NOTHING KEEPS YOUR INFANT OR SMALL CHILD SAFER THAN YOUR WATCH FULL EYE!
But, only a split second that you take a phone call, hear a sibling scream in another room, or get involved in an important conversation MAY BE THE INSTANCE THAT YOUR CHILD GETS IN A HARMFUL SITUATION!
You can help prevent an injury by following these safety recommendations. Below are 5 categories of safety recommendations for the safety of your child at home. Learn how to baby proof your home and be prepared for minor & major emergencies. You may print any of the free checklists that you need to make necessary changes.
Safety changes slightly with the age of your child:
Infant: Newborn to 1 year old: Crib safety concerns & choking concerns. Take steps to make the crib safe & the floor that your baby crawls on as safe as possible, free from small items that are tempting to place in the mouth.
Toddler: 1 to 3 years old: standing to walk to running to climbing. Curiosity increases and focus increases. Toddlers want to get into cabinets, drawers & climb. Many injuries can be avoided if child safety locks are used & unsafe items are stored properly.
Pre-K to pre-teen: 4 years old to 12 years old. Some of the ages vary on when to start educating your child in different areas of safety & emergency situations. Depending on the maturity level, attention level, and safe decision-making capabilities of your child you may choose to start early on education or later as you see best.
Across the board for all ages, every adult & caregiver in the home should know medical emergency steps in life-threatening situations. Many medical emergency response steps are age appropriate & training is easy to receive from your local hospital or affiliate of the American Red Cross. Know life-sustaining emergency steps in the event of a medical situation such as choking, a heart condition, unconsciousness, or drowning. Contact your local hospitals for medical emergency classes and visit websites to get to know the steps on how to respond if an event occurs: American Red Cross available at http://www.redcross.org OR American Heart Association at 1-(877) AHA-4-CPR (242-4277) or visit website http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/
Your pediatrician or obstetrician may also know where to can receive training in life-sustaining medical emergencies. Be knowledgeable in major and minor medical emergencies & always have a first aid kit available. Know what steps to take for allergic reactions from the environment, foods or bug bites/stings.
Post poison control hot-line on the fridge & telephones & have programmed in your phone 1-800-222-1222.
TOP 5 SAFETY CATEGORIES FOR YOUR INFANT/CHILD
- EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: Minor & Major Medical Emergency Preparedness And Missing Child Preparedness
- FIRE SAFETY: Smoke, fire & burn prevention including electrical safety.
- ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY: remove or store out of reach harmful items that may cause choking, strangling, blunt trauma, entrapment, or drowning. Use child safety devices on your cabinets, doors, drawers & baby gaits or bars over all areas where infant/child not allowed.
- WATER SAFETY: Prevent drowning in & outside your home. Prevent burns from hot water.
- TRAVEL SAFETY: Know the safety steps to take while in the car & on a trip.
1. Emergency Preparedness
- Post Medical Emergency “Alert” Information Sheet: Place a sheet of paper on your fridge or in a designated area that contains important medical information on each child. A refrigerator is a good place in the event a caregiver or family member forgets where you have kept your sheet & if an emergency medical technician is in your home they have it ready for their access.
- Post-Poison Control Hot LIne on the fridge & each phone: 1-800-222-1222. You may also program this number in your cell phone. Always call 9-1-1 immediately if you know your child has ingested a poison but do not leave their side, take them with you or have another person call 9-1-1. You should read the label if you know the poison that was ingested & try the recommended steps.
- Take classes to become certified in emergency medical responses such as CPR(cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and Heimlich. Contact your local hospitals or the American Red Cross. All adults & caregivers should be certified in standard first aid, age-appropriate CPR & age-appropriate Heimlich if you have children or babysit/care for an infant or any age child.
- Know the signs of an allergic reaction to foods, animals, bugs, materials or the environment. Know that a serious allergic reaction involves one or more of the following: vomiting, rash/hives, swelling & sometimes difficulty breathing if it is an anaphylactic reaction. An anti-histamine should be given if an allergic reaction is noticed. If swelling &/or difficulty breathing occurs call 9-1-1 immediately. If a child has a known anaphylactic allergy then an EPI pen should be ready to be used at all times. TEach all family members or caregivers that you leave your child with how to use an EPI pen; a Call to Action Plan should be in place and practiced with each adult & younger sibling if they are sometimes alone with their younger sibling that has an anaphylactic reaction.
- Keep emergency medical equipment in a designated area. Sometimes it is difficult to have only one place but if you have more than one place then make sure all adults or older siblings know where these places are so they may retrieve items in an emergency. Place first aid kits in easy to find places such as near a fridge or designated cabinet in the kitchen. Lock cabinets where medicine or unsafe products are kept to keep small children out & away from possible injury.
- Post emergency numbers for a contact of you & your child’s physician(s) & after-hours numbers on your fridge or open area to see.
- Train siblings when they are ready to know how to respond to medical emergencies or security emergencies.
Missing Child Preparedness
- register your child with Amber Alert. www.amberalert.com in the event your child suddenly gets lost from you or is abducted. You may also consider other companies that are affiliated with local police that will give you an identification card to carry with you at all times & some companies offer mobile technology with information of your child that can be distributed readily by your phone to authorities & other contacts. Keep a current picture of your child always.
- consider child alarms or bells to use when traveling with children in crowds. Such safety items for children that keep them close to you are backpacks with a wrist strap that you can attach to your wrist so the child doesn’t stray, body alarms that sound if the child walks a designated length away
- Teach your children at an early age about “stranger danger”. Never to leave in a car with someone they don’t know & even someone they do know. Teach children to not open the door to anyone. Safety steps are to be taken such as code words that you can practice with your child when you think they are ready. Teach your child their full name, address, phone number & parents’ names at an early age in the event they get separated from you.
- Security measures are recommended in the home such as alarm system monitored, alarm devices on doors & windows if the child tries to get out of home then adults will be alerted. Use audio &/or video monitoring on your property.
Disaster emergency preparedness:
Have a disaster kit ready & stocked every 6-12months depending on the age of your child. visit www.nsc.org.
Have a weather alert radio or register with your local weather authorities or television station to receive free phone calls in the event there is a weather emergency in your area.
2. Fire Safety & Burn Safety
There are many fire prevention steps to take. Follow general fire prevention steps by visiting our fire, burn & electrical safety page on our website. Fire safety for children should focus on keeping infant/crawling baby or small child away from any heating source & away from all fire hazard items. Store all unsafe fire hazards high in locked cabinets or areas that are locked from the child. Use gates or bars to keep children away from fireplaces or other heating sources used in & outside of the home. Fire & burn safety includes items such as grills, hot lawn equipment, small appliances such as a toaster, waffle iron, hairdryer, hot flat iron, electrical wiring in & outside the home, etc. that are commonly used items that children may be around every day.
Some tips to follow for fire, burn & electrical safety for children no matter what age:
- use smoke detectors in the home, an alarm system monitored will contact fire department if smoke alarm sounds, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguisher(s), fire escape plan in place & practiced and flashlights with extra batteries in each room & in commonly used areas. Go to www.nfpa.org/education for fire safety education.
- keep all wiring in good condition & away from infant & small child’s reach. Repair all needed electrical outlets, switches & any loose parts.
- cover all electrical outlets with child safety devices.
- Have a disaster kit ready in the event a natural disaster occurs or something similar. Visit www.nsc.org or www.sparky.org.
- use fireproof safes that will store your valuables such as important documents & pictures.
- have fire escape ladders on the second level of the home or any floor above ground level.
3. Environmental Safety
The environment that your infant or small child lives in may pose potential dangers that sometimes are not obvious. Many infants & small children want to place almost everything in their mouths at this stage of life. Look around where your baby spends most of the time & make sure there is nothing that may cause choking, strangling or injury from sharp objects or blunt objects. Here is a list of tips to follow to keep them safe in their environment.
- Remove or store out of reach all small objects that is smaller than 1 1/2 inch; any small objects that are smaller than a golf ball or that can fit through a roll of toilet paper.
- Remove any material that is a choking hazard such as cords, wires, games or toys that have long strings or material that is longer than 4inches. Some toys may be played with but at supervision only. Clothing can pose a strangling danger too such as bathrobes with the tie/belt, dress belts, jewelry & scarfs. Use child safety cover on cords or remove from play area.
- Check all furniture, toys & other items for loose pieces & proper working conditions.
- Secure furniture & art or other items to the wall to prevent falling over on child
- Remove all heavy objects or breakable off of shelf & remove from the area if potential injury from those heavy objects.
Other common considerations for small children that are crawling & pulling up are to keep unsafe products out of reach or use safety locks on cabinets or drawers. Cover all furniture that has sharp edges & tops of counters or fireplace flooring. Use gaits to stop a child from entering stairs, areas that are not baby-proofed & fireplaces, or other heating source areas.
4. WATER SAFETY
- Cover all hot water faucets with childproof devices
- Set water temperature on or below recommended medium or 120degrees Fahrenheit
- Use child proof devices on toilets to prevent drowning
- Check water temperature for safety before bathing: warm only & warm the air before, during & after bath
- Never leave a child alone in a tub or bath of water
- Never leave water standing in or outside of the home due to risk of drowning by a small child
- Place at least a 4-foot height fence around any water hazard on the property with locked gait. Fences must be around pools, hot tubs, ponds, water well, or other water-containing devices
- Use pool alarms for the safety of your child.
5. Travel Safety
Use these tips when traveling with your infant or child every day and during road trips
Safety day today is most important when your infant or small child is traveling in a car. Your child must be in age & weight-appropriate car seat. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 85% of car seats are not installed properly.
Contact your local children’s hospital to find free classes on installing a car seat for infant & small child. Car seats for infants, toddlers, and small children should be chosen by safety testing ratings and by weight recommendations of your child according to the safety travel laws. Infant car seats should be used rear-facing in the back seat of a vehicle for an infant that is under 1 year old and weighs under 20 pounds. The infant must be both 1 year old and additionally, weigh at least 20 pounds before positioning the car seat forward-facing.
Car seats must be positioned in the middle of the back seat unless the owner’s manual of the vehicle specifies that it is safe to be positioned on the sides near the windows. Many vehicles have tethers for securing & positioning car seats near windows in the back seat. All airbags in vehicles in the backseat should be disengaged for the purpose of child protection in the event of an accident. Many vehicles have airbags that are factory disengaged for the protection of a child in the back seat. Read your owner’s manual of your vehicle & your instructions with your car seat for safety recommendations.
***Register your car seat on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at www.nhtsa.gov/
***You may receive emails from your manufacturer of the car seat also if you have registered your car seat when you purchased it.
***Stay informed of all rebates on toys & car seats and other items through the Consumer Product Safety Commission at http://www.cpsc.gov
Consumer Reports have tested car seats and have recommended several brands and models of car seats and rated their overall score.
Convertible car seats: those car seats that can be used rear-facing and then be turned forward-facing when a child is an appropriate age and weight. These seats range from up to 40 pounds weight to 80 pounds depending on the make and model. Please compare features due to some that are recommended may not have all the features you are trying to find. These below are recommended and vary in price(varies with location, store & year), features & weight requirements. Please remember these approximate prices may vary from store and from state to state.
- Cosco Scenera: 40# capacity at approximately $60.
- Graco ComfortSport: 40# capacity at approx $90.
- Combi Coccoro: 40# capacity at approx $200
- Evenflo Triumph Advance LX/DLX: good fit for infants although rear-facing only is the best. This is a 40# capacity at approx $135.
- Maxi Cosi Priori: 40# capacity weight at approx $200.
Infant Car Seats
These car seats are rear-facing and for infants up to 1-year-old and additionally 22 pounds. The weight may vary with some seats but it is safer to go by 22 pounds & 1year old requirement before changing seats to a forward-facing car seat.
- Chicco Key Fit 30: infant car seat over 22# capacity at approx $180. Easy to install.
- Chicco Key Fit: infant car sear up to 22# capacity at approx $170. Easy to install.
- Combi Shuttle 33: infant car seat greater than 22# capacity at approx $180. Easy to install.
- Safety 1st OnBoard 35: infant car seat greater than 22# at approx $100. Best Value with excellent crash protection.
Consider using safety alarms when traveling daily with a child that will alarm you when a child is left in the car alone. Alarms are also available that may be placed safely on a child to alarm you when they are separated from you, which specific brands offer the distance you can choose for the alarm to sound. If you are in a crowded area such as a zoo or amusement park or even in a department store you may consider placing locator alarms on your child if you are concerned your child might wander away from your side.
Never leave a child in a car alone. Your local laws may vary slightly with age but it is recommended a child be 12 or older if left in the car & only for a short period of time.
Cars are safer in garage or carport if locked to keep small children out & prevent suffocation. Making a habit of locking your vehicle when you go into your home is safer against theft also. Remember to not have valuables in plain sight left in your car. You should also consider keeping an extra key to your vehicles in the garage in the event you need them immediately for any emergency or if you have misplaced or lost your primary set of keys.
Always travel with an appropriate emergency kit in a car that is seasonal ready. Extra water, snacks, shoes, blanket, flashlights, battery charger, jumper cables, fix a flat & always have a spare tire in good condition & aired, tire pressure gauge, extra batteries for flashlights, ice scraper or de-icer. Always have a communication system when traveling such as two-way radio, cellular phone, On Star or similar emergency contact system. On Star offers many safety services for your vehicle such as unlocking your vehicle if you accidentally leave your keys inside, giving you directions if you are lost, locating your vehicle if it gets stolen, and contacting emergency services if you have an accident or have a health issue and need medical assistance called.
1st STAGE SAFETY FOR YOUR INFANT
Your baby spends a lot of time in the crib or bassinet at this stage and most likely crawling. Take a good look at your baby’s crib and the floor for safety hazards!!!
- Keep baby on the back during sleep
- Keep toys, pillows, and cushions out of the crib to prevent suffocation
- Rails should be no wider than 6inches
- Check parts and maintain crib on a regular basis
- Keep monitor near crib at all times
- Keep knobs or attachable toys off crib to prevent clothing from getting caught to prevent choking
- Keep dangling objects away from such as cords in reach or blind cords
- Keep crib away from windows
- Lower mattress of crib as baby changes stages from rolling to pulling up to standing to prevent falls from crib
Floor, Furniture & Wall Safety
Take a good scan of the floor to the ceiling and check for any choking, straggling or head injury hazard! This means removing all small pieces off the floor (anything that can fit thru a toilet roll hole is too small for the baby.
- Repair any loose flooring where baby plays
- Secure all furniture, especially top-heavy unsteady furniture, art or anything on the wall, shelving, and televisions
- remove any cords or strings longer than 4 inches within a baby’s reach
- cover all electrical outlets
- check all lighting for proper function and stability
- check all toys and any equipment near the baby for small pieces or loose parts and any baby furniture for proper working condition. Cover all sharp corners of furniture, toys, counters and walls.
- lock cabinets where baby not allowed
- use certified baby gaits at the area where baby not allowed such as at stairs entrance or to the bathroom or to keep baby in baby controlled environment room
- use audio or video monitoring for safety while baby sleeps and or when you are not in immediate supervision of your baby
- never leave a baby or toddler in or near standing water or in the bath alone
- keep all chemicals and medicine high and in a locked cabinet
- Never leave a baby or small child unattended on a high surface even if in a carrier or other seat device
Additional tips for your infant or small child:
- Attend prenatal classes at your local hospital or were recommended by your physician
- Keep regularly scheduled immunization and baby wellness appointments for your baby
Check with your physician or local hospital for classes on taking care of your baby, proper nutrition and safety and for recommended reading material for caring for your baby.
AGAIN***POISON CONTROL HOT-LINE POSTED ON EVERY PHONE 1-800-222-1222 and CALL 9-1-1.
Additional Recommendations for Baby Safety
- Remove balloons unless monitored playtime
- Check toys for lead content.
- Older homes have lead content in the paint.
- Check cribs for lead and place a plastic cover over crib where teething may start.
- Remove cords from blinds or use safety device to move cord away from reach
Fire safety tips
- Always place natural fire retardant clothing on baby such as cotton and have emergency fire retardant blankets in case of fire. Use free & clear wash detergent for baby clothing.
- Smoke alarms at every room entrance
- emergency preparedness plan
- Flashlights available in every room
- Escape ladder on the second level of home and safety harness for carrying; fire-retardant blanket