As parents, one of your top priorities is the safety and well-being of your children. With all the potential pitfalls of day-to-day life, however, navigating the risks can be difficult.
The following everyday safety tips can help you navigate everything from car seat safety to baby-proofing and safe sleep, keeping your child out of harm’s way as much as possible from birth through his or her toddler years.
Car seat safety
• Always use a valid (typically less than six years old), federally approved car seat in motor vehicles.
• Ensure the seat is properly installed. Refer to the instruction manual with any questions.
• If you use an infant carrier, strap your child in on the floor, never a counter or tabletop.
• For at least the first two years of your child’s life, the car seat should be rear-facing.
• The safest location for a car seat is in the middle of the back seat.
• Avoid giving your child nuts, popcorn, hard candies, hot dogs and raw fruits and vegetables, such as grapes or carrots, that may present a choking hazard.
• Never prop up a bottle and leave your baby unattended.
• Inspect toys often to ensure they’re not broken and do not have small pieces that could easily become detached.
• Be cautious of strings and buttons on clothing.
• The safest place for your baby to sleep is on his or her back, which reduces the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
• Avoid placing anything in the crib or
bassinet that may suffocate your child, such as pillows, blankets or bumpers.
• Keep your child’s room at a moderate temperature and dress him or her
appropriately to avoid overheating.
• Never leave your baby alone on a bed, couch, changing table, swing or infant seat.
• Set your water heater no higher than 120 degrees.
• Test the temperature of bath water
before setting your baby in the tub.
• Never leave your baby unattended in the bathtub.
• Keep toilet lids down and consider installing toilet lid locks.
• Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and in every sleeping area.
• Secure cords on blinds and drapes and keep them out of reach of children.
• Keep sharp objects, such as knives, scissors and tools, and other hazardous items, such as coins, beads and pins, in a secure place out of a baby’s reach.
• Store cleaning products and medications in locked cabinets. Never store potentially toxic substances in containers that could be mistaken for food or drink.
• Cover all electrical outlets.
• Cushion hard edges and sharp corners
of furniture and decor.
• Secure cords to electrical items along baseboards using electrical tape.
• Attach heavy or tall furniture to the wall and avoid placing items that could fall, such as electronics or lamps, on top of dressers or shelves.
• Install safety gates with straight, vertical slats securely in front of all stairwells.