Baby Safety Month: 4 Not-So-Obvious Safety Tips
Safety is a top priority as a parent. You read books, ask for advice and buy baby-proofing products. But what about the hazards you may not know about?
According to the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, September is Baby Safety Month, and with that should come greater awareness of some lesser-known possible risks and potential dangers for babies in everyday life.
“Companies make baby-proof items for the obvious (table corners, toilets, drawers, stairs, etc.), but really babies get into anything they can reach,” says Taylor Burke of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, who is a mother of two. “Basically, everything in and around the home could be a baby hazard.”
The following tips could help you prepare and avoid some of these unexpected dangers.
1. Think Twice Before Using a Baby Walker
HealthyChildren.org says that even when parents are nearby watching a baby in a walker, they often can’t react quickly enough to prevent injury. Since a walker has wheels, children are able to propel themselves more than three feet in one second and reach higher than if they were standing on the floor, adds HealthyChildren.org. This could result in dangerous situations, as babies can quickly fall down steps or may be able to reach hot or dangerous items on a table or counter.
Although walkers are made for babies, GoodHousekeeping.com suggests finding an alternative, such as a play pen or stationary activity center.
2. Watch Out for Hot Metal in Vehicles
Aside from securing your baby into a car seat, there are a few other less-obvious precautions you should take with your child around the car. Any time your vehicle is sitting in the sun for any period of time, be aware of burn potential.
“My daughter rested her hand on my car bumper one day for only a few seconds and got second-degree burns on her hand,” says Burke. According to the Burn Institute, some of the most common and serious vehicular burns result from bare skin touching the exterior surfaces of the car after it has been sitting in the hot sun. Because of the burn risk, make sure your children don’t touch hot cars.
Metal parts inside the car, such as the buckles on a car seat, can also pose a burn risk on a hot day. To prevent this risk, KidsHealth.org recommends covering a car seat with a towel or a blanket to keep direct sunlight from reaching it when your car is parked.
3. Be Careful When Choosing What Baby Eats
Most people are likely aware of choking hazards when feeding a baby hard foods, but what about harmful ingredients that babies should stay away from? Debra Holtzman, a national child safety expert, says to keep the following out of a baby’s diet:
- Honey: Honey should never be given to a baby under the age of 1, says the Mayo Clinic. While it is healthy for most adults, Holtzman explains it may contain bacterial spores that can cause infant botulism — a rare but serious gastrointestinal condition.
- Salt: Parents.com adds that too much salt in a baby’s diet can also be damaging to his or her kidneys as they may not be able to process excess salt intake.
4. Hide or Remove Cords From The Bedroom
To help keep your baby safe in the bedroom, says Holtzman, keep window covering cordless to help prevent a strangulation hazard. If it’s not possible to go totally cordless, HealthyChildren.org suggests tying up drapery and blind cords near the top of the window without creating any loops. BabySafetyZone.org adds that cribs should be kept away from windows, as they allow babies to reach higher near the tied-up cords.
Additionally, Holtzman notes that all corded items should be kept at least three feet from any part of the crib, bassinet, play yard or other safe sleep environment. “Corded baby monitors, and other items with cords, strings or ribbons are strangulation hazards,” she says.
Remembering these four specific baby safety tips is helpful, but Holtzman says new parents should always look for hazards from a baby’s perspective in general. Even with the right precautions, proper supervision is your best defense against baby injuries.
Originally published on September 16, 2015.