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EST. May 2000 (AD)




The Overprotective Mother's Guide

By Svenska Chittebol

You only want what's best for your child. What's wrong with that? No matter what people say, remember: it's always OK to take a pro-active approach to your child's safety and well-being. In this series, we'll

Svenska Chittebol's primary occupation is mothering her two fine boys. After they go to bed at 6pm, however, and time becomes her own again, she writes and sells parenting articles for "egg money." Among her hobbies are such diversions as placing tennis ball hulls on the sharp corners in her home, sharing lukewarm cocoa with her loving husband Erik, and disinfecting her closets.

look at ways you can protect your child against the dangers of life. From the physical threats in the world to the emotional and spiritual ones, we'll examine ways you can keep your child safe from actually participating in the world around her.

The Emergency Room

Every neighborhood has them: those trashy people on the block who use the emergency room as their family doctor. Obviously, you don't want to be like them. For one thing, you want to insulate your children from the glares and gawking associated with such behavior. But there are some situations when you absolutely must take your child to the emergency room. Here's a guide to help you know when an emergency room trip is appropriate.

1. While coloring, Brandi gets a paper cut.

You may think this is nothing serious, but if so you're being a bad mother. Haven't you heard about all the new infections out there? The ones that resist treatment by antibiotics? The ones that eat away human flesh like termites on a gate post? Don't take any chances. Paper cuts not only are notoriously painful, but they provide a convenient gateway for staph infections to enter the body. Get professional treatment immediately.

2. Stuart swallows a goldfish.

I know, I know. You probably begged your husband not to set up that filthy aquarium to begin with, and now you're paying the price. Being a curious 2-year-old, Stuart scooped up a goldfish and before you could say, "Honey, you don't want to do that because it's icky and you're getting germs all over your hands," he's popped it in his mouth and swallowed. The only alternative now is taking him to the emergency room and having his stomach pumped. Just ignore the snickers and laughter from the medical staff. They've probably never heard of ichthius androcorpus, a rare but fatal bacteria that infects the skin of over .001% of all the goldfish sold commercially in the world. Better safe than sorry!

3. Bobby gets bruised.

There's just something about boys that makes them accident magnets. If you haven't already found this out, trust me, it will happen soon. One day, even though you've outfitted Bobby to go bicycling in his usual uniform of helmet, eye shield, mouth protector, gloves, precautionary finger splints, elbow pads, knee pads, shin guards, steel-toed sneakers and leather motorcycle pants, you'll notice a darkening patch of skin on his arm or leg or cheek after he comes back inside. This is called a "bruise." It means that somehow Bobby has managed to actually tear a blood vessel under his skin. I know. Yucky! Now that blood vessel is hemorrhaging. Stay calm. Your best course of action is to whisk Bobby off to the emergency room for immediate evaluation. Have him tested for hemophilia while you're there. You can never be too cautious. Thankfully, bleeding to death from bruising is relatively rare.

4. Sheila stubs her toe.

Ouch! We all know how painful this can be. But what if the toe is broken? How can you tell? Generally, if the area becomes red and painful, it's possible the bone was fractured. Time to go see a doctor! Only X-rays can say for sure if Sheila will be sporting a cast for the next 6 to 12 weeks. Be sure to praise Sheila often for her bravery in the face of such a disaster. Empathize with her pain experience, so that she understands it's perfectly natural for a little girl to cry over such misfortune. Reward her after the worst of the ordeal has passed. In these ways, you'll help her avoid suffering from low self-esteem when she enters adolescence. Next time, we'll examine the issue of pets and why they just don't mix with children. Until then,

Stay Safe!

2001 Elizabeth Hanes

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