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Keeping your baby safe
Toss out airborne amusements that have strings longer than 7 inches. Remove even mobiles with shorter strings once Baby can sit up and might be able to reach them.
More than a third of injuries from falls occur when babies tumble from furniture, says a study in Pediatrics. That safety strap is there for a good reason. Buckle up!
“Check that your crib meets current safety standards and has all the right pieces,” says Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “If the sides go down or you can fit a can of soda between the slats, it’s not a safe crib for your baby. Stuffed animals, bumpers, and cute accessories may make a baby’s crib seem warm and cozy, but they can do more harm than good. A firm mattress covered with a tight-fitting crib sheet is all you need to make your baby sleep safe and sound.”
About half of all crib deaths occur when infants suffocate on bedding — such as blankets, pillows, and bumpers — according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). And skip sleep positioners, too; babies can slide off and suffocate.
Batten Down Your Bathroom
Splashing in the tub: good times! However, this room is safe only with supervision. Keep the door shut so Baby can’t wander in without you. Tots can drown in just 1 inch of H2O.
Even lotions, oils, and soaps that are made for babies can be toxic if consumed, so stash them far from reach. Keep items that pose a cut or burn risk, such as razors, curling irons, and hair dryers, in a cabinet with a childproof latch.
Childproof packaging isn’t enough to keep your kid safe — little fingers can be nimble! “Secure all vitamins and drugs in a locked drawer or cabinet that’s out of reach,” urges Joel Clingenpeel, M.D., a pediatric emergency room physician in Hampton Roads, Virginia. “And never refer to any pills as ‘candy.’”
A cushioned guard on the spout will prevent bumps, and a skid-resistant pad on the bottom of the tub can stop slips. Also, adjust your water heater to 120 degrees F if you haven’t yet done so — any hotter and Baby could get a burn.
“A curious infant could easily fall headfirst into a toilet and drown,” Dr. Clingenpeel says. A potty lock might seem more than a little inconvenient (especially when desperate houseguests call out for your assistance lifting the lid!), but it’s definitely worth the bother.
Safeguard the Kitchen
Crawlers can give new meaning to “Hell’s Kitchen,” so consider gating off this room. Never handle any hot foods, beverages, or pots when your baby is nearby; hot spills cause the majority of scaldings in children ages 6 months to 2 years.
Stove and Oven
“Kids love to reach, so to prevent hot food or liquid spills, use the back burners and turn pot handles away from the edge,” says Carr.
Some parents swear by industrial-strength Velcro for securing the door; others rely on a sturdy dishwasher lock. Whichever you choose, point all sharp utensils down in the basket, and fill the detergent dispenser just before you run a load of dishes.
Utensils and Dishes
“Put objects with sharp edges, such as knives, scissors, and dispensers for plastic and foil wrap, out of Baby’s reach,” Dr. Clingenpeel says. Be sure to use locks or latches on all low drawers and cabinets.
Injuries related to cleaning products keep pediatric emergency rooms busy. “The simple fix is latches, which are easy to install,” Dr. Clingenpeel says. Buy cleaners that have child-resistant packaging, and never store them (even those that are environmentally safe) in food or beverage containers.
Check Other Biggies at Home
Remind family and visitors not to leave unsafe toys, as well as purses and bags, lying around. Wind cords so they’re short and keep them out of sight. Also place plants out of reach.
“On upper floors, install guards or stops that prevent windows from opening more than 3 1/2 inches,” Dr. Clingenpeel says. Window treatments are also hazardous. The CPSC has recalled millions of Roman and roll-up blinds and recommends cordless ones. Can’t replace yours? Learn how you can childproof existing blinds, or order free retrofit repair kits at WindowCoverings.org.
Install security gates at the top and bottom of your stairways. “Make sure the gate you get for the top swings only one way. You want it to go inward, toward the floor,” says Dr. Clingenpeel. Screw top gates securely into the wall; you can pressure-mount bottom ones.
Instead of plastic plugs, which babies learn to pull out, get sliding or box outlet covers that fit over the entire plate or power strip.
Furniture and TVs
Thousands of kids wind up in the E.R. each year and some die when furniture or a television topples on them, a study in Clinical Pediatrics reports. Injuries due to fallen TVs in particular have increased by 31 percent over the last decade, says