Having managed Step2’s Customer Service Department for over 19 years, I have learned the importance of age recommendations, safety guidelines, parental supervision and warnings outlined in product assembly instructions and oftentimes displayed on cartons and products. Much research and testing (both internal and third party) goes into determining this information. The majority of incidents involving children reported by consumers generally occur when children are unsupervised, not age appropriate for the product or recommended guidelines not followed.
This recently hit home with me when I learned that my precious granddaughter was hurt riding on her first “foot to floor” ride-on toy. The product involved was age appropriate however, clearly noted on the box was the statement that shoes should be worn while playing with this product. Since the product is used indoors and my son and his wife have a “no shoes worn in the house” policy, my granddaughter was in her bare feet. Unfortunately, my son did not see exactly how the injury occurred as he was in the kitchen and she was right outside the kitchen door, in the hallway. He was alerted that something was amiss when his daughter suddenly let out a loud yelp followed by many tears. Luckily, it was not a serious injury however she did bruise her foot. (She showed grandma her “boo boo” in our last Skype session.) This resulted in a trip to the pediatrician’s office and then on to the hospital for a recommended x-ray.
Having raised two boys myself, I learned quickly that toddlers need constant supervision. It only takes a split second for a mishap to occur. As much as we want our children to be independent, the younger years are not the time to be concerned about independence as there is plenty of time for that. And of course, we all think our children are smarter, more advanced or bigger than average and suitable for toys beyond their years.
Please know that I did not lecture my son for lack of supervision or for not following the “shoe” rule – I’m sure he beat himself up plenty without my help. Although, I did say that little girls are more fragile than boys and he agreed. All parents go through situations like this at some point or another. It is just a reminder that during those tender toddler years when they are exploring and innocently trying new things, it is important to keep them in full view.
Sharon became a first time grandma in February of 2011 and had the pleasure of celebrating her granddaughter’s first birthday in San Francisco where she lives with her oldest son and his wife. Sharon welcomes the opportunity to spoil her granddaughter after having raised two boys. Sharon is an avid lover of the arts and has dabbled with oil painting and enjoys interior decorating as a hobby. She is the Customer Service Manager for Step2.