Safe and Sound: Making your home safe for baby
Your little bundle of joy will soon be scooting, climbing and getting into everything possible! By the time your baby is six months old, your home should be completely safety-proofed. Follow this checklist to create a baby-safe space in every room of your home.
- Never place a newborn face down on a waterbed or very fluffy cushion. Crib mattresses should fit snugly; any gap should be less than two fingers width between the mattress and sides of the crib.
- Crib bars should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, and corner posts should be no taller than 1/16 inch. Older or hand-me-down cribs may not conform to these safety standards.
- Keep the crib away from windows, draperies or long cords.
- Newborn babies should be put to sleep on their backs, unless you've been otherwise advised by your pediatrician.
- Don't leave your baby unattended on the changing table. If there's a restraint buckle, use it; always keep one hand on your baby as well. Even tiny babies can wriggle themselves off of the table.
- Remove crib bumpers and mobiles once your baby can pull herself up to standing.
- Be sure your hot water heater's maximum temperature is set to 120°F to avoid accidentally scalding your baby at bathtime.
- When it's not in use, keep the bathroom door closed, the toilet lid down and all drawers and cupboards latched with childproof latches.
- Keep blow dryers, curling irons, etc. unplugged and stored away when not in use.
- Never leave your baby alone in the bath! Drowning can occur in as little as one inch of water.
- If you are using a bath seat, place it well away from the faucets and spout.
- Be sure your high chair has waist and crotch straps, and always use those restraints when your child is in the chair.
- Keep the high chair away from tables, counters or walls so your child can't use them to push the chair over.
- Don't put an infant seat on countertops or other elevated surfaces.
- Be sure that all warmed foods are the right temperature by testing them yourself before feeding -- this is especially important if you have used the microwave to warm baby food.
- When your child is teething and ready for solid food, don't serve small, hard foods such as nuts, popcorn, grapes or raw vegetables. Talk to your doctor for appropriate suggestions.
- Make sure all toys are "mouth safe": no sharp, little or loose parts, or dangling ribbons or cords. Small toys can be choking hazards as well.
- Install smoke detectors, window guards, childproof locks, corner guards on sharp furniture, electrical plug guards and stair gates. Cover or hide all electrical cords.
- Block off radiators or heat vents.
- Using an infant seat? Never put it on a bed, chair or other soft piece of furniture. If you do put it on a table, be sure to keep it well away from any edges and keep an eye on it; a baby's movements could cause the seat to move.
- If you use a play yard, select one with mesh holes no larger than 1/4 inch.
- Don't leave your baby unattended. Many accidents happen when there's a momentary distraction. Take your child with you to answer the door, pick up the phone, etc., or simply stand where you can see him.
Chances are you have more than a few everyday items in your house that could be very hazardous to your child if ingested -- in fact, the average consumer has about 400 poisonous products in their home! A curious toddler will eat or drink even the most unpleasant tasting and smelling substance, so it's especially important to keep potentially dangerous items secured where they can't get to them.
Hazardous materials include:
- Medicine (both adult and child)
- Soaps and cleansers of all kinds
- Alcohol (medicinal and beverage)
- Petroleum products
Here are a few other precautions to take:
- Never call medicine candy.
- Keep in mind that visitors, especially older ones, may have easy-to-open pill cases in their purses or pockets.
- Many common houseplants can be poisonous, as is plant food, which leaves a residue in the potted soil.
- Cigarettes and alcohol can be toxic if ingested by a small child.
- Keep a bottle of ipecac syrup on hand, but only use it when advised by your poison control center or doctor.
- Keep the phone number to your local poison control center somewhere where you can easily access it if you need to. If your child does ingest something, quick action is often absolutely key in preventing poisoning.