: Safety Issues - Preparing for Baby's Arrival
It's never too early to consider your child's safety. Injuries
are rarely accidents, in the sense that most injuries are preventable.
So make your environment safer by removing the opportunities for
injuries to occur - ahead of time. The following includes the
most common safety concerns, and the things you can do to help
your child avoid injuries.
Infant car seats
Professionally install an officially approved, properly sized
infant car seat of modern design. Stories of parents having a
car accident on the way home with their newborn are not unheard
of. If someone slams on the brakes of the car you're riding in
at just 30 km/h, a baby held in your arms weighing just 10 pounds
will suddenly seem to weigh over 200 pounds. You won't be able
to hang on - which is why a professionally installed car seat
should be waiting for your baby before its arrival.
A note of warning: The explosive impact from a deployed
passenger side air bag can seriously injure a child, even if he
or she is in an infant car seat. If the front passenger seat of
your car is equipped with an air bag, place your infant's car
seat in the back seat - never in front - at least until
passenger seat air bags are redesigned to safely accommodate infant
After traffic-related injuries, residential fires are the next
leading cause of injury related deaths. Averting such tragedies
starts with the installation of at least one smoke detector on
each floor of your home.
Smoke detectors are highly effective life saving devices, but
only if they work properly. Use quality batteries and change them
every six months. It's one of the best investments of time and
money you can make for your whole family. Also install and learn
to operate fire extinguishers, and never smoke in bed.
When buying a crib, make sure that it's of solid construction
and has no places where a little head or limbs could be pinched
or trapped - for instance between a mattress and its frame, or
between crib bars.
To prevent suffocation, make sure that the mattress is firm (not
soft), with holes that allow air to circulate. For the same reason,
children younger than one year should never sleep with pillows
or thick duvets, and should not be placed on their stomach to
Diaper changing tables
Falls from a changing table are not uncommon even among very young
babies, so tables should always be equipped with effective guard
rails. Also, keep all the supplies you need within hand's reach
of the table so that you won't have to leave the baby unattended,
even for a few moments.
General home safety
The following are some general safety measures which will help
keep your newborn safe for months, and even years ahead as she
becomes increasingly mobile. Install fool-proof stair guards at
the top and bottom of stairways to prevent falls until
your child can walk well. Install window-guards that will stop
a child from falling out, but can also be opened in case of fire.
It's also a good idea to install child-resistant cupboard and
drawer latches, and electrical outlet covers. Store all sharp
objects, poisonous substances and medications far from baby's
reach. And last but not least, regularly get down on your hands
and knees to gain a small child's perspective. Look for and remove
any potential hazards that may be within baby's reach.
For additional information on injury prevention and safety, for
older children as well as newborns, see these related topics:
Other Newborn Issues
The information provided in this site is
designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to
replace the advice and care of your child's physician, nor is
it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If
you suspect that your child has a medical condition, always
consult a physician.
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