- Bathe baby in a specially designed, slip-resistant infant bathtub.
- Fill tub with 2-3 inches of warm—not hot—water (check temperature with your wrist or tub thermometer. The water should be between 96-100 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Stay within arm's reach of your baby while he or she is in the tub.
- Bassinet and/or crib should meet current safety standards.
- Keep items such as pillows, comforters, quilts, and stuffed toys out of the bed.
- Mattress should be firm and fit snugly within the bassinet/crib.
- Remove mobiles when baby can sit on his or her own.
- Remove bumper pads and shift crib mattress to lowest position when baby can pull to a standing position.
- Keep bassinet/crib positioned away from windows, heaters, lamps, and other furniture.
- Do not leave baby unattended on a changing table, and be sure to use the safety strap.
- Avoid walking away from baby by keeping all changing supplies within arm's reach of changing table.
- Always put your baby to sleep on his or her back.
During the first year of life, eating is constantly an adventure. Baby can rapidly move from breast milk/formula to trying his/her first table foods. Plus, babies use their mouths to learn about their world, so many non-food items also find their way into little mouths. Due to all of the action these mouths see, choking is an inherent danger. Following are a few tips for keeping your baby safe:
- Until age 4, avoid foods that can block the airways such as: peanut butter, hot dogs, popcorn, whole grapes, raw carrots, raisins, nuts, hard candies or toffees and chewing gum.
- Provide safe finger foods such as bananas, well-cooked pasta and vegetables, o-shaped low-sugar cereals (such as Cheerios).
- Keep items such as coins, buttons, balloons, safety pins, barrettes, and rocks out of your child's reach.
- Follow age recommendations on toys, especially those with small parts, and make sure toys are in good repair.
- Be vigilant. Small children put many things in their mouths. A watchful adult is often the best defense.
What to Do if Your Child is Choking
No matter how careful and vigilant a parent may be, accidents sometimes happen. The American Heart Association recommends the following actions to help a choking child.
If Your Baby is Choking
- Hold the baby face down on your forearm, with the infant's head in your hand.
- Give up to five blows to the back with the heel of your free hand.
- Turn the baby over and give up to five chest thrusts, placing the heel of your free hand on the lower half of the breastbone.
- Alternate between the five back blows and five chest thrusts until the object in the baby's throat comes out or the baby becomes unconscious.
- If the baby becomes unconscious, have someone call 911, and begin giving CPR.
- If you are alone, call 911 after you have given CPR for about a minute.
If Your Older Child is Choking
- Ask the child if he or she can speak. If he or she cannot, tell him or her that you are going to help.
- Get behind the child and wrap your arms around his or her midsection.
- Place your fist against the center of the child's abdomen, between the navel and the ribs. Use your other hand to hold your fist in place.
- Give abdominal thrusts until the object comes out or until the child becomes unconscious.
- If the child becomes unconscious, have someone call 911, and begin giving CPR.
- If you are alone, call 911 after you have given CPR for about a minute.
- Purchase and correctly install an infant car safety seat.
- Avoid burns by not holding your baby while cooking or holding hot food or beverages.
- Never leave baby unattended on beds, sofas, chairs, or any place where he or she may fall.
- Install baby gates at the top and bottom of stairways.
- Never leave baby alone with other young children or with pets.
- Before baby begins crawling, childproof your home.
Furniture and Equipment
- Crib and Playpen: In 2011 new safety guidelines were established to make sure that cribs were safer for babies. Please check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website (http://www.cpsc.gov) for a list of recalled cribs and other items.
- Crib spindles should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart. This is about as wide as a 12 ounce drink can or the short side of a dollar bill.
- Make sure that all joints are secure, that there are no loose screws, nuts, plastic parts or springs.
- Make sure that there is no peeling paint or splintered wood.
- The mattress should fit securely in the crib, leaving no gaps around the where your baby could get stuck or trapped.
Drop side cribs should not be used for babies or children. Babies and children can get trapped in the crib and
die. The U.S. is no longer making or selling drop side cribs.
- Cribs should be free of pillows, comforters, blankets, bumper pads and stuffed animals. Use a tight fitting sheet to cover the mattress.
Make sure there are no dangling cords from window blinds, lamps or mobiles
near the crib.
- If using a playpen or Pack and Play® make sure the sides lock securely. Playpens should be free of pillows, comforters, blankets, bumper pads and stuffed animals.
- High Chair: When your baby is 5 or 6 months old and can sit up without support, he can use a high chair. The base should be wider than the top of the chair so it does not tip over easily. Make sure the tray latches securely. Always use a 5 point harness when your baby is in the high chair, and never leave him alone in the chair - not even for a minute.
- Infant Swing: A fussy baby who cries a lot may be calmed by an infant swing. The swinging movement often soothes the baby. Always use a 5 point harness to secure the baby in the swing and never leave a baby alone in a swing. If the baby falls asleep in the swing, he should be gently removed from the swing and placed in his crib, on his back.
- Car Seat: An approved car seat is the most important piece of equipment you can have for your baby’s safety.
- Baby Walkers: Not a good idea and should not be used! Children don't need them to learn to walk and they can be very dangerous. Each year many babies are seriously injured from falls while in walkers.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Should be installed in the home and checked regularly to make sure they are working correctly.
- High Up is High Risk: Keep infant seats off high surfaces and make sure your baby is properly strapped in. Keep hold of children on changing tables, beds, couches, exam tables, counters and chairs. If car seats are used as a carrier, they should be placed on a hard, flat floor, where there is no danger of falling over. Car seats should not be used as a sleep surface.
Toys and Pets
- Don't leave your baby alone in a room with a dog, cat, or any pet. Even if your pet seems gentle, it could think your baby is a threat, and could harm him.
- Marbles, plastic bags, balloons, magnets and toys with small loose parts or buttons, are all things that can hurt your baby if they are swallowed. Crib toys should not have parts that can be chewed off or swallowed. Don't tie toys to the crib. The baby's neck, fingers, and toes can get tangled in the string. Any toy that can fit through a cardboard toilet tissue roll is too small to be within the reach of children under 3 years of age.
Food and Clothing
Take strings off the bottoms of sleepers so they don't get wrapped around baby's neck or toes. Check all clothing for loose buttons that could be swallowed or strings that could get wrapped around your baby’s neck, fingers, or toes.
Hold your baby when you feed him. Propping the bottle or giving strained food through a bottle can cause choking. The milk or formula that stays in the mouth when a bottle is propped can lead to tooth decay later.
If your baby uses a pacifier, do not tie the pacifier to baby's clothes or around his neck.
Do not give your baby any of these foods until he has a full set of teeth and can chew well: apple chunks or slices, grapes, cut-up hot dogs, popcorn, nuts, seeds, round candies, hard chunks of uncooked vegetables. Sometimes well intending siblings like to share their food with their younger siblings, creating a choking risk. Do not leave your small child unattended during meals.
Never carry or handle hot liquids around your baby.
Drowning is the second leading cause of injury deaths among US children ages 1 to 4 years and the fifth leading cause of injury deaths among children younger than 1 year.
- Never leave your child alone in the bathtub, hot tub or backyard pool - even for a second. If you must leave for any reason, take your child with you. Young children can drown very quickly in a small amount of water. When giving baby a bath, use a plastic dish pan or infant tub with a non-skid mat to keep your baby from slipping. Always test the water with your elbow first to avoid burning the baby’s delicate skin).
- Hot water heaters should be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burns.
- Babies have drowned while using bath seats, so you should always keep your baby within your reach. If you do use a bath seat, stop using it when your baby is old enough to start pulling up to a standing position. Bath seats can tip over and infants and toddlers can climb out. The seat can come loose from the suction devices that attach the seat to the bathtub bottom. Baby bath seats are not safety devices and do not take the place of adult supervision.
- Do not leave buckets or inflatable pools around with water in them. Babies can fall in headfirst and drown.
When Baby Starts to Crawl
- When your baby starts to crawl or walk, long or sharp objects such as spoons, lollipops, or Popsicle sticks can be harmful. If he falls while the item is in his mouth or near the eyes, it could hurt him.
- Outlet covers should be put in unused outlets and furniture should be secured to walls to avoid the toddler pulling it over and causing serious injury. Electric wires should be secured to the floor or under rugs to prevent injury.
- Safety gates should be placed at the top and bottom of the stairs and 2nd floor windows should remain locked or have a window guard on them to prevent children from falling through the screen. Furniture should be moved away from windows so small children can’t climb up and fall out the window.
- Poison-proof your home. If you carry medicine, cigarettes or lighters in your purse, keep your purse out of your toddler's reach. Move cleaning products and medicines to high cupboards or put safety latches on low cupboards
Here are tips for electrical safety at home:
- Get a licensed electrician to install safety switches, which cut power off quickly to avoid electrocution.
- Get a licensed electrician to do any repairs.
- Replace electrical appliances and cords if they’re worn.
- Use power point covers.
Falls prevention at home
Falls are the most common cause of injuries and visits to hospital in every age group.
You can help to keep your child safe by watching the new skills they’re learning, and the new places they can reach – and then adjusting your home. For example:
- When your child starts crawling, install safety guards across entries to stairs and balconies. And you still need to supervise your child on stairs and balconies.
- When your child starts climbing, lock windows – particularly upper-storey windows – restrict window openings, or shield them with firmly attached window guards. This will stop your child climbing out and falling.
- Leave a hall light on at night, or use sensor lights to make it easier for older children to get to the toilet without tripping.
When children are running around at home, it’s easy for them to run into glass windows and doors. Here are tips to keep your child safe around glass:
- Install safety glass in windows and doors or apply shatter-resistant film to windows and doors of older homes.
- Put stickers on glass at eye level.
Household tools and backyard safety
Some simple precautions can help you keep your child safe around household tools and other backyard safety hazards:
- Lock away hand tools like saws and drills, and keep lawnmowers, chainsaws and other sharp tools out of reach.
- Make sure your child is out of the way when you’re using tools.
- Unplug and store tools away whenever you take a break.
House fires can be caused by cooking accidents, smouldering cigarettes, electrical faults, candles, incense and children playing with lighters and matches.
Working smoke alarms are an essential fire safety precaution.
By law your home must have at least one working smoke alarm installed on each level. For overall fire safety at home, you should install a smoke alarm outside the sleeping areas of your home. It’s also a very good idea to install alarms in bedrooms where people sleep with their doors closed.
Test your smoke alarms every month and replace batteries each year. Replace the smoke alarms themselves every 10 years.
Poisoning is one of the leading causes of injury to children under five, and children are often poisoned by common household chemicals and medicines.
You can make your child’s environment safer by:
- removing potential poisons
- storing chemicals and medicines up high in a locked cupboard or cabinet
- putting a child-safety latch on the doors of cupboards where you keep household poisons.
If you think your child has been poisoned, call an ambulance and Poison Control at (800) 222-1222 (This is the United States Poison Control #)
Strangulation and suffocation prevention
Many homes have everyday items that could strangle or suffocate a child. These items include soft toys and bedding, blinds, cords and ropes, and bags, boxes and packaging.
Here are some essential safety tips to keep your child safe from suffocation and strangulation:
- Keep stuffed toys, cushions and piles of clothing out of cots and prams.
- Wrap blind cords in cleats attached to the wall at least 1.6 m above the floor.
- Tie knots in plastic bags, and keep them away from children.
Water safety depends on 100% active adult supervision whenever your child is around water. This includes around baths, pools, ponds, dams, rivers, creeks, baths and buckets with water.
If you have a pool, by law in most states, you must have a pool fence and self-locking gate that meets local code. Regularly check and maintain the pool fence and gate to make sure it’s in proper working order. Never leave the gate propped open.
For bath safety, always supervise and give your full attention to babies and children under five years in the bath. Never leave children alone in the bath or bathroom. Never leave older children or siblings to supervise.
CPR and first aid
It’s a very good idea to do some first aid and CPR training. First aid training is recommended every three years, and CPR training is recommended every year.
Keep first aid kits in your home and car, and take a kit on holiday outings and vacations too.
Make a list of emergency numbers to keep near your telephone. Below are some suggestions for numbers to include:
- Police, ambulance, fire
- Poisons Information Centre
- State Emergency Services
- child and family health nurse
- local children’s hospital
- all-night pharmacy
- trusted neighbors and relatives