Infant Safety Tips For Everyone.
When your child hurts, you hurt for them as well! While it's not possible to protect your precious children from everything in this world, some advance planning and preparation on your part can prevent many unfortunate illnesses and injuries.
Good organizing techniques take into account infant safety, accident and injury prevention. Keeping your home clean, organized and child-proofed will go a long way to keeping your little ones from harm.
On this page, you will find helpful infant safety information such as:
Infant Safety -- Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the term for the inexplicable sudden death of an infant child under age one. Scientists and doctors have yet to determine a cause for SIDS. However, the following tips are recommended as a precaution to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Use a firm mattress in the baby's crib.
- Use crib sheets that fit snug and tight.
- Do not place pillows or stuffed toys in the area baby is sleeping.
- Avoid using fluffy blankets, pillows or other items that could create an "air dam."
- Do not put baby to sleep on a waterbed or other surface that is not firm.
- Make your home and car a "smoke free" environment (better for everyone).
- Baby should sleep on his/her back.
For more information on SIDS, go to: SIDS Alliance or NICHD
Infant Safety -- Prevent Drowning
Recent statistics place drowning as the second most common cause of accidental death among children. Children under the age four are the most at risk group.
It can happen very fast. It takes as little as one inch of water and a few moments for a child to drown. Drowning can occur in many places -- bathtub, sink, toilet bowl or a bucket of standing water.
Here are some tips to help prevent drowning accidents:
- Never leave a child unattended while bathing, not even for a minute!
- If the phone rings while bathing your baby, let the machine take a message or take the baby out of the water and take him/her with you.
- Plan your bathing time when there is the least possibility of interruptions to your schedule.
- Don't make an older sibling responsible for the safety of a small baby in the bathtub or around water -- children get distracted easily.
- If you have a pool, jacuzzi, pond or other body of water on your property, be sure to have adequate fencing and child proof locks. Child proof the area completely.
- When purchasing pool fencing, make sure the fence slats (metal, wood or any other material) are spaced close enough together so that a small toddler cannot squeeze through the opening.
- Supervise your children when cleaning -- don't allow them around buckets of water (indoors or outside).
Infant Safety -- Prevent Falling Accidents
One of the major ways newborn children become injured involve falls. Here are some handy tips to prevent falling accidents:
- Don't leave your baby alone on a high surface without proper barriers to prevent him/her from rolling off.
- The floor of a crib with sides locked in the upright position without pillows or toys is usually the safest place for a newborn.
- Keep one hand on your baby at all times when they are on a high surface -- they can roll off very quickly!
- Be sure to utilize proper baby gates or other barriers to keep baby away from stairways and other dangerous areas.
Infant Safety -- Prevent Choking
Choking can happen quickly as babies and small children tend to put everything in their mouth. Here are some tips to prevent choking:
- Keep any and all small objects out of reach of baby.
- Small toys that belong to older siblings are especially dangerous. Older children can become forgetful and distracted and leave these lying around. Help your older children be vigilant about keeping small toys in their rooms and up out and of the way of the babies and toddlers.
- Don't put the baby's pacifier on a string or cord. Better to misplace a pacifier than your baby chokes on the string.
- Don't feed pieces of hard candy or other foods to babies and small children as they can easily block airways.
- Make sure toys are age appropriate.
- Try to avoid toys with cords or pull strings.
- Make sure to keep balloon ribbons/strings and curtain and mini blind cords away from babies and small children.
- Do not use latex or rubber balloons for children under the age of five.
Infant Safety -- Avoiding & Preventing Scalding/Burns
Burns are painful and preventable. These tips apply to children of all ages as well as adults.
- Don't carry a lighted cigarette while holding your baby. Better still, quit smoking!
- Do not carry hot liquids (tea, coffee, etc.) while carrying your child.
- Keep all hot items well out of the reach of baby and small children.
- Make sure to keep metal parts of seat belts and car seats out of the sun and away from baby's skin.
- Keep baby out of direct sun. Keep baby in shade during the hottest part of the day.
- Use sunscreen made for babies (after age 6 mos.).
- Keep water heater set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding
- Install safety caps on all electrical outlets.
- Keep electrical cords out of reach of babies and toddlers.
- Be sure to install smoke alarms in your home and check the batteries regularly.
- Utilize flame-retardant sleepwear.
- In the kitchen, make sure pot and pan handles are turned toward the back of the stove and away from the reach of small curious hands.
Infant Safety -- Crib & Playpen Safety
Cribs and playpens are meant to be used to keep baby safe. Utilize these tips to insure baby is protected.
- Follow the instructions above regarding SIDS.
- Make sure cribs and playpens meet current safety standards. Check the Internet for safety recalls.
- Make sure slats of cribs and playpens are no more than 2-3/8" apart to prevent baby's head from getting caught between the slats.
- Make sure cribs do not have unsafe decorative knobs or cut-outs that can be dangerous.
- Crib mattress should fit firmly against sides as well as front and back so baby cannot slip between mattress and the crib.
- Be careful about using bumper pads as they could cause smothering.
- Be sure cribs and playpens have no sharp edges -- including hardware (hinges, screws, nails, etc.)
- If using an older crib, check for cracked or chipped paint. Older paint treatments contained lead and could cause lead poisoning if baby chews on the crib or puts paint chips in his/her mouth.
- Make sure side rails on crib and playpens are up and locked when baby is in his/her crib.
- Keep mattress in lowest position in the crib so that baby cannot climb out.
- When crib rail is lowered, keep one hand on your baby all the time.
- Never use plastic bags of any type of a crib mattress.
- Do not string toys across the crib opening as they could wrap around the baby's neck.
- Never put baby on soft surface, water bed, bean bag chair, pillow, etc.
- Check to be sure buttons on baby's clothing are larger than netting holes to prevent them being caught and baby choking on the buttons.
- Always keep close supervision on your baby.
Infant Safety -- High Chairs, Strollers, and Walker Safety
High chairs, strollers and walkers are important items. Use these tips to keep baby safe when utilizing these handy equipment items.
- Check for any rough edges or sharp corners and surfaces before placing baby in the high chair.
- If utilizing a public high chair (restaurant, etc.) wipe the chair down with a baby wipe or anti-bacterial wipe before placing baby in chair.
- Place baby securely in chair and utilize the safety straps. There should be a strap between the legs as well as a waist strap to keep baby secure.
- Keep high chair out of high traffic areas and away from the kitchen walkway where hot foods are being handled.
- Don't place high chair near stoves, heaters or other hot objects.
- If utilizing a stroller that folds, be sure all parts are firmly locked and check for sharp objects/edges (hardware, etc.) before placing baby in the stroller
- Although very fun, walkers tend to have a bad safety rating and many sources recommend not using them. Some studies have also shown that they can hinder proper muscle development.
Infant Safety -- Poison, Smoke and Other Health Concerns
Accidental poisoning is a real safety concern for babies, toddlers and small children. Second hand smoke also causes many problems for the youngest members of society.
Take these infant safety tips to heart!
- Keep the Poison Control Center telephone number near all telephones in your house. Consider storing the number on your cell phone as well.
- National hotline number is 1-800-222-1222.
- Keep household plants (indoor and outdoor varieties) out of reach as many of them are poisonous.
- Make sure all medicines, vitamins, etc. have child resistant caps and are securely fastened.
- Put child proof locks on all cabinets.
- Store household chemicals and cleaning products in a high shelf or cabinet out of reach of babies and small children.
- Never refer to medicine of any kind as candy.
- Lead poisoning is a real concern. Children from 6 mos. to 6 years are at the greatest risk. Even a small amount of lead can cause damage as their bodies absorb more quickly than adults. Lead can be found in paint, paint glaze, soil, some cosmetics, folk remedies and medicines, toys and household objects made in other countries (Asia, China, Mexico, etc.), cans of imported foods (soldering), water transmitted through copper, bronze or old lead plumbing, household dust clinging to many items containing lead, older paint on furniture, walls, baseboards, etc. Homes build prior to 1950 most likely contain lead-based paint. Some versions of house paint made up to the late 1970's may have low levels of lead. A blood test is the only way to know if your child has lead poisoning. Consult your physician and/or local public health official.
- Second hand smoke can make affect even a healthy baby. It can cause ear infections, colds, wheezing, pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis and possibly SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome -- see information above).
- Never smoke while pregnant.
- Don't smoke around your baby and don't let others do so, either.
- Try to smoke only outside as smoke can cling to everything in the home, especially fabrics.
- Don't smoke in the car for the same reasons.
- Smoking in small enclosed areas increases second hand smoke exposure to everyone even if you open a window.
- For your health and the health of those you love, consider quitting and get help if needed.
Use the infant safety tips to keep you, your children, and those you love safe.
Have a long, happy and healthy life!
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