September Shines a Spotlight on Baby Safety
September is Baby Safety Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of keeping our youngest family members safe and secure. As a parent, ensuring your child’s well-being is paramount, but that can be especially daunting and nerve-wracking with babies.
In this blog post, we’ll explore essential baby safety tips and guidelines to help you create a secure environment for your little ones.
Safe Sleep Practices
One of the most critical aspects of baby safety is ensuring your infant sleeps safely. Follow these guidelines to create a secure sleep environment:
- Always place your baby on their back for every sleep, including naps. This reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Use a firm and flat mattress in a crib or bassinet that meets current safety standards. Avoid placing your baby on soft surfaces like sofas or armchairs.
- Keep the crib bare. Remove all soft bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, and bumper pads from the crib. These items can pose suffocation hazards.
- Share the room, not the bed. While it’s recommended to room-share with your baby for the first six months, avoid bed-sharing to prevent accidental suffocation or entrapment.
The Academy of Pediatrics offers more information on how to keep your sleeping baby safe here.
Childproof Your Home
Your home can be a potential hazard zone for curious toddlers. Childproofing with the tips below is crucial to keep them safe.
- Install safety gates to block off stairways and rooms with potential dangers.
- Secure heavy furniture like bookshelves and dressers to the wall to prevent tip-overs.
- Cover electrical outlets with childproof covers to prevent electrical accidents.
- Install cabinet and drawer locks to keep hazardous items like cleaning supplies out of reach.
- Install window guards or locks to prevent falls and keep blind cords out of reach to prevent strangulation.
A full list of ideas to keep your babies and young children safe is available from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Car Seat Safety
Properly installed car seats are essential for your child’s safety while traveling. Keep these tips in mind:
- Select a car seat that is appropriate for your child’s age, weight, and height. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation.
- Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until they outgrow the seat’s height or weight limit, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Ensure the harness straps are snug and secure, with the chest clip at armpit level.
- Car seats have expiration dates which can be affected by the manufacturer’s production methods, whether the seat was involved in a car wreck and more. Be familiar with what to look for with this article.
On the Go Safety
Keeping baby safe when you’re not in the car or at home involves being mindful of things like:
- Never leave your child unattended in a stroller. Always keep them within view.
- Buckle up baby every time — even just for short strolls — and use restraints properly.
- Keep baby’s hands clear when unfolding and folding strollers.
- Be mindful about what you put in the parent accessory trays, such as hot coffee, so it doesn’t accidentally spill onto baby and cause burns or bruises.
- If your child falls asleep in a stroller, move them to a safe sleep setting as soon as you can. Strollers should not be used for unattended, extended or overnight sleeping.
Prevent Heat-Related Injuries
- Never leave a young child alone in a car, not even for a moment.
- Keep car doors and trunks locked and keep key fobs out of reach.
- Create reminders by putting something you’ll need soon after arrival at your destination in the back seat – a briefcase, purse, or cellphone or place a stuff toy on the front seat as a visual cue reminding you to “Park. Look. Lock.”
- Arrange for your childcare center to call if your child is unexpectedly absent after the day begins.
Prevent Choking Hazards
Babies and toddlers tend to explore the world by putting everything in their mouths. Take precautions to prevent choking accidents by:
- Keep small objects out of reach. Regularly scan for small items that your child could swallow, such as coins, buttons, or toy parts.
- When introducing solid foods, always cut them into bite-sized pieces to reduce the risk of choking.
- Be cautious with toys and choose age-appropriate toys without small parts that can be easily swallowed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a comprehensive guide of things to think about here.
Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death among young children. Take water safety seriously and follow these guidelines:
- Never leave your child unattended near water, whether it’s a bathtub, pool, or any other water source.
- If you have a pool, ensure it is fenced and has a self-closing gate.
- Consider enrolling your child in swim lessons when they are old enough.
- Babies need special care during bath time. Test the water temperature, keep a hand on the baby at all times and never, ever leave a baby unattended in a bath.
For more information on water safety and babies, see this article.
First Aid + CPR Training
- Enroll in a first aid and CPR course specifically designed for infants and young children. Every parent and adult in the household should have basic knowledge of first aid and CPR and stay up to date with reviewing and practicing the core techniques.
- Keep emergency numbers handy, including your pediatrician and poison control.
Baby Safety Month serves as a reminder of the ongoing responsibility we have as parents and adults to keep our children safe. By following these guidelines and remaining vigilant, you can create a secure environment for your little ones to grow, explore, and thrive.
Remember, as your child grows, the safety measures you need to take will evolve. Stay informed and adapt to their changing needs to ensure their safety and well-being at every stage of development.
Let’s make every month baby safety month!