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Childproofing Baby Safety

How do I keep my baby safe? To answer that question, we must first recognize that we do not have complete control over every second of every day. However, there are some things to be aware of that may pose potential safety risks to infant and toddlers.

SLEEP

The 1994 “Back to Sleep” campaign resulted in a dramatic decrease in SIDS deaths. Recently, the decline has plateaued, while other causes of sleep-related deaths, such as suffocation, asphyxia, and entrapment have increased in incidence. As a result, there is now renewed emphasis on targeting causes of infant-related deaths, with subsequent recommendations that stress the following:

Things to do: Position your baby on his/her back to sleep, use a firm sleep surface (no soft bedding), breastfeed, room-share without bed-sharing, give routine immunizations, consider use of a pacifier during sleep. Place your baby’s crib away from windows as cords from window blinds and draperies can cause strangulation. Use cordless window coverings or tie cords high and out of reach. Do not knot them together.

Things to avoid: overheating, exposure to tobacco smoke, alcohol, and illicit drugs.

INJURIES

Unintentional injury is a leading cause of death in infants and young children. The following are some do’s and don’ts of safety.

DO:

  • Use gates on stairways and close doors to keep your child out of rooms where he or she might get hurt. Install operable window guards on all windows above the first floor.
  • Remove sharp-edged or hard furniture from the room where your child plays
  • Empty all the water from a bathtub, pail, or any container of water immediately after use. Keep the door to the bathroom closed. NEVER leave your child alone in or near a bathtub, pail of water, wading or swimming pool, or any other water, even for a moment. Drowning can happen in less than 2 inches of water. Stay within an arm’s length of your child around water.
  • If you have a swimming pool, install a fence that separates the house from the pool. Knowing how to swim does NOT mean your child is safe in or near water.

DON’T

  • Do not leave your baby alone on changing tables, beds, sofas, or chairs.
  • Do not use a baby walker. Your baby may tip the walker over, fall out of it or fall down stairs. Baby walkers let children get to places where they can pull heavy objects or hot food on themselves.
  • NEVER carry your child and hot liquids, such as coffee, or foods at the same time. Your child can get burned. You cannot handle both!
  • To protect your little one from tap water scalds, turn your hot water heater down to 120° F or below. Also, if your child is left to crawl or walk around stoves, wall or floor heaters, or other hot appliances, he or she is likely to get burned.
  • NEVER leave small objects in your baby’s reach, even for a moment.
  • NEVER feed your baby hard pieces of food such as chunks of raw carrots, apples, hot dogs, grapes, peanuts, and popcorn

A WORD TO THE WISE

Children continue to explore their world by putting everything in their mouths, even if it doesn’t taste good. Your child may be able to open doors and drawers, take things apart, and open bottles sooner than you would think, so you must use safety caps on all medicines and toxic household products. Keep the safety caps on at all times or find safer substitutes to use. Also, keep all products in their original containers.

Children in homes where guns are present are in more danger of being shot by themselves, their friends, or family members than of being injured by an intruder. It is best to keep all guns out of the home. Handguns are especially dangerous. If you choose to keep a gun, keep it unloaded and in a locked place, with the ammunition locked separately. Consider asking the homeowners of where your child visits or is cared for if they have guns.

Written by Bakari Morgan, M.D.
On behalf of PAMPA





© 2011 Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
PAMPA is a pediatric medical practice in north Atlanta, Georgia consisting of twelve pediatricians, five nurses,
and four locations in Roswell, Woodstock, Atlanta, and Marietta. area.
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