or Alicia Silverstone, you've got to get over this one. Limit distractions during mealtimes and take a child CPR class so you're prepared in case the unthinkable happens.
2. Getting crushed to death.
When my toddlers transitioned out of their cribs and into beds I lost so much sleep worried that they were going to pull their dresser onto themselves. Securing large furniture to the walls with straps is a great way to help combat this fear. So is moving the dresser into the closet.
We've all heard the saying that a baby can drown in a teaspoon of water. Sounds terrifying, but still, babies get smelly and need to be bathed. Make sure your toilets are childproofed, invest in an infant tub or grippy mat for the shower stall floor and if you have or live near a pool, be sure it is fully gated and locked. I will also be holding off on screening The Little Mermaid until after my kids have swimming lessons, just in case they get any grand ideas about wanting to talk to fish before they learn to hold their breathe.
I would have gladly kept my kids in wearable blankets until they were old enough to drive, but for reasons unbeknownst to me, they don't make them that large. Remind yourself that if they are strong enough to roll over in their sleep, they are able to breathe, and then try to wean off the habit of checking on them in the middle of the night, so you don't end up like that creepy mom with the ladder in I'll Love You Forever.
Despite movies like Powder, which give the impression that being electrocuted can give you awesome superhuman powers, the thought of a kid sticking something metal into an electrical socket gives me the shakes. Snug outlet covers can help quiet the worries in your mind, and if you are super neurotic (raises hand) you can switch to plastic utensils until your child fully understands the word "No". Less clean up, perfectly normal-but-breathing children- it's a win-win.
You can move your laundry detergent to high shelves, transition to all natural cleaning products and hide the moth balls all you want, but kids still manage to cram stuff in their mouths that doesn't belong there. If the number for poison control isn't in your phone, take 30 seconds between checking your email and Facebook to plug it in so you can rest easier in the new year.
If you are on the fence about vaccinating your child, it's time to get off the message boards and talk to your pediatrician in order to learn the benefits behind vaccinations. Speaking as someone who had a rare reaction to a vaccination, I still believe in they do more good than harm.
As it turns out, despite what the Back To The Future Movies told us 2015 would be like, micro chipping your child, like you do a dog, is not a thing. If you really worry about your child being abducted but you don't want to lock them away like Rapunzel, do what I do and invest in a child backpack with a leash. Yes, we look ridiculous, but if it calms my fears and gets us out of the house, don't hate.
9. Allergic Reaction.
The first time your baby tried strawberries you watched her like a hawk. Same for eggs, seafood and peanut butter. If your child handles these foods well, it's time to let them free into the world of yummy processed snacks. If your child does have a dangerous food allergy, open communication with caretakers and age appropriate education for your child is your best defense against letting this fear consume you.
10. Serious Illness.
No matter how many times you wash your child's hands or how many organic vegetables you feed them, you can't protect them against genetic diseases. The best you can do is take your child to the doctor when something seems wrong and hope for the best. Somehow I think getting over this particular fear may be on my 2016 resolution list as well.