Infant Safety Tips

Keep this list of important injury prevention and safety tips handy for you and anyone caring for your baby or child.

Car Accidents

  • Make sure your child’s car seat is correctly installed and used every time your child is in the car.
  • Driving while talking on a cell phone can be as dangerous as driving while drunk and listening to someone else talk on a cell phone is even more distracting, according to recent research. Pull over when your baby is in the vehicle if someone needs to make a call.

Drownings

  • Never leave your baby unattended while he’s bathing. Children can drown in less than 4 inches of water.

Burns

  • Make sure your home has smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that work. If bedroom doors are kept closed during the night, each bedroom should have its own smoke detector. Check the batteries regularly and replace as needed.
  • Dress your child in nonflammable sleepwear.
  • Keep your hot water temperature set at or below 120 degrees F (50 degrees C).
  • Keep hot appliances out of reach. And make sure the cords for those and other appliances are not dangling (use a cord container to hold excess cord length). Your baby could tug on the cord, pulling the appliance down onto him or her.

Falls

  • Never leave your baby unattended on any surface above floor level, such as a sofa or changing table. Babies of any age can roll or wriggle and fall.
  • Similarly, beware of furniture that could fall onto your child. As babies learn to stand and walk, they may grab onto furniture to pull themselves up. Secure tippable furniture (TV stands, book shelves or dressers, for example) with furniture anchors or tethers.
  • Never use infant walkers. Pediatricians have long warned about the injury risks of these activity centers on wheels. A baby can move 3 feet in just 1 second in a walker. Drownings, burns from accessing a hot stove and tumbles down stairs while in a baby walker are among the common injuries reported.
  • Use window and stairway guards.

Poisonings or Hazardous Ingestion

  • Keep the poison-control center telephone number by your phone. This toll-free number will connect you with the poison control center in your state: 1-800-222-1222. If your child has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911.
  • Before your infant is crawling, safety-proof all cabinets under the sink and drawers at floor level. You will be surprised when you get down on the floor and see all the tempting and dangerous things your baby can find.
  • Keep all batteries (especially the thin lithium disc batteries) out of reach. As lithium disc batteries gain wider use, more children are swallowing them. While certainly a choking hazard, swallowing these batteries can burn through a child’s esophagus in just a couple of hours, causing significant, potentially deadly damage. Get your child to a doctor immediately if he swallows one; the quicker it is removed, the better.

Medicines

  • Children are twice as likely to be poisoned by medicines as by cleaning products, according to a recent study. So be extra careful about closing childproof containers properly, and know that toddlers can be surprisingly clever about getting to medications you and any of your child’s caregivers may think are out of reach.
  • Be careful, too, when dispensing medicines to your child; a recent study found that parents often make dosing errors, especially when using dosing cups.

Strangulation

  • Check all window coverings for exposed or dangling cords, which pose a strangulation hazard. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends only cordless window coverings.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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