September is Baby Safety Month and, with 4 million children being born to American families every year, safety is always a major consideration. It's hard for parents to anticipate all the potential dangers or safety problems children stumble upon. The trick to keeping a safe environment for your children is to stay one step ahead of them at all times. By spotting dangers before an injury happens, you can protect your children from harm and protect yourself from stress and heartache.
Preparing and child proofing your home is essential for a healthy, safe environment. These tools and strategies are critical to providing secure surroundings for your family and baby.
- Lay your baby on his or her back to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- We know that stuffed animals, bumpers and all those cute accessories make a baby’s crib seem warm and cozy. Unfortunately, they can often do more harm than good. Soft bedding can block a baby’s airway during sleep. A firm mattress covered with a tight-fitting crib sheet is all you need to make your baby sleep like a baby.
- Babies should not sleep on beds, sofas, recliners, chairs, soft surfaces, bouncy chairs or baby swings. If this happens, make sure to return your baby to a safe sleep environment.
- New parents have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind—and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better.
- Install safety gates to prevent access to stairwells, and correct wide-spaced stair rails by installing additional rails or netting.
- Cords on blinds and shades are an extreme choking hazard for babies. Keep cords up and out of reach for infants to ensure that choking or strangulation does not occur.
- Toddlers are naturally curious so it is important to lock away poisonous products. This means not only cleaning products, but medications and cosmetic items like nail polish, but also items household items such as perfumes, vitamins, bath oils, mouthwash, and aftershave.
- Install self-closing outlets on frequently used outlets and all outlets with something plugged into it. Outlet covers should be used on outlets that are seldom or never used.
For more tips on baby safety this month, visit the International Association for Child Safety’s website.