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Japan With Kids - Forums: Suggest a Main Topic: Child Safety
By Shakiba Khan on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 7:49 pm:

HI all

I am really concern about my 18 month old safety in kitchen. She is getting more active and unpredictable each day as most toddlers do. Yesterday she burned her hand by holding the hot griddle (Thank God it was not too hot) from the stoveEshe is tall enough to reach the top of the stove and always try to hold the pots and pans. I still do not understand why Most Kitchen stove here in Japan are so low that a child can easily reach them. Please tell me what I should do to prevent her to reach at knobs and pots. I have open type kitchen so I can’t put safety door. Any suggestions and advices will be greatly appreciated.

Shakiba Khan

By Trupti Gandhi on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 8:19 pm:

hi shakiba!!

you rely have to be careful with the little ones...

my kids are big now but my youger on 3 yrs old loves to see what is momma cooking and she tries to reach out to the things...

this is what i did...

stopped cooking on the nearer burners and cook only on the back ones... i have the four burner type stove so she can not reach any hot pots!!! and she knows not to touch the knobs but you could put the thick tapes on the burners you do not use... and try to eaplain to her the dangers involved at her level...

i am sure she will understand.

tell me if all this helped or no!!!


this is what i did

By Shakiba Khan on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 8:53 pm:

Well Trupti Thanks for the advice i apperciate it but the thing is that i have typical japanese style 2 burner stove with small grill in center. I always tell her how dangerous it is but i think she is still too young to understand. What else can u suggest... should i put anything under the stove to make it higher some kind of steel frame if i can find it somewhere around here.....

Thanks anyway.

By Shibuya on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 12:37 am:

I can suggest getting one of
those metallic, flame -
resistant "splash-guard"
panels, usually used in back
of the stove to keep the wall
area clean, sold at stores that
would have other cleaning-
type products . You could
fashion a type of cover to put in
front of the burners that would
at least provide a small barrier
to the actual stove. I had
friends who made a sort-of
box that fit over the knobs and
attached with magnets, so it
was easily removable, but
covered the knobs enough to
make pushing them that much
more difficult.
Maybe put some (real) empty
pots and pans on the floor
nearby when you cook and
the baby will be content to play
with those and not want the
ones you are using.
Watching babies at the mobile
age is a full-time job!
Hope this helps.

By Yuko Kubota on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 1:49 am:

Actually Shibuya-san's idea worked perfectly in my son's case. I'd keep "his" drawer right below an important drawer. I'd have "his" box full of old spoons when he wants to touch mine. This really kept him busy, satisfied, prevented him from feeling rejected, and I didn't have to waste his healthy curiosity to learn to use tools.

Also as mentioned, there are many tools to prevent toddlers from touching or opening things. Search shops and catalogs and see if you can find something to fit your stove.

I'm not sure if this fits your needs, but I was also able to block out my son by placing a "tsuppari-dana (a stretching plate?)" at the enterance of the kitchen.

On a related note, I always let my baby follow me to the toilet. You know how hard it is to resist him. I think this helped to get him used to the idea of using toilets and he had very little difficulty as we said good-bye to his daytime diapers.

Thinking of what your baby can do rather than what he/she should not do helps. But sometimes you just have to sneak into the kitchen when your baby is taking a nap...

By Bethan Hutton on Thursday, June 3, 2004 - 3:25 pm:

Unsafe baby goods - I was in Toys R Us today, and I was struck by how many items are still on sale in Japan that have been banned or withdrawn from sale in the UK/Europe/US/Australia.

For example, there were still lots of child car seats of the kind of design which has a padded bar across the child's lap to hold him or her in place - these were recently banned in the US because they can cause severe internal injuries in an accident, or children can slip underneath the bar. Of course, many people here still don't even use car seats for their children...

They also had lots of baby walkers - the kind you sit a baby in before it can walk to let it move around. I think these have now been banned in a lot of countries, or at least withdrawn from sale, because so many babies have died or been injured from falling downstairs or pulling heavy/hot objects down onto themselves. Most of the ones in Toys R Us didn't even have the safety stoppers which automatically stop the walker at the top of the stairs.

And of course most of the baby bike seats sold here would never be allowed elsewhere because they have no support for the child's head or neck, and some don't even have straps to hold the child in place. And of course wearing bicycle helmets, which is now compulsory in many countries, is still the exception rather than the rule here.

Does anyone else find it strange that a rich country like Japan with a falling birth rate does not pay a bit more attention to keeping the children it has safe?

I'd recommend that before people buy things in Japan, they check safety standards in other countries and see how they measure up.

By Janine Boyd on Friday, June 4, 2004 - 12:01 am:

Interesting site for information regarding child abuse in Japan, help lines, lawyers, etc

By CRN Webmaster on Monday, June 7, 2004 - 8:45 pm:

Thanks for the plug. I just started assembling this information due to all the recent incidents in the press. Its difficult to see the patterns and rising prevalence of abuse in Japan unless you accumulate information all in one place.

Of course, child abuse is a violation of a child's rights, although that this not the main type of rights of concern at the crnjapan site. But I believe there are connections with child access to both natural parents. First, when a child is kept away from contact with one natural parent, the remaining one seems more inclined to abuse. Recent cases seem to back this up. I have seen other literature saying the same thing which I will post when I find it again. Second, the legal situation in Japan allows one Japanese parent to threaten to deny the other parent access to the children. For exmaple, if they report ongoing spouse or child abuse to the authorities. So the legal situation regardling access to children acts as a deterrent to reporting both child abuse and spouse abuse by a Japanese parent. Note that since Japanese can do this among themselves also, this is true regardless of whether the other parent is Japanese or non-Japanese. This is a pretty horrific double threat.

Just as we document denial of access to children at, I would like to start documenting personal experiences in the area of abuse. Actually I would like NOT to [have to] do this, but it appears necessary in order to show that the problem is much bigger than Japanese authorities let on and than the Japanese press reports. I expect most if not all of these would be anonymous. If anyone has any information or stories or other info they would like to contribute, please contact me from the website.

By Bethan Hutton on Thursday, June 10, 2004 - 3:07 pm:

Apparently the use of child car seats is dropping in Japan, according to this article from Kyodo News.

Thursday June 10, 9:08 AM
Japanese kids not being put in child safety seats
The percentage of children who are properly seated in child safety seats has dropped in 2004 for the second consecutive year to 47.4 percent, down 4.3 percentage points from the previous year, a recent survey shows.

The survey was conducted by the National Police Agency and the Japan Automobile Federation, which have been conducting joint surveys since 2002.

Child safety seats, which are used primarily for children aged 1 to 4, became compulsory in Japan in April 2000 for children under age 6.

But the survey found that only 28.0 percent of 5-year-old children were properly seated in child safety seats and 6.1 percent were not seated in them at all even though vehicles were equipped with the special seats.

"We plan to promote the usage of child safety seats through campaigns at kindergartens and nurseries to warn people of the danger of not using safety seats," an NPA official said.

In 11.5 percent of the cases, adults were holding children on their laps, and in 8.5 percent of cases, children were strapped with adult seat belts.

In a survey of 2,347 vehicles parked at 84 locations, such as parks and parking lots across Japan, only 34.8 percent of the vehicles were properly outfitted with child safety seats.

The fatality rate in traffic accidents in 2003 for children not in child safety seats was 3.9 times higher than that for children who were properly seated in them, the survey said.

The NPA and the federation conducted the latest survey between April 20 and May 15, studying 12,865 children and infants across Japan.

By Yuko Kubota on Friday, June 11, 2004 - 11:14 pm:

> "We plan to promote the usage of child safety seats through
> campaigns at kindergartens and nurseries to warn people of
> the danger of not using safety seats," an NPA official said.

If this is true, it's about time.
My son is now 12. When he was a preschooler, his friends would stand and move around in my car when I'm driving. I would tell them, "Hey, sit down guys, 'cause I'm not very skillful behind the steering wheel !" but other mothers didn't seem to worry about that when they were driving.

When my son started disliking his seatbelt, I phoned the police and asked for a rental educational video. Unfortunately, the only seatbelt safety videos they had were aimed for adults, and so they were quite bloody, but it did make my son use the belt for a while.

So I told the police officer that they should make videos for children explaining safety inside cars. I also wrote a letter to the Japanese version of the major Asahi Shinbun newspaper, and they printed my letter.

But nothing changed. Parents I knew were never aware, schools only taught about being pedestrians and bicycle riders and never about riding a car.

Of course I can't say much about it, because there are times when I let my son get away without fastening the belt. But I really don't understand why people don't even pay the effort for their children's safety inside the car. I hope they start doing some good promotion. Or maybe I'm just missing something.

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