Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

September is National Baby Safety Month September 16, 2008

Having a baby in the house changes everything. Lurking next to those seemingly innocuous blinds on the windows are cords which can strangle with little plastic pulls which can choke. The ongoing battle with your mate to keep the toilet seat down is now a life-or-death matter. It’s a scary world out there…er, in here. 

Following are some safety tips from that can help prevent child injuries inside the home. They are the bare minimum. Read on for a detailed approach to home safety.

  • Install hardware-mounted safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways with two or more steps. Pressure-mounted models may not be strong enough.
  • Keep toilet lids closed and locked, and doors to bathrooms and utility rooms closed, when not in use. Put razors, curling irons and hair dryers out of reach.
  • Lock up potential poisons out of children’s reach. This includes alcoholic beverages, household cleaning formulas, laundry supplies, medications (including nonprescription varieties like vitamins, children’s Tylenol or Advil), paint, kerosene, gasoline, charcoal, lighter fluid, bug spray, pesticides, and fertilizers.
  • Cover every electrical outlet in your home with a child-resistant outlet cover (the plastic plugs are easy to pry out).
  • Keep furniture away from windows. Install guards or stops on windows that are not emergency exits.

For Newborns and Infants (under three months)

Premobile little ones need special precautions, predominantly in the areas where baby will be sleeping (list compiled by Wayne Parker.)

Crib Safety. “We used to lose too many babies to accidents in cribs or bassinets,” says Parker, “so the standards are now pretty clear. New cribs generally meet them, but if you are using an older or second-hand crib, you will need to be extra careful.”

  • Use a crib made since 1992 that meets safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM).
  • Be sure the crib mattress fits snugly. You should be able to slide only one finger between the mattress and the side rails and headboard. If it is wider than that, get a larger mattress.
  • Don’t use a crib that has wide or raised corner posts or decorative cutouts in the headboard since a baby’s head could become trapped there, or loose clothing could get caught and increase the risk of strangling the baby.
  • The slats on the crib should be 2 3/8 inches apart or less; any wider and a baby’s head can get caught between them.
  • Make sure all screws, bolts, and other hardware are securely installed to prevent the crib from collapsing.
  • Never put pillows, extra bedding, electric blankets, heating pads, or stuffed animals in a crib. Babies can easily suffocate, and it can happen quickly.

Changing Tables. A popular item in nurseries, the changing table is very convenient, but can be a risk if not secured.

  • Install and use a safety belt on your infant’s changing table. Babies can get a little rambunctious and can easily slide off the table if they are not strapped in.
  • Place a rug under the changing table and crib, which will offer some cushion in case of a fall.

For Crawlers and Walkers

Once a baby is mobile, making your home safe is almost a daily chore. Here are some important items from to watch for:

  • Keep coins, small toys, nail scissors, and balloons (any item that is small enough to fit inside a cardboard toilet paper roll) out of infant’s reach.
  • Remove mobiles and other hanging toys from the crib as soon as your child can reach up and touch them.
  • Shorten drapery and blind cords.
  • Remove the plastic end caps on doorstops, or replace the stops with a one-piece design.
  • Drill breathing holes into any trunk you are using as a toy box in case a child gets trapped inside. (And install safety hinges on toy boxes, or buy one with a removable lid to prevent pinched fingers.)
  • Place houseplants out of children’s reach; know the names of all plants in case a child eats one of them.
  • Keep a bottle of Ipecac and activated charcoal in your home, but use only when instructed by a medical professional.
  • Install ground fault circuit interrupters on outlets near sinks and bathtubs since they stop the electrical current when an appliance gets wet.
  • Place screened barriers around fireplaces, radiators, and portable space heaters.
  • Pad the edges of coffee tables and brick or tile fireplaces.
  • Remove the crib bumper pad as soon as your infant can get up on all fours since baby may use it as a step to climb out.
  • Position audio/video equipment so children cannot pull televisions or stereos off furniture.
  • Keep appliance cords wrapped short so children cannot pull coffee makers, toasters, and other appliances.
  • Secure bookshelves, entertainment centers, and bureaus to walls since they can topple onto children who use furniture to pull up and stand.
Special Notes

One Response to “September is National Baby Safety Month”

  1. Carmen Says:

    Great list and thanks for taking the time! Also, you should sleep your baby in a sleepsack instead of under a blanket. A sleepsack is like a vest that is closed at the bottom. There are a bunch of companies that make them, but we like Halo’s version the best – it seems to be the best quality and easiest to use design. We got ours from, but know Amazon carries them too. you should check it out! We sleep our older child in the big kid size and it is the only thing keeping her from getting out of her bed! i sleep better knowing they are safe.

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