September marks an annual focus on all the different ways parents try to keep their babies healthy and safe. Every September since 1983 manufacturers and educators have moved their focus towards newborn and infant safety. This year, Parentology celebrates Baby Safety Month in 2019 by focusing on what every parent needs to know to keep their precious bundles safe while at home and on the road.
Every parent who has made that first seemingly endless drive from the hospital to their home knows how nerve-wracking transporting a baby can be. From worrying about other motorists to trying to figure out if you’ve installed your car seat correctly, there’s a lot of worrying to go around. Fortunately, Sarah Haverstick, safety expert and advocate for Evenflo and Cybex, shared some tips so that driving around with your infant doesn’t drive you crazy with worry.
- Always have your car seat checked by a certified child passenger safety technician to ensure it is properly installed.
- Keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible until the child outgrows the weight or height limit of their rear-facing car seat.
- Once a child reaches the height or weight maximum for an infant car seat, upgrade to a convertible car seat.
- Check the harness and make sure it fits on your child. If it is properly set, your child is less likely to feel uncomfortable and try to unbuckle.
In the beginning, it may seem like you have all the time in the world to work on baby proofing, but Sokhom Som, the Safety 1st Brand Manager, says that you’ll actually need to start much sooner than you’d imagine.
“Don’t wait to baby-proof your home,” she tells Parentology. “Some babies begin crawling as early as 6 months, so don’t put off important safety precautions like installing gates or securing off-limits rooms since your baby may surprise you with how quickly they learn to move!”
Som says parents should get down on their hands and knees and look around their home to see what areas they should be securing. She says to focus on things like the corners of your coffee table, wall outlets, and powerstrips.
Som also notes that not all safety locks are made the same. “One tug from a strong toddler could potentially break a lock, giving the child access to dangerous household items.” Make sure you’re only purchasing these devices from reputable manufacturers, with good safety ratings and that state their products have undergone hands-on lab testing.
“Parents can ensure their baby-proofing products are tested to this standard by looking for the ‘Toddler Tested, Proven Stronger’ claim on select packaging.”
Additionally, Som says you should be doing more than installing gates and covering outlets.
- TVs, dressers, and bookshelves should all be strapped to the wall with a furniture strap to prevent tipping over.
- Window shade cords are strangulation hazards and should be tucked or stowed away with cord wind-ups.
- Children as young as two can open doors around or outside the home, so doorknob covers are imperative to prevent little explorers from entering off-limits areas.
- An often-overlooked hazard is the kitchen stove since babies typically can’t reach the hot surfaces. However, knobs on the front present a fire hazard if a child accidentally turns them on so parents should cover those as well.
While bathtime can be a great time to bond with your little one, the bathroom can also present a host of dangers. Melissa McGarvey, a water safety expert at British Swim School tells Parentology that in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, there are a few things all parents should do.
- Always close the door when filling the tub.
- Remove cleaning products, and employ the use of child locks on all cupboard doors (both high and low) within the bathroom.
- Never leave buckets or large toys in the bathroom area that a child can use as a step.
- Avoid the existence of sharp edges by covering with plastic corners or overlays.
- Non-slip mats inside the tub are key to avoiding slips and falls.