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Safety Tips
 
Baby Safety Month 2020 Homepage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

The Basics

  • Ideally, the best time to baby-proof is early in your pregnancy before you register so you can include needed safety items on your registry list.
  • The best way to baby-proof? Get down on your hands and knees and think like a baby! This is a great activity for both mom and dad since males and females tend to look and inspect different aspects of the home and safety measures in general.
  • Take care of all the obvious hazards such as exposed electrical sockets and blind cords, but be on the lookout for those not-so-obvious items like empty dishwashers, hanging tablecloths that can be easily pulled down, and poisonous plants.
  • Babies at any age are curious and want to touch, feel, lick, smell, and listen to anything and everything they can get their little hands on. Your job is to make him or her part of your home as much as possible. After all, this new addition is not a temporary guest and should be able to safely explore every room in your home.
  • Consider child-proofing an ongoing process. Monitor your child's growth and development and always try to stay one step ahead. For example, don't wait until your baby starts crawling to put up stairway gates. Install them in advance so the entire family gets used to them and baby doesn't associate his new-found milestone with barriers.
  • If you are preparing for baby #2 or #3, don't underestimate your "seasoned" approach to baby-proofing from the first time around. In fact, having an older sibling creates additional hazards you should be aware of like small parts from toys and your toddlers ability to open doors, potty lids, and cabinets now.
  • Safest Option - Keep in mind that new products meeting current safety standards are the safest option.
  • Second-Hand Products - It is recommended secondhand products should not be used for baby. However, if it is necessary to use older products, make sure all parts are available, the product is fully functional, not broken, and has not been recalled.
  • Register your products - Through product registration, parents can establish a direct line of communication with the manufacturer should a problem arise with a product purchased. This information is NOT used for marketing purposes.
     

Sleep Safety

Creating a safe sleep environment for baby is the best thing you can do to ensure the first years are happy and healthy. Each year hundreds of deaths occur when children are placed in a sleep environment that is not specially designed for children. While every family is unique, it's best to determine your best sleep plan and what's right for your entire family. With some careful planning, naptime and nighttime can be a pleasant experience for both you and your baby. Make every night a safe night!

  • The safest place for baby to sleep is in a bare, fully functional, properly assembled, JPMA Certified crib.
  • Before you use a crib, check to make sure the crib has not been recalled.
  • Make sure there are no missing, loose, or broken parts or improperly installed screws, brackets or other hardware on the crib or the mattress support. Check the stability and hardware of the crib often. Do not substitute hardware. Only use hardware obtained directly from the manufacturer.
  • Always use a properly fitting mattress as infants can suffocate in gaps between a poorly fitting mattress and the crib sides or ends.
  • Room-share, instead of bed-share, for the first year.
  • If using a baby monitor with cords, make sure all cords are out of arm's reach of your child. Never place any item in or on the crib that has cords, strings, etc. as babies can become entangled and strangle in these items. At least three feet away is where your monitor should stay.
  • Avoid strangulation hazards and never place the crib or toddler bed near windows with cords from blinds or drapes.
  • When your child is able to pull to a standing position, set the mattress to the lowest position and remove any objects that could serve as steps for climbing out.
  • Mobiles should be removed from the crib when baby can push up on hands and knees or pull up to standing position.
  • It's time to move your child to a toddler bed when he or she begins to climb out or reaches a height of 35 in.
For Babies Under 12 Months of Age
  • Normal, healthy infants should ALWAYS sleep on their backs unless otherwise advised by a pediatrician.
  • Only a fitted sheet, mattress pad, and/or waterproof pad should be used under baby.
  • Never use pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, pillow-like stuffed toys, or other pillow-like products in the crib.
  • Do not overdress your baby. Consider using a wearable blanket or other sleep clothing as an alternative to any covering. For newborns, consider swaddling.


Car Seat Safety

This important responsibility begins with selecting a child car seat and using it properly from the moment you bring baby home to every car ride after that. All 50 states have laws that require the use of a car seat. All car seats manufactured today are designed to meet stringent safety standards set by the federal government.

  • Children should ride rear-facing until they reach the maximum rear-facing weight or height allowed by the instructions.
  • Children who exceed rear-facing limits should ride in forward-facing car seats with a harness.
  • Children who exceed the forward-facing harness limits should ride in booster seats until seat belts alone fit correctly.
  • Follow the car seat instructions for proper use and your state law and register your car seat with the manufacturer.
  • The back seat is the safest place for children under 13 to ride.
  • Do not use a car seat or booster car seat that:
    • is second-hand, especially if it is beyond its expiration date.
    • has ever been involved in a crash.
    • is missing the manufacturer's label showing the name of the manufacturer, model number, and date of manufacture.
  • Register your car seat! Car seats could be recalled for safety reasons, and you must register your car seat to be reached in the event of a recall. Call the manufacturer customer service line listed on your car seat labels or visit the manufacturer's website to register.
  • Car seats expire! Check your labels and instructions for the expiration date.
  • Ensure everyone in the car is buckled up! Unrestrained passengers can be thrown around in a sudden stop or crash, possibly being injured and/or injuring others in the car.
  • Prevent Heatstroke!
    • Never leave your child alone in a car, not even during a quick trip to the store.
    • Keep car doors and trunks locked and keep key fobs out of reach.
    • Create reminders like placing a stuffed animal or other memento in your child's car seat when it's empty and move the toy to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.
    • Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
  • Air Travel - Taking your child's car seat along when traveling is recommended. Most car seats with harnesses are approved for use in an aircraft, with a label that states "This Restraint is Certified for Use in Motor Vehicles and Aircraft."
    • Booster seats are labeled, "This Restraint is Not Certified for Use in Aircraft."

    Pack your booster car seat as luggage so you have it at your destination.

Furniture Tip-Over Safety

Young children are often curious little climbers, and many parents may not realize the hazard presented by unsecured furniture. About 10 children under age six visit an emergency room every day due to injuries received when a piece of furniture – usually a chest or dresser – topples over. And worse, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about four children under age six die every year in furniture tip-over accidents, and another five are killed when unsecured furniture plus a TV fall.

Parents can lessen the risk of tip-over accidents by taking these simple, low-cost steps:  

  • Secure all chests, dressers and bookshelves to the wall. Lightweight furniture as short as 27 inches has fallen and caused injury and even death. New furniture should come with tip restraint hardware.Find tip restraint kits for older furniture in the baby-proofing section of stores that carry hardware or baby products.
  • Don’t wait until your baby is toddling to anchor! Anchor at the same time you cover outlets, lock cabinets and gate the stairs.
  • Remove temptations. Keep remote controls, toys and other potentially enticing items off the tops of TVs and furniture where children can see but not reach them.
  • Always place TVs on low, sturdy bases intended for electronics and place the TV as far back as possible. Always anchor the TV to the furniture or to the wall. When possible, wall-mount flat screens for optimum safety.
  • Never place a TV on furniture not designed to hold a TV. Chests, dressers, nightstands and bookshelves misused this way are hazardous.

Installing Furniture Tip Restraints in Four Easy Steps

Always install the tip restraints that come with new furniture by following the manufacturer’s installation instructions. For existing furniture, you can find furniture tip restraints or anchors in the baby-proofing section of stores that carry hardware or other baby products. Follow the installation instructions included with the restraints, which will typically include these four basic steps:

1. Locate a wall stud.

Tip restraints are most secure when anchored in a wall stud. To find the nearest stud behind your furniture, use an inexpensive, battery-operated “stud-finder,” which you can find in home improvement stores. Mark the center of the stud with a pencil.

2. Install the wall bracket.

Attach the wall bracket in the stud you marked at a height just below the top of the furniture being anchored.

3. Attach bracket to the furniture.

Attach a bracket to the back of the furniture, positioning it in the center of the dresser or cabinet. Be sure the furniture bracket is installed into the solid wood “case” that frames the piece; not the thin, plywood backing typically found on the back of a chest or dresser. Pull to make sure the furniture bracket is secure.

4. Install and/or tighten the strap.

Position the furniture so the two brackets align, then thread the plastic strap through the brackets and tighten. If using a tip restraint with a fabric strap, pull the strap until snug. Do not overtighten. Check the brackets periodically to make sure they remain secure.

NOTE:  Larger pieces of furniture may require two restraints. Make sure at least one is anchored in a wall stud. Hiring a child-proofing expert is another option, particularly for larger and taller pieces of furniture, antiques, brick walls or other special considerations.

For more anchoring tips and how-to videos, go to www.AnchorIt.gov.


       
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