Baby Mom & Care

Baby safety basics

Written by admin

Keep your baby safe during his first birthday and beyond.

My husband and I were upstairs watching our children play one evening when our 10-month-old daughter crawled out of the room. Suddenly it collided: the gate at the top of the stairs was open.

Alyssa! I screamed as I plunged into the hall. She grabbed her by the ankle, a few inches before she reached the edge of the stairs.

I was lucky, but many parents are not. By following the tips below, you can help keep your baby safe during his first birthday and beyond.

Playing it safe:

Young children in as little as five centimeters of water can drown. According to the National Safe for Children Campaign, more than half of all infants drown in bathtubs. And shower rings don’t make bathtubs safer – such devices can tip over, or babies can slide through the leg holes.

  • Safe National Campaign for Children

The bottom line:

Never leave your child around the water unattended, even for a minute. Put the cleaning buckets away once you’re done. Use toilet locks. If you have a pool, experts recommend a fence that is at least five feet high and has self-locking gates.

Burns and Scalds

Disaster waiting to happen:

Your child loves to play with taps – that’s great with you. After all, the water heater is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, just as safety experts advise.

Playing it safe:

“This temperature setting simply means your child will not get a third-degree burn,” warns Daniel Laraki, MD, a fellow at the American Academy of Pediatrics and an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at Columbia University and Harlem Hospital Center. The 120-degree water rush can cause a lot of pain.

Other ways to prevent your child from getting burned:

Never carry hot drinks or use the stove while you are carrying them. Turn pot handles inward so they don’t bump into them and spill hot food. Push coffee makers and other appliances – with their cords – away from the edge of the counter.


Disaster waiting to happen:

Your baby needs a snack, so you can throw a handful of grapes on the highchair tray. What could be healthier than a fruit?

Playing it safe:

Never offer your child small, round foods such as grapes, sausages, hard candy, nuts, carrots, raisins, or popcorn – they can block and choke the trachea. Likewise, keep it away from small-sized items and toys with small parts. Be careful around balloons, and remove any residue that pops up.


Disaster waiting to happen:

When you visit a friend on a lovely spring day, you put your baby’s portable kindergarten under the guest room window, open the blinds, and head to the kitchen for a cup of tea.

Playing it safe:

In close proximity to a wobbly child, any kind of string can become a noose. Always make sure to tie window blind cords out of reach. Although baby laces are now illegal, you can inherit them as handmade clothes. If you do, rip them off and use them as rags.

Other tips to prevent choking:

Prams, high chairs, and other baby seating areas can also suffocate your baby if he slides far enough. Crotch straps are designed to prevent this from happening. Make sure to use them – even for a quick trip to the corner store.


Disaster waiting to happen:

One of your friends offered you her son’s baby walker. You’ve heard bad pedestrian propaganda, but you’re not worried – your child will be watching for whenever he’s inside.

Playing it safe:

Pedestrians affect up to half of the children who use them, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign. Nearly 80 percent of these children were supervised when the accident occurred – pedestrians roll over so quickly that there is often no time to intervene. No wonder the American Academy of Pediatrics warns of them. Instead, consider a play center that bounces or spins but doesn’t travel.

Other tips to prevent falls:

Keep ladders closed at the top and bottom. Attach your baby to the changing table, and always put your hand on it. Don’t leave it alone on the sofa or bed. Move furniture away from windows.



Disaster waiting to happen:

Your mother is coming to visit. Unbeknownst to you, she recently asked her pharmacist not to use baby safety caps on pill bottles, because her arthritis makes opening them more difficult.

Playing it safe:

Never assume the container has a safety cap, Dr. Laraki says – ask the owner or check it out for yourself. And since there is no foolproof lid, store medications, vitamins, detergents, and other household chemicals in a high, closed cupboard.

Other tips to prevent poisoning:

Many houseplants also pose a risk of poisoning. Put them out of your child’s reach, and remove any fallen leaves. Keep a poison control phone number on hand, along with a bottle of ipecac to induce vomiting – but only use it as directed by a doctor or poison control machine.


Disaster waiting to happen:

You have brought your newborn home from the hospital. Her bed is full of stuffed animals, a fluffy pillow, and a comfy duvet, and you can’t wait to fall asleep.

Playing it safe:

To reduce your child’s risk of choking, keep soft toys and bedding away from his crib, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises. The safest way to keep her warm at night is to dress her in a sleeper bed. But if you prefer a blanket, use a thin blanket. Place her feet at the bottom of the crib and place the blanket firmly under the mattress, making sure it does not rise above chest level. Always put your baby on his back to prevent SIDS.

And don’t keep your baby in his crib, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says. According to a recent CPSC study, nearly 600 children have died since 1990 as a result of sleeping in an adult bed. Many of them suffocate when a parent rolls on them or snaps between a mattress and a wall or a piece of furniture. Although some parenting experts argue that the risks posed by bed sharing have been exaggerated, the CPSC strongly cautions about this.

Car Seat Mistakes

Disaster waiting to happen:

Before taking the newborn for a ride, install a car seat next to you. After all, it’s much safer if you can see it, right?

Playing it safe:

If your car collides while your child is riding in front, the airbag can inflate and hit him with a crushing blow. The child should always be in the back, but it is not safe even if the car seat is not properly secured. A study by the National Safe for Children Campaign found that 85 percent of parents make at least one fatal mistake when using car seats. To make sure your child is properly seated, check the vehicle manual as well as the seat manual itself.

And remember these tips:

  • Your child must ride in a rear-facing car seat until at least the age of two.
  • The laces should be tight enough that there is only one finger between them and his chest.
  • The clip should be at armpit level.
  • The seat should be tilted at the appropriate angle and should move less than an inch when pushed in either direction.