Baby Proofing Your Home
As Recommended by the National Safety Council
Babies learn quickly in their first year. For new parents, it's a pleasant surprise to see how soon they begin moving and
exploring. But turn your back for a moment, and the infant who was squirming helplessly on a blanket is suddenly
crawling across the room at high speeds.
Children are naturally curious. Tasting, touching and feeling are how infants and toddlers learn about the world around
them. Take a moment to look at your surroundings from a youngster's point of view. Then make any necessary
adjustments to baby-proof your home.
Mechanical suffocation and suffocation by ingested objects cause the most home fatalities to children 0-4 years of age.
Drownings and home fires also contribute to the death of young children.
Suffocation and Choking
| Infants, when placed on an adult bed of any kind, can roll into the space between the wall and the mattress and |
|suffocate. Exercise caution if sleeping in the same bed with an infant. It is possible for an infant to become wedged |
between your body and the mattress and suffocate. Infants should never be placed on top of soft surfaces like
sofas, large soft toys, sofa cushions, pillows, water beds or on top of blankets, quilts or comforters.
|Babies should sleep on their backs.|
|Crib bars should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart to prevent infants from getting their heads stuck between |
|them. Cribs manufactured after 1974 must meet this and other strict safety standards.|
|The crib mattress must fit tightly so there are no gaps for an infant to fall into. Keep the crib clear of plastic sheets, |
|pillows and large stuffed animals or toys. These can be suffocation hazards.|
|Keep toys with long strings or cords away from infants and young children. A cord can become wrapped around an |
|infant's neck and cause strangulation. Toys with long strings, cords, loops or ribbons should never be hung in cribs |
or playpens. Similarly, pacifiers should never be attached to strings or ribbons around the baby's neck.
|Place an infant or child's bed away from any windows. Check window coverings for potentially hazardous pull |
|Use child safety gates at the top and bottom of all staircases and be sure they're installed correctly. Avoid |
|accordion style safety gates with large openings that children could fit their heads through.|
|Choking is a common cause of unintentional death in children under the age of 1. Avoid all foods that could lodge |
|in a child's throat. Some examples include popcorn, grapes, foods with pits, raisins, nuts, hard candies, raw |
vegetables, and small pieces of hotdogs.
|Never let children of any age eat or suck on anything, such as hard candy, while lying down.|
|Keep floors, tables and cabinet tops free of small objects that could be swallowed. Such objects include coins, |
|button-sized batteries, rings, nails, tacks and broken or deflated balloons.|
|A mixer faucet (i.e., one single faucet rather than a hot and a cold) on the basin, tub and shower will prevent scalds. |
|Set your hot water thermostat for 120 degrees F. A baby's bathwater should be 100 degrees F. Always check |
bathwater temperature with your wrist or elbow before putting a baby in to bathe as that skin is more delicate,
similar to a baby's. Don't allow children in a whirlpool, Jacuzzi or hot tub. Their bodies are more sensitive to hot
|Teach youngsters that matches are tools for adults, not toys. Adults should never ignite lighters or matches in |
|front of their children which would allow them to see how they work. Store matches in a fire-resistant container |
out of the reach of youngsters.
|Do not smoke, use matches or drink hot beverages while holding an infant. Don't leave burning cigarettes |
|Remember that radiators, heating vents, space heaters, fireplaces, stoves and hot water taps are not always hot. |
|Children can touch them once safety and the next time receive a severe burn.|
|Keep electrical cords and wire out of the way so toddlers can't pull, trip or chew on them. Cover wall outlets with |
|Never leave a child unsupervised in the bathtub or kiddie pool. If you must leave the room for a telephone call or |
|to answer the door, wrap the child in a towel and take him or her with you. Don't leave a small child alone with any |
container of liquid, including wading pools, scrub buckets, and toilets.
|A swimming pool drowning could also be called a "silent death" as there is rarely a splash or cry for help to alert |
|parents to the problem. The typical drowning victim is a boy between 1 and 3 years old who is thought not to be in |
the pool area at the time of the incident. Therefore:
|Fence in the pool completely. Doors leading to the pool area should be self-closing and self-latching or equipped |
|with exit alarms and should never be propped open.|
|Never take your eyes off children when they are in or near any body of water, not even for a second. That's all it |
|takes. Don't rely on inflatable devices, such as inner tubes, water wings, inflatable mattresses and toys or other |
similar objects to keep a youngster afloat. Keep toys, tricycles and other playthings away from the pool area. A
toddler near the water could unexpectedly fall in.
If it seems that there is a lot to do before a new bundle of joy comes home -- you are correct. However, simple safety
checks can help ensure that you and baby will have many happy and healthy years together.