A child’s safety is of utmost importance to all parents. As a new parent, you are typically aware of baby safety basics, such as covering outlets with safety plugs when they begin crawling, always using a car seat, putting babies to sleep on their back, and keeping medications out of their reach. Yet,
there are many other safety tips that are lesser known, but are just as important. In celebrating Baby Safety month, here are my top tips for keeping your babies safe:
*Keep magnets out of reach — small magnets may seem harmless, but can easily be swallowed by babies and young children. When a magnet enters a child’s body, it can cause significant internal damage. If you believe your child may have swallowed a magnet, seek medical attention immediately.
*Be aware of recalled baby products — one of the top ten hidden hazards in the home are recalled products. Check items you already have, especially second-hand items, and visit www.recalls.gov to make sure the items have not been recalled. This is also a great site to visit on occasion to stay on
top of items that you use over your babies’ stages of growth (believe it or not, they won’t always fit in those car seat carriers!).
*Prevent tipovers — tipovers of furniture in the home are a leading cause of injury to children. Items such as dressers, TVs and bookshelves should be tightly secured to the wall to prevent a tipover from occurring. Most big box, hardware and baby stores sell special hardware that makes this process fairly easy. With some hardware and a little of your time, this common childhood injury could be completely avoidable.
*Store away liquid dishwasher/laundry packets — each year, thousands of children are exposed to and injured from liquid dishwasher and laundry packets. Due to their small size and bright, colorful packaging, they can be perceived as candy. These small pods pose a risk to eyes and if ingested. Consider cabinet locks in your kitchen to keep these and other potentially harmful cleaning products out of the reach of your children.
*Be mindful of family pets — even typically gentle family pets can react the wrong way and injure a baby. A majority of dog bites occurring to babies and young children are done by the family’s own pet. No matter how friendly or loveable your family pet is, always supervise your pet when around your children.
*Prevent crib climbing — once your child has made the break out of the crib a few times, it’s probably time to consider a crib tent or a toddler bed. Serious injury can occur when a child is scaling out of their bed, such as broken bones and even concussions. Adjust the mattress to the lowest level and try not to leave items in the crib (i.e. stuffed animals) that a child can use to hoist themselves up.
*Be wise about water safety — even a small amount of water can cause a small child to drown. Keep pools fenced (and ask neighbors to do the same), and never leave your child unattended near any types of water such as pools, buckets, bathtubs, etc.
*Avoid heat stroke — it is easier than you think for a child to die of heat stroke. Never leave your children alone in a vehicle and in any place they can become overheated (even overdressed in a stroller).
*Prevent falls — we typically think to put baby gates at the top of a staircase so a child can’t fall down the stairs, but we rarely think about putting one at the bottom. A child can very easily crawl up the stairs and fall backwards down.
*Keep the burns at bay — never leave a cup of coffee, a bowl of soup or any hot food unattended or in the reach of your babies. The ER sees thousands of severe burns each year stemming from hot foods and liquids. Also, set your water heater to 120m Fahrenheit. At 140m, a child can receive 3rd degree burns in 3 seconds.
*Test your smoke alarms — most homes have fire alarms, yet 2/3 of child deaths and injuries occur in residential homes with outdated alarms. Test the alarms once a month by pushing the alarm button. Also make sure batteries are replaced 1-2 times per year. Any alarm that’s 10+ years or
older should be replaced.
With these simple tips, you should be well on your way to keeping your babies safe in and even out of your home!