As with all children my son (16 months old) frequently gets himself in dangerous situations
There is no problem with somewhat "static" situations, like trying to climb on a chair or slowly reaching for a knife. There's always time to react quickly and calmly.
But sometimes the danger is much more acute, for instance (past experiences):
- He is running through the zoo, aiming towards a crack in a fence where he could drop in a pond. (Small enough so he fits, but large enough to prevent me jumping after him, also I was still 3 meters behind him)
- He took a glass someone carelessly left under the couch and started to bang it on the wall. (I was 5 meters away sitting on a chair behind a desk)
- Someone opend the door and he ran out aiming for the stairs.
What to do in these situations where danger is acute and may become a matter of life and death or at least serious injury?
What I did:
In the first and last example where there was really grave danger, I yelled really loud. In both cases my son was startled and froze immediately, but will this work every time?
In the second situation he actually knew he wasn't allow to bang stuff against the wall and he was testing my reaction. Which each reaction I provided (starting from a calm 'no' to getting up to actually yelling and running) he was banging the glass even harder and faster against the wall, so what worked in the other situations actually escalated this situation.
EDIT: To clarify my question:
The existing answers focus on prevention, but IMHO that goes without saying. The problem with prevention is it often fails when other persons are involved.
- Situation 1: The fences in the zoo are specifically designed to protect small children, but someone broke a part of the fence which was not yet repaired. (At least that situation teached be to never believe someone who says something is child-proof without inspecting it myself :) )
- Situation 2: Of course I would never give a glass to my child. Someone else put it there the day before where I couldn't see it, but my son did. (Different perspective :) ) So using plastic cups is no use unless even the adults use them.
- Situation 3: The room was perfectly safe, until someone else who wasn't aware a child was in the room opened the door and didn't react fast enough to shut the door or hold my son. So closing the door or putting a gate before the stairs is no use, if someone leaves it open.
Because of that I'm asking specifically what to do in such dangerous situations - if they happen. I just want to be prepared for such a bad situation instead of just resting on a sense of security.