When new mom Jane Johnson signed up for a free parent newsletter, she had no idea that she’d soon be thanking it for saving her child’s life.
The 32-year-old accountant had been on maternity leave for three months before she finally subscribed. For the full 90 days prior, she says she had been caring for her son Jack based on little more than her own instincts – and a small amount of advice from her mother and family doctor.
“It’s so shameful to admit,” says Johnson, “but I had been putting my baby’s life in danger.”
She recalled feeling “horrified” when she read the first article advising parents to use a bath thermometer before putting their baby in the water.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks,” she said. “I realized that all this time I had been putting my hand into the water to test if it was too hot or too cold. My hand.”
Johnson says that although it embarrasses her to share her story publicly, she’s doing it in the hope that other parents won’t make the same mistake.
“I just didn’t know any better,” she said. “Hand-testing water temperature is something my mother probably did, but that’s a really outdated and risky practice.”
Johnson says that while parents might have a general idea of what the water temperature is like, their judgment can be faulty. “Using a bath thermometer is the only way to get an exact number and really know for sure if the water is safe,” she says.
Johnson admits that her behavior was “naïve and irresponsible” and says that relying on her own senses was a big mistake.
“It was a serious wake-up call for me,” she said.
After reading the newsletter, Johnson didn’t waste time. She claims she immediately ordered the thermometer online and didn’t bathe her son for 10 days while she waited for it to arrive.
“I wasn’t going to take the risk again,” she said.
Since receiving the product six weeks ago, Johnson claims she hasn’t let a single drop of water touch her baby without the thermometer’s reassurance that it’s not too hot or too cold.
According to Johnson, the bath thermometer is just one example of the kind of indispensable information she’s received from the newsletter.
“It really opened my eyes,” she said, “and helped me realize that I’m just a mom. I don’t have a PhD in these things. Trusting my own judgment is the last thing I should do as a responsible parent.”
Johnson’s message to other parents? “Before you do anything with your child, and I mean anything, stop and ask yourself, ‘Did I read the online advice first?’ Honestly, with so much free guidance right at your fingertips, there’s no excuse not to.”
About the Author
Andrea Lynn Koohi is a writer and editor at a not-for-profit organization in Toronto. She’s a mom of two hilarious young boys and one deranged dog. Her accomplishments include making dinner without burning it and scooping up dog poop while wearing an infant carrier.