All parents worry about keeping their children safe and healthy, especially new parents and parents who are about to bring their baby home for the first time. While you can’t prevent every slip and fall, there are a few essential things you can do to help reduce your baby or toddler’s chances of suffering an injury at home.
Implement Good Sleep Hygiene Habits
Sleep is one of the times when a baby or toddler can be vulnerable. Especially if they are sleeping in their own room at night. Implementing good sleep hygiene habits helps ensure a good night’s sleep, while also reducing the risk of an accident or SIDs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) counsels that babies should sleep on their back. The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome increases when sleeping on the stomach. The AAP also notes that swaddling can help a newborn to sleep better, and comforts them when they struggle to fall asleep on their own naturally.
Firm Mattress and Fitted Sheet
We recommend that you always follow manufacturers’ instructions when using equipment for young children. For infant sleeping, make sure that the mattress is firm and that fitted sheets are used. Also, assure that no loosely bunched material (sheets, blankets, pillows) are present in the crib.
Other Sleep Hygiene Tips For Babies & Toddlers
Your child’s sleep conditions will go a long way toward helping them fall asleep and stay asleep, as well as sleep safely. This includes some of the following sleep hygiene tips.
- Keep their bedroom relatively cool so your baby doesn’t get overheated.
- Don’t use pillows or bumper pads.
- Remove any fluffy toys from the crib before putting them down to sleep.
- If you do let your child sleep with a pacifier make sure it doesn’t have strings attached.
- Ensure that your baby is sleeping in a 100% smoke-free environment.
- When possible, place your baby in his or her crib when fed and drowsy, rather than after he or she has already fallen asleep. This will promote teaching the baby to sleep on their own.
Tips For Baby Proofing Your Home
Newborns are largely immobile and don’t require much in the way of baby-proofing safety beyond obvious common sense things like keeping them in a smoke-free environment and away from dangerous areas like the cooktop range in the kitchen. But, make sure you are watching your baby when on a changing table. Babies often roll over sooner than you think! And never leave a baby unattended on a bed. Somehow, they get to the edge and can fall off.
Once a baby starts crawling or walking the potential for danger and accidents increasing exponentially. If possible, try to implement the following tips to help baby-proof your home.
Install Safety Latches
Cabinets, drawers, and cupboards all need to have safety latches installed to keep the baby from accessing things like cleaning supplies, tools, and potentially sharp kitchen equipment.
If you have a gun in the home, it should be stored locked and unloaded. Ammunition should be stored in a separate, locked location.
Install Outlet Plugs
Babies are curious, and once they start crawling and walking something as simple as an electrical outlet can be tempting to insert items into, which can increase electrocution risk as well as a fire risk.
Store Dangerous Items Up High
Make a point to move any heavy or potentially dangerous items to higher shelves and cupboards or elsewhere, so that even a walking baby cannot reach them.
Secure Drawers & Bookcases
Babies who are learning to walk often lean on or pull on furniture. An unsecured dresser might be pulled away from the wall to crash down on them causing serious injury.
Prevent Access To Mini-Blinds
Mini blinds or Venetian blinds with their long drawstrings and connectors can be a very serious strangulation hazard for a crawling or walking baby. Worse still, their curiosity attracts them to the drawstrings.
Bathing & Bathroom Safety Tips
Babies need frequent bathing, and a bathroom is also a place of curiosity when they start to crawl and walk.There are some important safety measures to install in the bathroom, as well as basic things to keep in mind when bathing your baby.
Install A Toilet Latch
It might not seem like a big deal to you at first, but the toilet is a serious drowning hazard for babies who have just learned to walk. Especially if the bowl is low. A toilet latch is easy to install and operate for an adult, while also preventing your baby from accidentally falling in. It will also go a long way toward preventing toys from being accidentally dropped in the bowl and flushed.
Secure All Bathing Supplies
A low cabinet or a low shelf with bathing supplies or even things like Epsom salt can tempt a curious baby to play. Babies also tend to put a lot of things in their mouths, which significantly increases their risk of accidentally poisoning. All shampoos, bathing supplies, and especially cleaning products need to be far above what your baby can reach or in a securely locked cabinet.
Keep All Medications Out Of Reach
Babies will curiously put just about anything in their mouth. Even an aspirin accidentally left on the ledge of a sink can lead to a severe poisoning incident. If your child does get into medicines, stay calm, and call your local poison control (1-800-POISON1) to help determine what to do next.
Never leave your baby unattended for even a second while in the bathtub. Even a baby who can sit up on their own could accidentally slip and drown in just a few inches of water.
Empty The Bathtub Immediately
Even babies that can walk and crawl can still drown in just a few inches of water. You might pick them up out of the tub to dry them off, or leave the portable baby bathtub full, only to have your curious baby fall in later.
Baby Transportation Safety Tips
Always Use A Rated Car Seat
Babies need to always be secured in an up-to-date car seat when they are being transported. Even if you have a long drive and your baby starts to fuss or cry, you should never take them out of their car seat while the car is moving. Not even to change a messy diaper. If you do need to take the baby out of the car seat, pull over and park at the next available opportunity.
Use A Rear-Facing Car Seat
Babies should always be transported in a rear-facing car seat. It’s only when they are older than 2 years that they can safely sit in a front-facing car seat.
Install The Car Seat In The Back
Whenever possible, the baby’s rear-facing car seat should be installed in the back seat.
Protecting Your Baby From The Elements
Babies need to be protected from severe temperatures and weather. Babies do not regulate their body temperature as efficiently as adults, and as a result are prone to extreme hot and cold. Be careful not to overdress them, and never leave an infant alone in a car or a closed bathroom because they can overheat easily. On the other hand, make sure they are adequately dressed, including head covering, in the cold. Babies can go outside on cold days, as long as the temperature is above freezing with the wind chill. For newborns, a good rule of thumb is to dress them in one layer warmer than the parents. Be mindful of changes in temperature, for example, how warm they are while riding in the car all bundled up with the heater on.
If you are taking your baby out in their stroller for a walk on a sunny day, you should cover the opening with a lightweight cloth or some type of sunshade.
It is not recommended that babies less than six months old be in direct sunlight. If the child must be in the sun (and after six months of age), you should apply some baby sunscreen with at least an SPF rating of 30 or more.