Safety

Safety

Cribs, Beds, and Sleeping
Usually your baby will be unattendend while in the crib, so it needs to be a safe environment. The most common injuries associated with cribs and beds are falls. Falls occur when the mattress is too high or the side of the crib is left down. The following are some safety recommendations related to cribs and sleeping:

  • Slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart to prevent a baby’s head from becoming caught in the opening.
  • There should not be any cutout shapes in the head or footboard for the same reason as #1.
  • Corner posts are dangerous as clothing can become caught and choke your baby.
  • Always make sure that the screws are tight. Any wobble should be corrected immediately.
  • The mattress needs to be at least 4 inches below the level of the side rail when it is in the down position.
  • Once your baby can sit, the mattress needs to be lowered so that your baby cannot lean over the edge. He may pull himself up before you expect it.
  • There should be no space between the mattress and the side of the crib. Babies can become stuck in this space.
  • Crib bumpers should be used with infants only. Once your baby can stand, remove the bumpers and anything else that he can use to step on and crawl out of the crib.
  • Mobiles should be secured out of reach of the baby. Once standing, get rid of the mobile.
  • Always use a firm mattress with a tight fitting sheet to prevent suffocation.
  • Never use a loose blanket and remove stuffed animals for infants. These objects pose a potential smothering hazard.
  • Until your baby can roll from back to front and front to back, always place your baby to sleep on his back. This has helped to dramatically reduce incidence of SIDS.
  • Never prop a bottle when your baby is feeding as this can cause your baby to choke.
  • Do not leave a bottle in the crib with milk or juice as this can lead to tooth decay.

 

Changing Table
As much as changing tables are a convenient place to change a diaper, they can also be a dangerous place for your baby if you do not follow these recommendations.

  1. The top of the changing table or pad should be higher on the sides than in the middle to prevent rolling off.
  2. Never leave a baby unattended, even if strapped to the table, accidents will happen.
  3. Always strap your baby to the table if you must step away from the table, even if only for a second. That is all it takes for your baby to roll and fall off.
  4. Never let your baby play with a powder bottle as he can inhale the powder and damage his lungs.
  5. Keep all supplies out of the baby’s reach but within reach for yourself.

Highchairs
Falls are the most common injury associated with highchairs. Our recommendations are as follows:

  1. Make sure that all parts are stable and that the chair, if adjustable does not slip.
  2. Always strap your child into the seat. It only takes a second for your baby to lean over the side, especially if he drops something and reaches for it.
  3. Never place the highchair near a counter or table. Sometimes babies can push on this surface and cause the highchair to tip.
  4. Always clean the feeding surface before and after feeding to prevent any buildup of germs.
  5. If using a chair that attaches to a table, make sure that the table can support the extra weight. Make sure that there is not a table leg or crossbar within reach of the baby’s feet as he can push on this and dislodge the chair.

Strollers

  1. Make sure that the stroller is locked into place prior to placing your baby inside.
  2. Make sure that your baby cannot reach the release mechanism to fold up the stroller.
  3. Always set the brakes prior to placing your baby in the stroller and anytime that you are going to let go of the stroller handle.
  4. Always buckle your child into the stroller.
  5. Never leave a baby unattended in a stroller.
  6. Use the sunshade or a blanket when in direct sunlight.
  7. Do not hang any items on the handle of your stroller as this weight can cause the stroller to tip.

Car Seats/Booster Seats
Car accidents kill more children age 1-19 than any other cause. Properly restraining your child can prevent the majority of these deaths. The biggest problem that we encounter is improper use of car seats. The following recommendations will help ensure the safety of your child.

  1. Never use a seat made before 1981 when federal safety guidelines went into effect.
  2. Make sure you purchase a car seat that will fit easily and securely in your car.
  3. Always use a rear facing seat for babies under one year or under 20 pounds.
  4. Never put a car seat in the front seat with an airbag.
  5. Always follow manufacturer instructions for installing the seat.
  6. Use a locking clip on the seatbelt if it does not stay locked on it’s own. Remember that the seat should only move about one inch when pulled on.
  7. Make sure that all straps are buckled firmly.
  8. Always check the temperature of the seat and the buckle when the car has been in the sun to assure that it will not burn your baby.
  9. Never leave a child in the car alone, even if the car is running and the air is on.

The Kitchen
There are multiple, potential hazards in any room but especially the kitchen. Here are some tips to prevent injury.

  1. Make sure you have a childproof lock on the cabinet where you keep any chemicals (typically under the sink). Some parents childproof all cabinets.
  2. Keep all sharp instruments out of reach, preferably in a locked drawer.
  3. Unplug all appliances so that they cannot be turned on by a curious baby.
  4. Always know where your child/pet is when you are walking and carrying hot liquids.
  5. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so that your child cannot grab them.
  6. If your stove has burner knobs at the front, use knob covers or remove knobs to prevent your child from turning burners or gas on.
  7. Use a stove shield to protect against wandering fingers from touching the hot surface.
  8. Use an oven lock to prevent your child from opening the door and climbing on the open door. The oven can tip.
  9. Never use a microwave to warm a bottle as it can heat unevenly and cause burns.
  10. Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.

The Bathroom
You may want to place a childproof latch on the bathroom door to prevent unsupervised access to the bathroom. The following considerations should be taken.

  1. It only takes a few inches of water for a baby to drown. Never leave a child unattended in a bathtub, even if in a bath ring or seat.
  2. As your child moves out of a bath seat and into the tub, use a nonslip bath mat and cover the spout with a soft rubber cushion.
  3. Keep the toilet seat down and use a seat lock to prevent access to the toilet. A child can lean into the toilet, fall in head first, and drown.
  4. Hot water heaters should be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less to prevent burns.
  5. Start the cold water first and turn off the hot water first.
  6. Medicine should be stored in a locked cabinet and in containers with childproof caps.
  7. Never leave hairdryers, curling irons, or razors plugged in.

General Home Safety
There are a few safeguards you should consider for your entire house. The following is a list of general safety concerns.

  1. Cover all outlets with outlet covers.
  2. Block all electrical cords that have to be plugged in so that your child cannot get to the plugs and pull them out or chew on them.
  3. Elevate the pull strings for your blinds so that they are out of reach. If the strings have a loop, cut the loop so that you have two separate strands.
  4. Keep an eye out for small objects that can be picked up and put in a mouth.
  5. Install smoke detectors in all rooms and check the batteries monthly. Change batteries at least once a year.
  6. Use safety gates at the top and bottom of any stairs.
  7. Anchor tall furniture such as bookcases to the wall. As your child gets older and can walk around, anchor all furniture in his room to the wall. Children will pull out drawers and use them as steps to get to the top. The furniture can tip over and cause serious injury or death.
  8. Consider corner protectors on your furniture.
  9. Never leave windows unlocked.
  10. Never leave plastic bags lying around. They are a serious choking hazard.
  11. Firearms should always be locked up and unloaded. Ammunition should be locked in a separate location.

The Pool

  1. Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.
  2. If you have a pool, it should have a 4 foot vertical slat fence around the entire pool with a self-locking gate.
  3. A power safety cover can be used but is not a substitute for a fence.
  4. Have rescue equipment such as a shepherd’s hook or life preserver at the pool.
  5. Always use a life vest when your child is in the pool. Air floats can deflate at any point and be dangerous.
  6. Know CPR in case there is an emergency.
  7. If there is a pond, river, water retention area, or lake in your backyard, restrict access with a fence as well. Remember, it only takes a few inches of water for a baby to drown.

Pets
Children are much more likely to be bitten by an animal than adults. Babies and young toddlers should never be left alone with a pet. The following are some safety guidelines to help you child and your pet remain safe.

  1. Never leave your child alone with a pet.
  2. Teach your child not to put her face near an animal.
  3. Make sure your pet is fully immunized.
  4. Gradually introduce your pet to your new baby and allow the pet to sniff and lick. Telling a pet no constantly promotes a negative association toward the baby.
  5. As your child begins to crawl, watch closely as he will try to crawl onto your pet and grab tails, ears, etc.
  6. If your pet ever snaps at your child, strongly consider getting rid of the pet to avoid a serious injury down the road.