September is Baby Safety Awareness Month.
More than one-third of child injuries occur at home. In fact, young kids have the highest risk of being hurt or injured at home–because that’s where they spend the bulk of their time.
Let’s face it–babies are adventurous, and accidents happen. At the same time, knowing the stats, risks, danger zones, and ways to limit the occurrence of these accidents, you can create a safer, more secure home for you and your baby.
Since September is Baby Safety Awareness Month, let’s take some time to go over some baby safety tips for you and your family!
Baby Safety Tips
First and foremost, babies are adventurous. Even if your little tyke can’t yet walk or crawl, those little feet can wiggle around, meaning there’s always the danger of things falling on them–or worse–falling off a surface.
That’s why it’s critically important not only to always keep constant attention on your young one but to also avoid leaving him or her alone on a changing table, bed, sofa, chair, or other elevated surface. Instead, put your baby in an enclosed, ground-level safe-space like a crib or playpen.
Just as babies like to adventure, they also like to put things in their mouths. From food to household objects like batteries and cleaning supplies, make sure it’s all put away in safe locations–and baby-proof all containers if possible.
As for eating, never feed your baby hard pieces of food like fruits, peanuts, or popcorn. Instead, cut everything into small, thin pieces to minimize the risk of choking.
You might have the urge to get your little one up and walking as fast as possible, but don’t use a baby walker. Not only do they increase the risk of fall-related injuries, but they can also enable your little one to get to places he or she shouldn’t–like a hot stove or table with heavy objects on it.
Finally, your baby should ALWAYS sleep on his or her back. Consider a crib or bassinet with no pillows, toys, bumpers, or loose bedding and never let your baby sleep on a soft surface like a water bed or bean bag, as those can increase the risk of suffocation.
Remember–there’s no failsafe way to avoid every accident. However, if you practice a couple of safe habits, you can seriously minimize the risks.
Is Your Home Baby-Safe?
Practicing safe habits is only half the battle. It’s equally important to take active steps towards baby-proofing your home to ensure you’re minimizing every risk.
For example, cover all your unused electrical outlets with plugs to minimize the risk of electric shock. At the same time, keep all cords out of reach–as babies are tempted to chew on them.
Secure all your heavy furniture, like bookshelves or dressers, to the wall to avoid the risk of them toppling over and causing serious injury. You can also use safety latches–which can additionally be used on cabinets and doors–especially the ones with medicines and cleaning supplies.
Make sure your windows don’t open more than 4 inches and consider employing window guards to keep furniture away from windows–limiting the access from adventurous climbing.
Don’t forget about sharp corners. Use protective padding to eliminate hard right angles and edges. Baby gates are invaluable. Not only can they limit access to places with sharp corners, but they should also be placed at both the top and bottom of your stairs to reduce the risk of falls.
It goes without saying, but make sure your firearms are locked away securely in a safe if possible–or better yet, removed from the home. Anything dangerous should be somewhere where your baby has absolutely no chance of accidentally coming across them.
Finally, take steps to keep your hot surfaces–-like your stove–safe and inaccessible. Use stove knob covers, turn pot handles backwards when not in use, and be careful to eat hot foods, like soup or coffee, without your baby in your arms or lap.
Prevention is key. Baby-proofing your home can help you avoid injuries and trips to the emergency department.
Baby Safety On The Go
While the bulk of child injuries occur at home, there are still significant risks when you take your baby out. From car safety to sun protection to when to see the doctor, here are a few helpful tips.
Not only does your child behave better in a car seat, but they’re significantly safer in the event of a vehicle crash. However, it’s important to make sure you have the right car seat for your child–one that fits snugly and faces the rear of your vehicle. In addition, install your car seat correctly and follow the instructions it comes with. Use it every time your child travels in the car.
Babies aren’t able to sweat, which means they have a much higher risk of overheating than adults. With that said, on hot days, try to avoid time outside to 30 minutes or less–and keep your baby well-hydrated and protected from UV rays with a sun hat, umbrella, or sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30.
What about when your little one isn’t feeling so good?
For older children, a slight fever usually isn’t a big deal. However, the same temperature that might be insignificant for a 10-year-old can be an emergency for infants. Be sure to closely monitor your baby’s temperature when he or she is sick–and choose an accurate thermometer.
Ask your baby’s pediatrician which over-the-counter medications are safe for your child and the best course of treatment for mild colds and other minor illnesses and maladies.
Baby Safety Starts With You
As a new parent, you’re responsible for making sure your baby has everything he or she needs for a safe, healthy future.
Show your new bundle of joy how much he or she means to you by practicing healthy habits, baby-proofing your home and vehicle, and knowing the right steps to take in the event of an emergency.