One of the most common new-parent fears revolves around the baby’s safety. What household hazards should you be paying attention to? How can you make sure your baby or toddler does not harm him- or herself as he or she gains mobility? We’ve got the answers you need!
Common Household Hazards and How to Avoid Them
- Falls: Falls are the number one cause of infant injury—both fatal and nonfatal. What’s the biggest hazard? Beds and cribs. As infants gain the ability to move their bodies (by rocking, then rolling, then crawling), they are more and more likely to fall or slide off of high surfaces such as high chairs, cribs, and changing tables.
- Never leave infants or toddlers unattended while on a raised surface. All parents know that it only takes turning your back for a second for a kid to wreak havoc; the same goes for unintentional injuries.
- Never leave infant seats (car seats or other seats) on narrow, raised surfaces, such as an adult chair or counter top. Any sudden movements can cause the seat (and baby) to topple to the floor.
- Keep large toys and stuffed animals out of the crib; as your baby gains mobility, he or she might use these to stand up and hoist themselves over the rail.
- Choking/Suffocation: Although the most common thing babies and toddlers choke on is food, a baby will explore the world first by tasting it. This means they will absolutely put any and all small objects that they can get their hands on in their mouths.
- Always keep small objects such as coins, toy parts, batteries, and buttons well out of your baby’s reach.
- When feeding your baby, always cut solid food up into small pieces. Even grapes should be cut at least in half. Do not give children hard foods (nuts, candy, etc.). If you are bottle-feeding your baby, be sure to hold both the bottle and the baby securely.
- Babies should never have pillows or blankets placed in their cribs if they are younger than one year. This is one of the biggest risk factors for SIDS.
- Burns: Burns are one of the most common accidental injuries for small children. They range from sunburns, liquid burns, and even steam burns (for example from a hot pan or cup) to burns caused by electrical hazards, matches, lamps, stoves, and fireplaces.
- Baby skin is so thin that it only takes five seconds for a third-degree burn to develop. Always check temperatures with the inside of your wrist; your skin is thinner there and will be more sensitive to heat.
- To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to no higher than 120 degrees.
- To avoid sunburns, read our post on sun safety tips for babies and toddlers!
- Poisoning: 5 percent of kids who get poisoned end up hospitalized. The biggest culprit of this is medicine overdose, followed by accidental ingestion of poisonous materials, such as cleaning supplies and outdoor plants.
- Keep all medicines far out of reach, and make sure bottle tops and lids are always tightly closed. Child-resistant packaging is not childproof! It only buys you the time to catch them before they get it open.
- Avoid calling medicine “candy” or make taking it into a game; this can confuse young children and make them more likely to seek it out themselves.
- Drowning: Babies can drown in as little as two inches of water; this is one of the most common causes of fatal injuries to young children.
- Never ever let a baby or toddler anywhere near a body of water (bath; pool; lake; ocean; etc.) without close supervision. Bath seats are not safety devices and are no substitute for supervision. If you have a pool or other such body of water in your backyard, be sure to securely fence it off.
- Read up on our water safety tips for more guidelines!
Still Worried? Consider Getting Extra Support from a Babynurse or Nanny
Hiring a babynurse or nanny is a great way to assuage any worries you may have about being able to provide constant close supervision for your baby, even while sleep-deprived. A babynurse has extensive training in newborn care and can ensure your infant is safe and remains under at least one adult’s watchful eye from the moment you bring him or her home from the hospital to the moment your family no longer requires the babynurse’s services. Having a trustworthy caregiver in the home will allow you to catch up on much-needed rest, which, as any parent knows, can be the difference between becoming a total zombie and a functional, well-adjusted parent. Contact us to discuss your family’s childcare needs today!