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How to keep your baby safe

September 01, 2020

As a parent, there’s a lot to keep track of to make sure your baby stays safe.

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) sponsored its first “Baby Safety Awareness Month” in September 1991. Almost 20 years later, parents are still working hard to educate themselves about several key topics.

Buy Safe Products

This year, JPMA is focusing on helping parents pick safe toys and products for their children.

When picking out toys for your children, make sure they are age appropriate and non-toxic. These pieces of information are typically on the toy packaging. 

Make sure the toys are large enough so they don't pose a choking hazard. Avoid toys that are too loud, as they may damage your child's hearing.

Register new purchases

When you’re cooking meals or playing with the kids, the last thing you want to have to do is scour the internet in search of possible recalls.

Make sure to register new toys and products with the manufacturer after you buy them. The manufacturer can contact you directly if there is an issue with the product. JPMA reassures parents that companies won’t use that information to spam you with marketing emails.

Thoroughly examine used products

It can be tempting to try to buy your baby products secondhand, often at a lower price.

JPMA suggests steering clear of used toys and baby gear, because they may not meet current safety standards. While items like cribs don’t “go bad” like food can, manufacturers put expiration dates on certain products to warn buyers against equipment that may be harmful with age or changing best practices.

If you do buy baby items secondhand, make sure the product has all its parts and that it works. You should also check whether the product has been recalled. Also, in light of COVID-19, be sure to thoroughly wash and sanitize used items before allowing children to play with them.

Learn about safe sleep for baby

Make sure your baby gets a good night’s sleep by following safe sleep practices.

There are many things that help to ensure safe sleep, including:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Avoiding exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Keeping your baby on their back on a firm flat mattress
  • Keeping thick or fluffy blankets, pillows, bumpers, and stuffed animals out of the crib
  • Sharing a room but not a bed with your baby

Following these best practices can reduce your baby’s risks of sleep-related deaths.

Make sure your baby gets vaccinated

Many parents are delaying doctor’s appointments for their children because of COVID-19 fears.

But it’s important that your baby gets the vaccinations they need to protect against other, sometimes deadly, health risks.

That includes:

  • Whooping cough
  • Common blood infections
  • Pneumonia

Install car seats properly

Children under 13 should ride in the back seat wearing a seatbelt or in a car seat. Babies under 1 year old and 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing car seat, reclined at a 45-degree angle.

Safe Kids suggests getting your car seat installed by a certified child passenger seat technician. Check for free car seat safety events in your area or ask your local fire department if they can check your installation.

Take COVID-19 safety precautions

Children under 2 years old are exempt from wearing face masks, but there are some things you can do to protect your baby from COVID-19.

  • Make sure baby’s caregivers do not have COVID-19 or its symptoms.
  • All caregivers should wash hands before any contact with baby.
  • All caregivers should wear a face mask during contact with baby.

Make your home is safe

Even parenting pros need to be vigilant about making their home safe.

Older siblings can create hazards in the most baby-proofed homes by leaving small parts from toys laying around as well as opening doors, toilet lids, and cabinets.

In the nursery

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.

See tips for furniture safety.

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.

See these additional tips from

In the bathroom

When drawing a 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.

In the Living Room

Take a look at the television sets in your house to make sure they can’t tip over accidentally onto your child.

Safe Kids recommends:

  • Mounting flat-screen televisions to the wall to prevent them from toppling off stands and following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Placing large, heavy, old-style cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions on a low, stable piece of furniture.
  • Avoiding placing remote controls, food, toys or other items in places where babies might be tempted to climb up or reach for them.
  • Make sure to thoroughly secure furniture to walls.

In the backyard and 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.

Learn more with these backyard safety tips.

Get support

Baystate Health offers a number of services, including parenting classes, to help you keep your baby safe.

Learn more about signing up for parenting classes, joining a parenting group, and getting the support you need.