Keeping a child safe is at the forefront of every parent’s mind; they want nothing but the best. Deciding what to do can be a tough process when discussing their family’s well-being. Some will base decisions on how they were raised,  others conclude what to do after much research and reading while some simply go with their gut instinct. Personally, our household falls in the category of making safety decisions based off the latest research and professional recommendations.

With each new transition, those close to our family often ask how we are doing it merely out of curiosity. Afterwards, these discussions always come to a standstill once I’m told comments such as “Well gee, according to today’s standards, my kids should not have survived when they were little!” or “I didn’t do that and my kids turned out just fine.” These comments overlook safety advances and pin new parents as over-protective, coddling individuals.

The choices I have made to keep my child safe in 2016 are in no way an insult to the choices you made ten, twenty, thirty, or even forty years ago for your child. Please know I do not think what you did for your child years ago was wrong since I do things different, you were simply doing what was best and safe for your child at the time. Chances are you were staying up to date with safety recommendations and regulations just as I am now. In multiple occasions, people have gotten upset with me after explaining my decisions because they believe I am insulting or criticizing their parenting since I am doing it different especially in the realm of car safety, sleep routines, and feeding, just to name a few.

Standards on “what is safe” for children changes over time because of the tremendous amount of research done with child welfare in mind. For instance: over 20 years ago, there was the recommendation that a baby should sleep on his or her tummy. However after much investigation, the new recommendation is to have babies sleep on their back as it decreased the risk of SIDS significantly. Or for instance it is now suggested to have a child’s car seat rear facing to the age of 2 as it has been determined a child is substantially less likely to sustain a serious injury or die in a car crash in this position. These recommendations for safety are relatively new and were not the standard decades ago. These are just two changes that have certainly helped many children live longer, more beautiful lives which is what every parent wants.

When my children begin to have their own babies, I know there will be different suggestions for safety. Some of them could be the complete opposite of what I am doing for them right now. As long as they are taking their time to look into current practices, I’m okay with them doing things different.

It is tough enough to decide what is safe and what is not without others reminding you what they did over twenty years ago when it is not standard practice in 2016. Parents should not have to defend their reasoning to keep their children safe. Instead of making parent’s feel uncomfortable for their decisions, we should be excited and encourage them to continue to stay up to date on safety standards.


Kara Stevens

Kara Stevens is the wife to a wonderful Marine and mommy to beautiful little boys in Central Nebraska. Besides her growing family, her loves include the outdoors, cooking, writing, and spending time in prayer!