15 Home Safety Tips For Houses With New Infants

A brief article listing things to do around the home and car for safety with a new infant.

Bringing home a new baby is a wonderful thing. However, if the house is not safe it can be a terrible tragedy. With a little planning and some work, your home can be that safe and loving environment where exploration and learning can take place. Get down on hands and knees and crawl around your house to get the baby perspective. Although the list of safety improvements seems like a lot, if you start about halfway through the pregnancy and do one each day or two, your home will be all ready.

Check the sleeping area where your baby will be. The crib mattress can be at the tallest level as infants cannot roll around and sit up and it will be easier on the parent's back. Whether you use a crib, bassinet or family bed, the area needs to be free of blankets, quilts, pillows and larger stuffed animals, as they are suffocation hazards. Once a baby can sit up, remove the mobile from over the crib. Put your newborn to sleep on their back. It helps reduce the risk of SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Make sure the crib mattress fits tightly so there is no gap for an infant to roll and get stuck. All crib beds since 1974 should have bars that are 2 3/8 inches or smaller. Keep the bed away from windows as the sun can overheat and if there are blinds, the cords are a safety hazard.

Make sure to install the rear-facing car seat before the baby arrives so you can be sure it fits properly. Most baby stores will let you take a seat out and try it in your car. Newer cars come equipped with the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system, which makes installation of child seats much safer as seat belts are no longer required.

Whatever you do, DO NOT take the baby out of the car seat while the car is moving. Keep them in the back seat unless you have to move them to the front, then remember to turn off the airbag. If you need to stop, pull as far off the road as possible or if on a highway, exit and find a parking lot. A parked car could be hit on the side of the road. If your baby is sleeping in the infant car seat, do not put it on anything other than the floor as they rock around and can fall off a counter.

When giving them a bath, make sure the water temperature is appropriate. Temperature sensing toys are great for this. Never leave a baby in or near the water, if the phone rings, ignore it or take the baby with you.

Keep on hand fresh infant medicines that you may need such as Tylenol or gas drops. Put them in a secure place out of reach along with all other medications. Keep adult medicines separate so you do not accidentally grab the wrong bottle.

Place the poison control number on your phone along with fire and police numbers. Check your smoke detectors and replace batteries if needed. A carbon monoxide detector is another piece of safety equipment that should be in your home.

Always use the safety strap that is on the changing pad or table. You never know at what point your baby will figure out rolling. Keep one hand on the baby at all times even with the strap.

Make that anything the baby could choke on is out of the way like hard candies, nuts or parts of older children's toys. If the piece can go through the tube from the toilet paper, it is too small. Keep balloons away, especially latex ones that can pop, they are a huge choking hazard.

Make sure clothing fits snug and there are no strings or cords that could wrap around the baby. Check buttons, eyes and other things on toys and clothing to make sure they cannot come off. Pull off eyes and use thread to stitch new ones since babies explore their world through taste and feel.

When purchasing child gates, do not use the accordion style as a baby's head can become trapped. Moreover, do not forget about safety pads for fireplaces and other furniture that is hard or has corners.

Use covers and plugs for electrical outlets. Make sure cords are stowed safely out of reach, there are winders that will hold the cords of mini-blinds out of reach.

Keep floors as clean as possible. Do not leave roach baits within reach. When heating bottles and baby food, stir well to make sure they are no 'hot spots'. Use the back burners on your stove to prevent accidents. Remove any houseplants that may be poisonous. Check toys and materials for the "CP" or "AP" seal, which says that the material is safe for children.

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