BlackParentSpeaks wakes up thinking about — and troubled about — the safety of our younger Blacks and the Black babies still to be born. How does a parent, a caregiver to the Black youth of our nation, lessen some of the many everyday dangers found in our homes?
First and foremost, if something — some toy — strikes you as UNsafe for an infant, a baby, a toddler, remove it now — get rid of that toy! You as an adult must always operate from a position of ‘it is better to err on the side of safety’ when it comes to our young folk’. That said, let us look at just a few of the everyday dangers to our Black infants, Black babies and Black toddlers that are in our homes today.
Mobiles and hanging objects above your baby’s crib and bed should only be done with caution and after thorough examination by YOU. As cute as some of the mobiles seem and are, some can be harmful and/or dangerous. Also, ask yourself — Is your child’s constant eye fixation on the object or objects healthy, unhealthy or…? Does your child’s eye-fixation on the object or objects create a trance-like state? Think about your child’s brain development and do as wisdom leads you.
BlackParentSpeaks contends that it is far better for our babies to have ‘eye freedom’ to explore the world around them without the blockage of mobiles and/or hanging objects over their cribs. Remember that eye fixation is often used as a tool in hypnosis…. This is just one of the reasons BlackParentSpeaks cautions you — the adult — with respect to mobiles and hanging objects on and/or above your baby’s crib.
Is it a plus for caregivers to give their babies and toddlers a plethora of toys? No, no, and no! And, be aware of the safety and UNsafe nature of many of the toys that are out there. Examine the toy visually first. Is it ethnically representative of your Black child? Is the toy positive — is it educational — is it healthy, stimulating and fun! Does the toy have removable parts? Is the toy put together/assembled in a SAFE way? Are the outer edges of the toy smooth and safe to handle without fear of getting cut or being poked? If there are removable parts to the toy, make certain that those parts are LARGE and way-too-BIG for your baby to squeeze into his or her mouth!
If there is a battery compartment to a toy given to your baby or toddler, make sure the battery compartment is securely closed and use STRONG adhesive tape to better secure the closure. Remember to continually inspect that area of the toy regularly and re-tape that area of the toy BEFORE the need arises. Try to keep a roll of adhesive tape available and handy in your home. If you observe screws, etc. on the outside of the toy, rub your finger over the areas to make sure that none are protruding or have sharp or jagged edges. Examine all sides of the toy — including the underside. Remember that it is ultimately YOU who must take steps to best assure your child’s safety and well-being.
BlackParentSpeaks functions from the position that ‘forewarned is forearmed’. That said, it is preferable to let all know that you — the adult — are ethnically conscious. Accordingly, do NOT give a Black child a White doll! Black children need to see themselves reflected in the dolls and other toys they are given … even the items they receive from other adults!
If a White person (or any other person) asks YOU — the parent, the caregiver — beforehand about buying your Black child a gift, be clear and state emphatically that if the gift is going to be a doll, that doll MUST reflect your Black child — the doll must be Black. Do NOT hesitate in your response. And, if that person turns around and buys your Black child a White doll and gives that doll as a gift to your Black child, know that that person has zero respect for you and/or your Black child. Know that and REact accordingly…. (As a side note: Been there, done that! When BlackParentSpeaks’ children were young, BlackParentSpeaks had such an experience with her middle child’s White teacher. Needless to say, BlackParentSpeaks quickly and EFFECTIVELY handled the situation…..)
Recognizing and respecting that change is a constant, today’s children are inundated with far more complexities in toys than the children of yesterday. Parents often are inclined to give their children the latest gadgets on the market. Think BEFORE you make that purchase! Be both conservative and wise and learn to say ‘no’ when you feel inclined to buy buy buy.
Recognize that both babies and many toddlers have a tendency to put inappropriate things in their mouths. Gently and patiently train your child to NOT continue such habits. Refocusing the child’s attention and playing hand games are just two ways to hopefully lessen such tendencies. Children learn from their environment so be aware of your choice of words and your actions and your own behaviors. Know that mistakes are a part of learning; be both patient and loving when and if mistakes are made. And. remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as appropriate. Teach yourself and teach your child.
Let your Black child know that he/she matters. Respect your Black child. Allow your child to have his/her own space; do NOT allow others to invade your child’s space. Be aware and prepared and do not let others touch your child’s face or hair, etc. (BlackParentSpeaks mentions this because of the tendency shown by Whites to randomly reach out and touch a Black child’s cheek and/or hair without warning….)
Be familiar with the books that you give to your Black child — read the books for positive content and look at the pictures and graphics. Make certain that the books are age appropriate; cardboard books with a few short sentences per cardboard page and colorful graphics for ages 0 to 20+ months, etc. Let reading be fun, entertaining, and interesting. Be flexible and patient and share and enjoy with your Black child.
Although this post by BlackParentSpeaks has barely touched the surface with regards to parenting our Black infants, babies, and toddlers; hopefully, it will help all to think about what we do and do not do.
Don’t forget our reparations! Do YOU know what time it is?
Feel free to share this BlackAngryWomen blog with others. We are all works in progress.
Undying love for Black People
Food for ‘Black’ thought:
(a) If you want to die, go to a hospital.
(b) It is often wiser to be proactive as opposed to reactive. However, it is sometimes better to do and/or say something than to go away and wish later that you had done or said something.
(c) Click the Donate button at the top right of BlackAngryWomen and donate now if you are so inclined. Remember to forward BlackAngryWomen posts to others.
(d) It is NOT okay for adults to whip or beat children. Adults should be creative, loving, and patient when motivating and interacting with children. An adult should never verbally or physically abuse a child.
(e) Pick an opportune moment to turn off and put out-of-sight your phone for a minimum of 5 to 7 hours. If you are able to do this, you may experience a true sense of relief and accomplishment afterwards.