Keeping your baby safe is one of a new parent’s most important jobs. One of the reasons it can be so challenging to keep baby safe is because each new stage of development presents new risks. In honor of Baby Safety Month, we’ve put together our top 10 tips for keeping baby safe.
Practice safe sleep habits.
Follow the the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines about safe sleep habits for babies. Always place your baby to sleep on his or her back. Tummy sleeping significantly increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Make sure to follow some of the following safe sleep guidelines:
- Keep the room cool and don’t allow your baby to get overheated.
- Remove pillows, bumper pads and fluffy toys from the crib.
- Consider using pacifiers, but make sure they don’t have strings attached.
- Make sure your baby’s crib is in a smoke-free environment.
“Baby-proof” your house.
Use cabinet latches on drawers and cupboards, and outlet plug covers in areas within your child’s reach. Items that are particularly dangerous should be stored in much higher locations where they are harder for a child to access.
Never leave standing water in the tub or a bucket. Install lid locks on all toilets.
Babies and young children are naturally curious about water and playing in it can be irresistible. Children can easily drown in just a few inches of water.
Don’t leave baby unattended in the bath, even for a few seconds.
Even briefly turning away to answer your phone or tend to another child can have tragic consequences. Keep one hand on your baby at all times during bathing.
Use caution about drapery and mini-blinds.
Make sure baby’s crib is not up against a window that has draperies or mini-blinds. Cords for mini-blinds can be a strangulation hazard. Always wrap up cords to store them away from a child’s reach.
Keep detergents out of reach.
Never fill the dishwasher with detergent until you’re ready to run the appliance. Store detergents behind a locked cabinet or up high. Use special caution with detergent pods, which are appealing to children but are also highly dangerous.
Use new cribs and car seats.
Those hand-me-down cribs or car seats might help you save money, but safety standards for infant gear can rapidly change. Previously owned cribs and car seats should only be used with caution. Used cribs can be missing pieces that affect their safety. In addition, car seats can’t be used again after being in a car accident—including even minor fender-benders.
Protect baby from sun and heat.
Sweating is the natural way our bodies cool us down, but babies aren’t able to sweat as efficiently as adults can. Limit time outside on hot days to 30 minutes or less and make sure your little one is well-hydrated. Make sure to apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, since sunburn can happen in as little as 15 minutes.
Closely monitor fevers.
The same temperature that might not be a big deal in older kids can quickly indicate an emergency in infants. It’s important to monitor your baby’s temperature when he or she is sick. Choose an accurate thermometer that stores previous readings, like Kinsa, so you can monitor the progress of the illness.
Use medication safely.
Keep track of how often you give medication, especially ones such as acetaminophen, which can easily cause overdose. Kinsa allows you to track when medication dosages are given so you don’t accidentally double up. Make sure you only use medication—even over-the-counter medications—under a doctor’s advice as many meds aren’t safe for infants.
Keeping your baby safe is an important job, but it will likely become a matter of second nature as you put good habits into practice. You and your little one will enjoy many happy, healthy years to come!
This post was written by Holly Case, a mom of three boys who lives in Texas. Learning how to care for her own kids was the start of a career in writing about parenting and health.