My 13 month old, who is a new walker but fairly steady on his feet, loves pens and markers. I want to encourage his writing and exploring, but I am worried about him walking around with these objects. I recognize the danger of him falling, and implore him to keep the pens out of his mouth, especially while walking. I feel like taking the objects away while he is walking confuses him, because I permit his use of them often. I see pictures and discussions of very young children in other cultures using things like knives, and I would very much like to be able to allow my son this freedom with his markers, the same freedom he enjoys with his other toys. I try to explain to him the dangers, but I'm not quite sure he fully understands.

By allowing my son to walk around with markers, am I being a bad parent? Even under close supervision, I may be unable to stop the hazardous fall. How can I teach such a young child to be aware and safe with the tools he is holding?

4 Answers 4


Maybe limit him to "blunt" objects, like markers and crayons?

At the same time, there comes a point where you'll just have to hope. I mean, he could also get hurt if he falls while walking from the kitchen to the dinner table with the fork he just picked up to eat with. Or he might be carrying a hard plastic toy, fall and bust his face open on it.

  • 3
    Thank you, "there comes a point where you'll just have to hope" is enlightening. (Not disregarding safety, of course) Mar 30, 2011 at 20:23
  • 1
    Yes. Children must get hurt sometimes. As parents, sometimes we must just make sure it can't get too serious and then step back and watch it happen. I guess this can sometimes be more painful to the parents than the actual accident... Apr 5, 2011 at 15:06
  • Also, don't forget that even adults hurt themselves with these things! It won't be any different in all reality.
    – Anoplexian
    Dec 31, 2016 at 1:40

I have this problem with my 14-month-old. It's gotten to the point where I mostly give her crayons, figuring that while she can hurt herself with these, those suckers seem to break if you look at them the wrong way, so it can't be too bad if she falls on them.


If you're uncomfortable with your son walking around with pens and markers, set aside a special place where the pens and markers need to stay. Put up a easel that takes a roll of paper. Keep the pens and markers there. If he's too young to leave them there, then make it a supervised play time.

  • Yea, I try to play with them in an appropriate setting but sometimes he just runs away with them! Mar 31, 2011 at 18:30
  • There are objects that can safely be carried around by a child of age X, like a stuffed animal or a ball.
  • Other objects may be used in place but not carried around, like food or heavy or hard or pointy things.
  • And some objects may never be touched, period.

Decide for yourself which objects are okay for the current age, and stick to that. Be consistent, never allow exceptions to your rule.

As the child grows, you can gradually slacken the rules (moving objects from your mental "never" list to the "in place" list).

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