When should grandparents speak up if they are worried about their grandchild’s health or safety?
It’s normal to sometimes worry about our grandchildren. That’s what we do when there is someone we love!
But what do you do if you are truly worried about their health or safety, and you can’t decide whether to speak up? Being an interfering grandparent can carry a high price, and it may not be one you want to pay. Before you start a conversation with your grandchild’s parents, here are some things to consider.
First, take your relationship out of the equation. If this were an acquaintance’s child, would you tell them they need to make their child wear a helmet when they are on their bike? If the answer is no, then you probably shouldn’t say anything.
If it is yes, then you have to consider if this is an issue worth making waves about. No matter how solid your relationship with your adult children is, your criticism will be hard for them to take. While you may view speaking up as concern, telling your son you don’t think it’s safe for the kids to play in the front yard unsupervised is a criticism of his parenting choices.
This post was originally published in August 2020. We’ve updated it and wanted to share it again while we are focusing on safety.
You try to do everything you can to keep your grandchildren safe.
You pay attention to the way they sleep, make sure the car seat is installed correctly, and don’t let them ride off on their bike without their helmet. But there are dangers in the world that go beyond the physical—and one is a danger that didn’t exist when your own children were young.
If you are one of the 75% of grandparents who uses social media, you may be endangering your grandchildren in a way you never considered.
Facebook and Instagram have replaced the pictures of their grandchildren that grandmothers used to carry. Now instead of pulling out their wallet to show off the latest, grandparents share those photos with their friends on social media. And even if they are very careful with their privacy settings, they are also sharing them with the world. Any photo posted publicly can be used by anyone for anything. Moreover, photos posted privately can still end up being shared more widely than the poster intended.
But it’s not just the photos that are shared—it’s the information that goes with them.
A million children in the US were victims of identity theft in 2017. Too many grandparents post photos on social media with information that exposes their children and grandchildren to identity theft and hackers. Personally identifiable information should be treated like gold, and yet every day I see public posts announcing the birth of a baby with full name and birthdate mentioned. Many of these posts make it easy to figure out birthplace and mother’s maiden name, too. That proud and unsuspecting grandparent has just handed a potential identity thief four of the most useful pieces of information they could want. Even with your privacy settings set as securely as possible, nothing that is posted on the internet is truly secure.
Our grandchildren are the first generation of children to grow up with social media since birth. Unlike most aspects of being a parent or grandparent, there is no collective wisdom guiding us on how to navigate the ability to share every moment of these children's lives. It's up to each of us to educate ourselves and safeguard our grandchildren.
To help grandparents use social media safely, More Than Grand offers a handy tip sheet for protecting your grandchild’s privacy online. You can download it here.
PS: I highly recommend getting a copy of Growing Up Shared by Stacey Steinburg to learn more about how social media may be impacting our grandchildren.
As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a commission for purchases made through links at no additional cost to you. Thank you for helping to keep this site ad-free.
What if you had to save your grandchild in an emergency?
Last spring, on a quiet weekend afternoon, my son and daughter-in-law heard a frantic knocking on their front door. When my daughter-in-law opened the door, it wasn’t a neighborhood child wanting to play, the way she expected. It was a distraught neighbor.
“There’s a baby! She’s not breathing!”
A young mother had come to the neighborhood to buy something she’d seen on Craig’s list. Her infant was in a car seat in the back of the car, and had apparently spit up and aspirated some of it. When she discovered the baby wasn’t breathing, she panicked. The neighbor, knowing my son had medical training, raced to his house. While my daughter-in-law called 911, my son rushed across the street. He was able to clear her airway and she quickly started breathing normally. He says he spent more time helping the mother calm down from the full state of panic she’d entered than he did helping the baby. By the time the paramedics arrived, everyone was okay. (They did take the baby to the hospital to make sure she didn’t need further care.)
How lucky for that baby that the neighbor knew there was someone nearby who could help! And that my son happened to be home! Emergencies don’t always turn out so well. How much better it would have been if her mother had known the steps to take to help her child.
As grandparents, keeping our grandchildren safe should be one of our highest priorities. Are we really prepared for emergencies? Because if we aren’t prepared, we have to rely on luck to ensure a happy ending. And luck is notoriously unreliable.
Will you join me in pledging to get prepared?
Last week, Gail Gould, the CPR and Safety Lady, shared some important tips on keeping our grandchildren safe. Let’s re-read them and create a plan to follow them.
Instead of buying the baby another outfit, let’s spend the time and money on an infant/child CPR class.
Instead of researching fun activities to entertain our grandchildren, let’s learn the proper way to install the car seats in our vehicles.
Instead of assuming our house is safe, let’s educate ourselves on the dangers it may hold and eliminate them.
Let’s teach them to swim, watch them like hawks, and learn the difference between choking and gagging.
On Thursday, July 15 at 3pm Central Time, Gail will be joining me on Instagram Live to do a short demo on infant/child CPR and choking relief. Will you pledge to join us? It’s 15 minutes that could save your grandchild’s life.
If you can’t make it while we are live, it will be saved on my Instagram account under the little TV icon, so you can come watch it later!
We've just updated the Baby Care and Safety section of our comprehensive resource, New Grandparents Essentials, where you can get all the latest information to keep your grandbaby safe--and a whole lot more!
What Grandparents Need to Know About Child Safety
This week's post is by Gail Gould, a CPR and safety expert who has some life-saving tips for grandparents.
I often shudder at the thought of how close I came to not being a mom and what my life would look like without my precious son.
I got married at 36 years old and started trying to get pregnant at age 39. After unsuccessfully trying for a few years, we gave up. Still, something inside of me knew that a childless life was not for me. My husband and I went on an adoption journey that lasted 8 long years. My son came into my life at age 49 and it has been the best 17 years of my life! I do not take a single day for granted with my son, and I sometimes become upset when I see parents who leave their toddler unattended in the car or parents who are not paying attention while their children are swimming.
I have been a professional CPR instructor for over 30 years and have trained 10,000 people to save lives. My mission is to CPR train as many parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers as possible. I think it should be required for all new parents to take a CPR course prior to bringing baby home! I am not in charge, though, so this is currently not a requirement.
Studies show that 70% of parents would not know how to respond in a medical or injury emergency. Knowing how to perform CPR and choking relief is very important. Possibly even more important is prevention, since it is best to never need CPR in the first place. Survival rates for children who lose consciousness and stop breathing are only 4-13%.
So, here are a few prevention tips that all parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers should follow:
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children and adolescents. In 2017, there were 1000 children who died as a result of unintentional drowning.