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Infant Safety Tips

Safety is a primary concern for all parents. Rightly so, because accident is the cause of death and injury in infants and children birth to 10 years old. Most accidents can be prevented if we take time to recognize the hazards around us and take measures to reduce them. 

Car Safety 
Most auto injuries and deaths can be prevented by using car seats. Always read the directions that come with your car seat to be sure it is put in the car properly. Car seats should always be used, starting with the first ride home from the hospital. If your baby was born prematurely, or has certain medical conditions he/she will have a car seat test before discharge. The best place to install a safety seat is the back seat of the car. The harness should fit snugly--no more than 2 fingers should fit between the baby's chest and the harness.

Babies must ride facing the rear of the car until they weigh about 20 pounds and can sit up by themselves. 

Any seat made for infants must always face backward. 

Tilt an infant seat so the baby reclines at a 45 degree angle (many seats now have a device on them that assures this happens).

If using a convertible car seat, you may turn it to face forward when the baby is about 20 pounds and can sit up independently.

Your baby should use the convertible car seat until big enough for a booster seat.

This usually happens when your child weighs about 30 pounds.

Your child is usually ready to use car seat belts and a booster seat when he/she is about 4 years old and weighs 40 pounds.

Remember also that children learn by example-always fasten your seat belt.

Burn Prevention
Between 3 and 5 months old your baby will begin to grab at things. Never eat or drink anything hot while holding your baby.

You can also prevent scalding water burns to your child by adjusting the temperature on your hot water heater. Most are preset at 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Water at 120 degrees takes 5 minutes to cause a scald burn. Water at 140 degrees takes only 6 seconds.

It is also not recommended that bottles be warmed in the microwave as they heat unevenly.

Use the back burners of your stove when possible and turn pot handles in so they don¿t get grabbed by an exploring toddler. Also, don¿t let appliance cords dangle over the edges of counters. When busy in the kitchen, contain your child in a high chair or playpen a safe distance from hot appliances.

A working smoke and carbon monoxide detector should be on every level of your home--close enough to bedrooms to be heard with the door closed. Check its working frequently. We suggest at least twice a year (when changing the clocks ahead or back is a good reminder).

Keep stairways and exits free of clutter.

Dispose of smoking materials carefully.

Have heating systems and fireplaces cleaned yearly.

Use flame resistant sleepwear.

Screen off fireplaces and wood stoves.

A fire extinguisher placed outside a sleeping area or in areas where fire is more likely to happen can put out a small fire before it becomes larger or can clear your way to safety in the event of a larger fire.

Develop and practice a fire escape route with children as young as 3 years old. Don't forget to include a meeting place.

Practice the "hands-on" rule. Always have one hand on the baby when reaching for something. If something is our of reach, pick the baby up to get it.

Always make sure the side rails are up when your child is in his/her crib.

Child safety gates should be in place in doors and stairways to prevent dangerous explorations.

Never place a childs furniture near windows. Don¿t count on a screen to keep your child from falling out a

window.   Use window guards which allow a window to open only 6 inches or open your windows from the top.

Choking and Suffocation
Choking and suffocation are the most common cause of preventable death in children one year and under.
The most common objects involved are:
     -foods: hot dogs, grapes, nuts, hard candy, juice/formula given with a propped bottle
     (children don't develop good chewing patterns until 4 years of age)
     -toys and toy parts small enough to fit in the mouth
     -small household item such as beads, buttons, and coins
     -drapery and electrical cords
     -plastic bags
     -hanging items around infants and small children's necks such as rattles, pacifiers, and jewelry.

Crib Safety
Unsafe cribs can also result in injury. Your crib mattress should fit well--there should be no more than 2 fingers width between the mattress and the crib sides. The bars of the crib shouldn't be too widely spaced either. The slats should be no more than 2 & 3/8 inches apart. Try the soda can test--if a can passes easily between the bars they're too far apart.

Stuffed animals, pillows, comforters and sheepskins should be removed from the crib.

Poison Proofing
We have access to over a quarter of a million household products from health and beauty aides and medicines to cleaners and makeup.
-Store all cleaning aides in a high locked cabinet and separately from foods. A thirsty toddler can't distinguish between apple juice and pine cleaner.
-Use safety caps on all medicines/dietary supplements.
-Never refer to a child's medicine as "candy".
-Use safety latches on all drawers and cabinets.
-Keep a bottle of Syrup of Ipecac in your home. Ipecac is used to induce vomiting. Never give it unless told to do so by your doctor or the Poison Control Center.
-It's wise to know the names and toxicity's of plants you may have in your home or in your landscaping.

Please remember that by following these safety guidelines you are taking an active part in making your baby's world a safer place to grow!