You’ve taken care of the obvious things like affixing cabinet latches and tying back window blind pull cords, but here are a few more items to consider for your baby’s safety as he grows:
1. Careful Bathing Baby
This is usually an exciting moment for parents and little ones, but it can also be a stressful one, too. With these tips, you’re sure to have a smooth bath time with your little one.
“Drowning is the second major cause of unintentional death in children younger than 20. There is no substitute for direct adult supervision when a child is around standing water,” says Libby Long, M.D., a pediatrician with Tennessee Pediatrics in Murfreesboro. “Parents erroneously believe they can leave the bathroom door cracked while their child is bathing and that they’ll hear their child if they’re in trouble. In fact, the majority of such drownings are silent.”
Bath seats or rings are often involved in bathtub drownings, and keep in mind bath seats are not safety devices. The suction cups on the bottom can come loose and cause a baby to slip through the leg openings. If not used at the right age, Baby can even slip through the leg openings by simply twisting in place, too.
“Bath seats, which are meant to support a child in a tub, are not a substitute for direct adult supervision,” says Long. “While it seems difficult to believe that a toddler can drown in inches of water, the ability to sit or stand lies beyond their problem solving abilities.”
Never leave your child alone in or near any kind of water. Don’t answer the door or phone or attend to other children without taking your baby with you or draining the tub.
2. Put Down Your Coffee
An American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)‘ study reveals the most common scalds to children younger than 5 were unintentional. While a few of those injuries were from tap water scalds, most of them were from non-tap water scalds, which were related to hot cooking or drinking liquids — like the coffee in the cup you grasp while holding Baby. Scalds from hot liquids are the most common type of burns for young children whose thinner skin burns more easily than an adults.
“Even coffee that’s not too hot to drink can really scald a child,” says Angela Mickalide, Ph.D., director of research and programs for the National Safe Kids Campaign worldwide. Put down the baby when you’re drinking your coffee.
3. Use Stationary Entertainment
“Kids can scoot four feet per second in a walker,” says Mickalide, and accidents involving baby walkers usually include a tumble down the stairs. In fact, the AAP has put out a call to ban walkers for good! Trade your walker for a stationary entertainment center. Babies like them just as much, and you’ll gain a few hands-free moments.
4. Wait to Turn the Car Seat Around
You may be eager to see your baby’s face in the rear-view mirror, but he must be in a rear-facing for as long as possible for his own safety. The AAP advises parents to keep toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2 (or until they’ve exceeded the height and weight limit for their car seat); a rear-facing only seat for your newborn may be your best option.
“Younger than age 1, a child’s head is disproportionately large compared to his body,” says Mickalide. “If he’s facing forward in a crash, his head will fall forward dramatically and do serious damage to the spinal cord and neck. If a child rides backward, the force of the crash is distributed over a larger surface of the body — the shoulders, back and buttocks.”