September is Baby Safety Month, spotlighting the importance of properly choosing the best products for your child's age and developmental stage. Most pediatric injuries can be prevented, and choosing the right infant products is a great first step in ensuring your baby's safety.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Child?
Here's some basic safety tips on making the right decisions to keep your child safe.
Choose and use age and developmentally-appropriate products.
Read and follow all manufacturer's instructions, recommendations for use, and warning labels.
Start babyproofing early! Include important safety items on your registry list.
Register your products and establish a direct line of communication with the manufacturer.
Buy new when possible. It can be more expensive, but it will help you keep up with current safety standards and ensure you get quality goods.
Actively supervise, watch, listen, and stay near your child.
Frequently inspect products for missing hardware, loose threads and strings, holes, and tears.
Think like a baby! Get close to the ground at and inspect your house from a baby's vantage point.
Childproofing is an ongoing process. Monitor your child's growth and development and install safety features before they're necessary.
Be mindful of additional hazards to new babies from items used by older siblings.
Most importantly, let babies explore! Infants are curious and need to examine their surroundings during their development. Preparing your house for safe exploration will help you understand how a baby explores and spot dangers you might not have noticed.
Top Hidden Hazards
A crucial part of babyproofing is recognizing when otherwise harmless items might be a danger to your child. Look for some of these hazards:
- Exposed electrical sockets.
- Blind cords or other hanging or loose cords.
- Loose rugs or carpeting.
- Cleaning products.
Swallowing hazards are some of the most common you'll spot. They can include:
- Loose change.
- Poisonous plants.
- Detergent pods.
Tip-overs are one of the leading causes of injury to children. Make sure you watch for tipping hazards that include:
- Hanging tablecloths.
- Pot handles sticking outward from your stove.
- Hot mugs.
Make sure you are aware if a product you own has been recalled. In addition, check that any second hand products you own haven't been recalled. The best ways to ensure your products are safe is to fill out your product registration card, as well as check for recalls.
Choosing the Right Products for Your Baby
Here are some basic tips on how to pick common child products correctly:
Carriages and Strollers: Choose one that has a base wide enough to prevent tipping, even when your baby leans over to the side.
When Using: Use the basket underneath and don't hang purses or shopping bags over the handles because it may cause the stroller to tip.
Baby Carriers and Slings:Choose one made of a durable, washable fabric with sturdy, adjustable straps.
When Using: Use only when walking with your baby, never running or bicycling.
Baby Swings: Choose a swing with strong posts, legs, and a wide stance to prevent tipping.
When Using: Never place your swing or bouncer on an elevated surface, such as sofas, beds, tables, or counter tops.
Changing Tables: When choosing a changing table, measure the length and width of the changing area available on the dresser and compare to the requirements for the add-on unit before purchasing. Check for attachment requirements.
When Using: Always keep one hand on baby and use restraints.
Car Seat or Booster Seat: It's vital the car seat/booster is appropriate for a child's age, weight, and height.
When using: Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for both the vehicle and the seat.
Crib Mattress: Choose a crib mattress that fits snugly with no more than 2 fingers' width, 1 inch, between the edge of the mattress and the crib side.
When Using: Never place the crib near windows, drapes, blinds, or wall-mounted decorative accessories with long cords
Baby Gates: Chose the right gate for your needs. Before leaving home, measure the opening size at the location the gate will be used.
When Using: Gates with expanding pressure bars should be installed with the adjustment bar or lock side away from the baby.
When Using: Use waist and crotch strap every time you place a child in the high chair to prevent falls from standing up or sliding out.
If you are expecting a child or have a newborn baby, it's important to learn the above information so that you can ensure you've chosen the right products for your baby and are using them in their intended fashion. Buy Juvenile Products Manufacturers Organization (JPMA) Certified Products whenever possible to ensure that the product meets the strictest safety requirements