Every parent is concerned about their children’s safety.
Alison Rhodes was no exception, until one day her baby passed away from SIDS.
She then dedicated her career to helping other parents learn the best ways to
stay safe—and sane. We spoke with Alison (AKA The Safety Mom) about keeping
your kids safe but still giving them freedom and the top safety tips parents
Alison, you become a safety expert after the loss of your
My mission was born out of tragedy. My first child died of SIDS
in 1997. Childhood accidents are the leading cause of death and most are
preventable. After my son passed away, I thought if I could do something to
help another child, I would be doing something in honor of my son. I went on to
have three more children, and my oldest, Spencer, has intellectual
disabilities. And I realized that the dangers don’t stop once your children are
out of diapers.
With so much information out there, it can be hard to
discern what’s accurate and what’s not.
Absolutely. But I say that every mom is their child’s best
safety expert. My website, Safety Mom Solutions,
is about informing parents so they can get the right information for their
kids. I talk about how moms are good role models and we need to take care of
ourselves. My thing is about keeping families happy, safe and sane. We need the
moms to have good self-confidence so they can pass it along to their kids.
What specific safety
area do you feel the most strongly about?
It really spans safety for children of all ages, but I would
say SIDS prevention. Parents are hyper vigilant when they bring their babies
home, but then they start to get complacent after awhile. Sadly, a lot of baby
proofing happens after something
happens. It doesn’t mean being neurotic, but you have to take healthy steps.
Kids can choke, and furniture can fall on kids. And now with teens, distracted
driving is a huge issue.
You bring up a good
point. We assume that safety issues are really for when kids are younger, but
there are so many as they get older.
to give them freedom, but you need to have a tether, too.
How do you personally
walk that line of staying safe and still giving them freedom?
I’m a real spiritual person. You have to have faith. It’s
instilling safety in them at an early age, and giving them that
self-confidence. It’s communicating why you are doing this and it’s pragmatic
parenting. You have to give them some flexibility; it’s not going to stop the
dings, but it can help prevent the traumatic injuries.
satisfaction do you get from what you do?
I was a high-powered exec at a PR firm and I loved what I
did but then my son died. And as much as I liked what I did, it wasn’t really changing
lives. This is what fulfilled me. I
can go to my kids’ events and activities. I can stop working to help my son
with homework. It takes a village, for sure. But my kids see me fulfilled doing
something that I love. It’s wonderful to wake up loving to work. If you hate
what you do, and then you spend 8 hours a day there and then you come home and
you’re miserable, what are you teaching your kids?
Now you’re a blended
family. What is that like?
My husband walked into a huge package and somehow it all worked.
The kids assimilated well; sure there are sibling rivalries, but it all works.
I loved your book, Honey I Lost the Baby in the Produce Aisle. It’s
a nice blend of advice and personal anecdotes.
My life is out there; it’s a reality show. My father has Alzheimer’s.
I came from an abusive marriage; my son is special needs and my first died of
SIDS. Parents don’t want to share and for me writing is cathartic. I feel like
if one parent doesn’t feel alone or if I can share info, that’s huge for me. I
get so many questions, so I figured if I put it all together, it could help
What are your future
I’m pitching a TV show, a cross between Extreme Home Makeover and Dr.
Phil. I want to get inspirational stores out there, and then I have a new
book called OMG Save Me! The Safety Mom’s
Guide to Understanding Your Teen. I want the book to be a conversation
What’s an interesting
safety tip that people might not know?
I’ve been working with Sylvania on their car headlights. Did
you know that headlights dim 20% each year? So you need to change your
headlights every two years.
What would be your
top 3 safety tips for parents?
Start baby proofing before your
baby comes home. You never know when your child will turn over for the first
time, or start crawling. You want to be prepared.
Be your child’s safety advocate. Be
confident in your abilities to make the right safety decisions for him or her.
So get involved in your school. You know your child the best.
Cyber bullying starts so early.
Teach tolerance at home. Watch the computer at home, and teach them to be good