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Preventative Strategies for the Developmental Stage: Infant

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Preventative Strategies for the Developmental Stage: Infant

Infants are those babies who are less than one year old. During the infancy development stage, there are many preventative strategies that should be put in place in order to ensure that the well-being of young ones is safeguarded. There are different ecological contexts within which the preventative strategies should be undertaken. The main ones are individual, family, community and socio-cultural contexts (Squires, 2006).

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In the family context, there are many activities that are of preventative nature, depending on the things against which the infant is being protected. Infants face many risks in the family setting, such as fire, diseases, and malnourishment. All these risks can be avoided through preventative strategies. Ordinarily, the preventative measures adopted against one risk also act as protection against many other different risks. For instance, water safety is necessary for ensuring that infants do not suffer from water-borne diseases.  At the same time, it prevents children from facing the risk of drowning or experiencing scalds.

Safety for infants is also needed with regard to where they sleep. Cribs are safe places for children to sleep. In such environments, risks of falling off the bed and onto the floor are non-existent. Moreover, use of approved child restraints is necessary. These restraints include booster seats and safety seats.

I think that within the family context, the most important this is for the home environment to be maintained under the right safety standards. In this regard, I would expect various measures to be undertaken in the entire environment. I think some training may be necessary in order for parents to learn how to take care of environmental preventative strategies in the best manner. Water temperatures should always be low, poisonous plants should be removed, Carbon monoxide and smoke alarms should be installed, and furniture corners should be padded. Moreover, fall hazards should be minimized at all costs while cabinets should be locked at all times.

Other preventatives measures for infants in the family setting include the use of window guards, removal of access to firearms, as well as the use of fire safe clothing, prescriptions, alcohol and poisons. It is also a good habit to never leave an infant in the car under any circumstances. Most of the prevention mechanisms put in place within the family setting, such as carbon monoxide detectors, may require a monthly check. Moreover, the counsel of policymakers should often be sought in matters of infant safety at home.

Preventative strategies for infants also need to be applied in the ecological context of the community. The strategies that need to be put in place, in this case, include increased access to prenatal as well as postnatal care services, access to skills and training on parenting, and provision of home visit services, particularly to high-risk families. In the community context, it is possible for a parent to get information on how to assess hazards and make safety changes at home. Childcare advice can also be obtained on how safety guidelines and standards are to be followed.

In the socio-cultural ecological context, there are many preventative measures that require to be adopted in order to ensure that infants are free from any forms of danger. First, new parents need to take parenting classes. All educational programs and materials should be socially, culturally, linguistically and ethnically appropriate for use in a given community. the methods of upbringing that are adopted should also highlight and respect the prevailing community differences.

Furthermore, product safety standards for infants can best be maintained from a socio-cultural perspective. Data sharing is also a key aspect of ensuring that infants are always safe. The data shared should reflect the purpose of prevention as well various issues that need special attention in order for the safety needs of infants to be met.

There is also need for preventative strategies to be focused on the role of mother-infant interaction during the infant stage. This interaction can give many hints on the ways in which hazards and dangers can be done away with in order to ensure that the infant is always safe. The individuality of the new infant tends to be influenced in a powerful way by the mother in the way he responds to his environment.

Parents should develop a tendency to adopt objective approaches in their observation of their young ones during early infancy. Hospitalization trends may be indicative of the level of care that parents are offering their infants (Fonagy, 2008). Both the global and differential stages require special preventative measures from the parents. Between these stages, an infant experiences the differentiation of the self and the environment. This transition takes place in a continuous form, making it difficult for the differences in the two stages to be clearly discernible.

Preventative strategies also need to be fine-tuned and then adjusted in response to the distinct meanings that infants attach to the environment, based on their age. Maternal deprivation is a serious error of omission that mothers should avoid (DiGuiseppi & Roberts, 2007). During infancy, the emotional connection between the infant and the mother represents a crucial stage in their development process. The safety measures that are adopted should reflect this close emotional proximity.

During the infancy developmental stage, preventative strategies contribute greatly to the reduction of childhood psychopathology. As the recipient of this knowledge, the client may find it difficult to find this connection. Even to me, the reality is that there is a temptation to disagree with this view entirely. Yet this view contributes greatly to the increase in the use of the notions of prevention during infancy.

            It is often argued that increased knowledge on developmental pathways that are involved in different psychological disorders opens up doors to different prevention initiatives. I am convinced that the same case applies to enlightenment in all other areas of preventative strategies that involve infants.  It is upon parents to ensure that as many areas of enlightenment on preventative strategies are covered in order to ensure the complete safety of their infants.

            The cycle of interactions that parents build with their children is a key determinant of the level of prevention that they subconsciously offer their infants during their first year of life. Three modalities are critical for the development of the ideal strategies: enhancement of attachment security, early parent training, and facilitation of the reflective function development (Ulione, 2007). I consider it essential for all parents to be aware of all these three strategic elements for the benefit of their infants. I think that the recipient of these messages would become aware of even other areas of preventative strategies, such as mental, emotional, physical and social wellbeing. 

Preventative Strategies for the Developmental Stage: Infant 

Research design in infant development can also be understood through transactional models (Sameroff, 2006). These models, according to Sameroff, have continually informed the research design and interpretation in studies that are of relevance to developmental psychopathology.

I expected Sameroff (2006) to be critical of transactional models with regard to its use in creating an understanding on psychopathology and particularly, the preventative strategies that can be adopted during the development of infants. In sharp contrast, the researcher is in full support of transactional models, save for a few concerns about the way researchers misunderstand some behavioral and cognitive provisions of these models.

Many behavioral and cognitive domains exist in the form of bidirectional effects between both individuals and social contexts. This observation reminds me of the strong relationship between any infant preventative strategy and the social setting within which it is applied.

Sameroff’s (2006) research highlights various representative studies in which case one transactional model or the other has been tested either explicitly or implicitly. These studies include naturalistic, experimental and quasi-experimental designs. The mention of different studies reminds me of the scientific nature of the topic under which I am writing this paper. It reminds me of the serious medical implications that explicitly touch on this issue and the extent to which extreme care should be taken in offering advice relating to developmental strategies for preventing negative health outcomes in infants. In this context, I expect the paper to appreciate the role of the society, the family context and socio-cultural contexts in which the infant is being raised up. I do not find any emphasis being put on these issues. I also expect all the naturalistic, experimental and quasi-experimental designs to be explained using practical approaches, where the direct, positive impact or relevance on prevention of diseases and dangers among infants is highlighted.

            According to Sameroff (2006), extensions of the transactional model in preventative strategies have already been made in different interventions that are designed to put into perspective various aspects of any given bidirectional system. This has been done in efforts to improve various developmental outcomes.

However, problems still exist in the need to specify structural models in a theoretical manner and to combine various analyses of transactions in every parent-child relationship with the transactions that are used in the broader social contexts. Sameroff (2006) adds that longitudinal studies that have sufficient time points continue to be crucial in the assessment of reciprocal processes. I think such longitudinal investigations permit the identification of developmental periods during which the child or the context be most open to change or influential, an observation that is implied in this paper.

Flavin (2006) did a population-based study on the stages of development and injury patterns in the early years. This Canada-based study was carried out against the backdrop the existence of many formal public health programs under which efforts to prevent injury in the early years (between 0 and 6 years) were being undertaken. Most importantly, though, the study was in response to the paradox of absolute lack of population-based studies examining patterns of injury on the basis of development among all these young children.

I expect Flavin’s study to be highly informative and extremely relevant in the creation of an understanding of the social context of an infant in the development of preventative strategies relating to injuries. Particularly, I expect this study to play a significant role in bridging the research gap that exists in biomedical literature in Canada.

However, I find the study dwelling too much on external causes as well as consequences of injuries that young children experience. Little attention is directed on preventative strategies. However, the information gathered at the emergency department appears to be a good starting place for the assessment of the best preventative strategies for infants. This is because insights can be developed into the areas of prevention where priority should be put in the Canadian social context. A Canadian parent would find the information gathered at the emergency department extremely helpful in developing a sense of awareness on the need to adopt preventative strategies for his infant. Moreover, this information could provide a hint on the various ways in which various injuries can be avoided, simply on the basis of understanding all the causes. To the layperson, this information is also helpful in that it provides objective evidence on all the prevention priorities during anticipatory counseling and its impact on public health planning initiatives.

Flavin (2006) found out that the average annual rate of a childhood injury that was attended by the emergency department was 107 per 1000, with boys continually experiencing higher rates of injury annually than girls. External injury causes changed substantially on the basis of the developmental stage. On this basis, Flavin came up with four prevention priorities namely: the optimization of supervision, limitation of access to hazards, protection from heights, and anticipation of risks. This is an extremely important piece of advice to a layperson. I think this population-based surveillance analysis is a rich source of evidence-based upon which anticipatory counseling efforts can be enhanced in order to prevent childhood injury.

In an analysis of the latest recent studies on developmental strategies during the infancy stage, Morrongiello & McArthur (2010) indicate that development in the definition and measurement supervision have paved way for further research on caregiver supervision. This development includes the exploration of how this factor continually influences the exposure of young children to the risk of injury.

I consider this research an effective summary of all the research studies that I have explored in this paper. Morrongiello & McArthur (2010) indicate that research has already confirmed past speculation that poor supervision easily elevates the risk of injury among infants. From the point of view of a layperson, the findings highlight the variation in the way different people adapt to the various developmental strategies for infants. The differences are explained as being caused by differences in the characteristics of both the parent and the child.

To this day, evidence indicates that fathers and mothers are more similar than different in matters of supervision of young children (Morrongiello & McArthur (2010). However, sibling supervision tends to be laxer compared to parental practices. This contributes largely to the elevated risk of injury for young children who are supervised by older siblings. This observation is highly helpful for parents who may be contemplating delegating the duty of looking their infants to the infants’ older siblings. It is also a useful source of credible information on the similarity in the abilities of both parents to oversee preventative strategies for their children during the infancy stage of development.

References

DiGuiseppi, C. & Roberts, I. (2007). Individual-Level Injury Prevention Strategies in the Clinical Setting. The Future of Children, 10(1), 53-82.

Fonagy, P. (2008). Prevention, the appropriate target of infant psychotherapy. Infant Mental Health Journal, 19(2), 124–150.

Flavin, M. (2006) Stages of development and injury patterns in the early years: a population-based analysis, BMC Public Health 6(187), 183-199.

Morrongiello, B. & McArthur, B. (2010) Parent Supervision to Prevent Injuries, Journal of Early Childhood Development, 12 (7), 1-8.

Sameroff, A. (2006) Research strategies for capturing transactional models of development: The limits of the possible, Development and Psychopathology (2003), 15(3), 613-640.

Squires, J. (2006). Early Detection of Developmental Problems: Strategies for Monitoring Young Children in the Practice Setting. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 17(6), 420-427.

Ulione, M. (2007). Preschool injuries in child care centers: Nursing strategies for prevention. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 11(3), 111-116. 

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