I recall a time when my first-born was learning to walk. He fell, and hit his head on the coffee table, and ended up with a black eye. I was mortified. No one told me to wrap the ends of the table to keep him safe.

Coming to grips

I was a young mother. And to be honest, I was just learning to take care of myself. Suddenly, I was also responsible for this tiny little creature. After several trips and falls, I started to wonder if my little guy would make it through the stage of learning to walk in one piece. 

When my daughter was born a year later, it became clear to me that accidents happen with small children and that I needed to be better prepared in the event of a life-threatening situation. My daughter was prone to seizures; klutz was her middle name and endless explorer her last. In her years of discovery and learning she was seen in the emergency room more times than I'd like to admit. 

As I grew older, I realized it was I that would be my child's first responder, and that my decisions in split seconds could be the difference between my child's life and death. And as scary as that thought was, I knew I needed to get serious.

After my daughter climbed up onto the counter and ate several baby aspirin, I knew it was time for me to take a first-aid and CPR class. I knew from that moment on I would never be unprepared when it came to one of my children and the ability to stay calm, be ready and make the right decisions in the most terrifying situations. 

Be emergency-prepared

When your child is hurt, your mind isn't functioning at full capability. And believe it or not, you can easily forgot how to dial 911. Keep a list of emergency numbers on your refrigerator. Include poison control, hospitals, your pediatrician and even your own number. You'd be surprised how suddenly you can't remember your own phone number or address in a real-life crisis. 

"Let’s face it: as parents, we’re not perfect. There isn’t a manual that comes with each child."

A well-stocked, well-organized first-aid kit is essential in every home, especially those where small children are present. Make sure every member of your household knows where the kit is stored, including the children. Be sure to read the entire manual in the kit before you need it. There's no time during an emergency to figure out what you need to use or do in a moment’s notice. 

Let’s face it: as parents, we’re not perfect. There isn’t a manual that comes with each child. And every child is different. While one child may never have an accident, the other may be accident-prone. Being prepared as a parent is the most important thing we can do. Keep your kiddos safe and get trained in first-aid and CPR. You may never need it. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.