Each September, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) sponsors a Baby Safety Month to educate parents and caregivers on the safe and proper ways to use products at different stages.
The JPMA recommends baby-proofing your home well before the baby comes so you can add baby safety gadgets to your registry or purchase them yourself. Then it’s time to get low! The best way to take stock of what your baby might get into is to get down on the baby’s level. Getting low will give you a better perspective and allow you to see things that could be harmful like
- hanging table clothes
- loose strings like blind cords
- sharp corners
- exposed electrical outlets
- poisonous plants
- missing hardware
It’s important that your child is able to freely explore your home without facing danger around every corner. After all, they’re here to stay! Baby Proofing will change as your child gets older. It’s a good idea to anticipate these changes, such as crawling, and baby-proof accordingly before baby hits that milestone. That way you won’t be caught off-guard when your baby gets halfway up the stairs while you were throwing in some laundry.
When you first bring your baby home, you’re not going to have to worry about them getting into electrical outlets or pulling down a heavy dresser. The first thing you’ll take care of is feeding her. Then, what you do have to worry about is creating a safe sleep environment for your new baby. Safe sleep can protect your baby from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) as well as choking and suffocation. The best way to protect your baby and promote sleep is to:
- Put your baby to sleep on their back every time
- Ensure your baby is sleeping on a flat, firm surface such as a crib or bassinet
- Avoid crib bumpers, loose bedding such as comforters, toys and other soft items out of your baby’s crib
- Have your baby sleep in your room but in his or her own crib or bassinet
- Don’t use anything to position your baby while he or she sleeps such as anti-roll pillows or nests
- Make sure baby monitor, lamp, and other cords are out of reach
- Assemble crib according to manufacturer’s directions and don’t substitute hardware. Contact the manufacturer if you are missing a part
- Check the stability of the crib often and make sure the mattress fits properly
- Move mattress to lowest position and remove hanging mobiles when baby can pull up to stand
- Transition to a toddler bed when your baby can climb out of her crib on her own
Car Seat Safety
Choosing a good car seat and using it correctly every time can save your child’s life. Not only is making sure your child rides safely in a car seat the right thing to do, but you’re also required by law in all 50 states to do so.
- Ensure the car seat is properly installed in your car’s backseat. If you aren’t sure, your local fire department can do a safety check
- Check the expiration date and register your car seat with the manufacturer so you can stay up to date if there are any recalls
- Children should remain rear-facing as long as possible until they exceed the height or weight limits indicated on the car seat
- Ensure all other passengers in the car are wearing their seatbelts to avoid injuring your child in the event of an accident
- Do not use a car seat or booster car seat that:
- Is more than eight years old.
- Has ever been involved in a crash
- Is missing the original manufacturer’s label with the name of the manufacturer, model number, and date of manufacture
While we all like to buy nice things to keep our babies comfortable and entertained, it’s important to remember a few things to keep baby safe:
- Never leave children unattended during bath time
- Stay within an arm’s reach when your baby is on the changing table
- Don’t place your baby in a car seat, infant seat, or bouncer on an elevated surface such as the counter
- When using bouncers, playmats, or activity centers, be sure to keep them away from hazards such as stairs, fireplaces, heaters, doors, windows…etc.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s directions and recommendation for age and weight requirements and never leave your baby alone while using any product