September is Baby Safety Month and the Safe Kids Coalition headquartered at Baystate Children’s Hospital reminds parents and caregivers to plan ahead to make safe spaces for babies “at home, at play and on the way.”
Safe Kids co-coordinator Mandi Summers has the following safety tips for children ages 0-3:
• In the nursery – Remove pillows, soft bedding and toys from crib; put your baby “back to sleep” (face up) on a firm mattress. Keep cribs away from windows and furniture. Install guards on windows that you will open, and tie up cords on curtains and blinds. Install smoke alarms on every floor and outside all sleeping areas. Install safety gates at top and bottom of stairs.
• In the kitchen – Never leave a hot stove unattended. Keep hot liquids, poisons and electrical cords out of reach, and keep cleaning products and other poisons locked out of reach. Don’t let children under age 3 eat small, round or hard foods such as hot dogs, grapes, hard candy, nuts or popcorn.
• In the bath – Mix hot and cold water together, and test the temperature before putting the baby in. Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees to help prevent scalding. Never leave a baby alone in the bath.
• On the playground – Actively supervise children on the playground – but within arm’s reach. Avoid playgrounds with asphalt surfaces. Don’t let kids wear jewelry or drawstring clothing at the playground. Pools should be fenced on all four sides and have self-closing gates.
• In the car – Children under 13 should always ride in the back seat in proper restraints. Babies under 1 year old and 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing car seat, reclined at a 45-degree angle. Always check the harness for proper fit.
Also, according to Safe Kids, every 45 minutes, or less than the length of a Sesame Street episode, a child visits the ER because of a television tipping over. The coalition notes that most parents don’t even think about it, but securing your television and furniture is an important part of baby-proofing your home.
Safe Kids recommends:
• Assessing the stability of the televisions in your home.
• Mounting flat-screen televisions to the wall to prevent them from toppling off stands and following the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you have a secure fit.
• If you have a large, heavy, old-style cathode ray tube (CRT) television, placing it on a low, stable piece of furniture.
• Using brackets, braces or wall straps to secure unstable or top-heavy furniture to the wall.
• Installing stops on dresser drawers to prevent them from being pulled all the way out. Multiple open drawers can cause the weight to shift, making it easier for a dresser to fall.
• Keeping heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers.
• Avoiding placing remote controls, food, toys or other items in places where babies might be tempted to climb up or reach for them.
Baby Safety Month started in 1983 when the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association initiated “Expectant Mother’s Day.” In 1986, it was extended to a week-long celebration, until 1991, when JPMA sponsored the first “Baby Safety Awareness Month.” Since then, every September has been designated as Baby Safety Month.
For more information on baby safety, visit Safe Kids Worldwide at www.safekids.org/infantsafety or for more information on the Safe Kids Coalition headquartered at Baystate Children’s Hospital visit www.baystatehealth.org/safekids.