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5 baby safety tips every parent should know

September 10, 2016

Although many of us wish for an instruction manual when our baby is born, a baby doesn’t come with one. Whether you’re a first-time parent or a parent many times over, baby safety will be one of the most important topics to consider.

Here are five baby safety tips every parent should know to keep your precious little one safe:

1. Baby Sleeping Safety

When you lay baby down to sleep, always put them down on their backs. Be sure that the only thing in the baby’s bed is a fitted crib sheet. That’s it. The baby’s bed should not have any extra blankets, pillows or stuffed animals in it. This will reduce the risk of suffocation if only the baby is in the bed and nothing else. However, if you’re worried about keeping your baby warm on colder nights, put baby in a wearable blanket.

Additionally, you’ll want to avoid placing the baby’s bed near windows, draperies, blinds or wall-mounted decorative accessories with cords. Be sure to not hang anything on or above a baby’s crib on a string or cord. Bring your baby’s bed into your bedroom for more convenient feeding and close contact. It is important to always return your baby to their own bed when you’re ready to go back to sleep. Never sleep with your baby in the bed.

2. Changing Table Safety

You’ll find that you’ll be at the changing table many times with a baby. Make sure this an extra safe area, as you’ll most likely have many diaper changes there and have your hands full. Make sure the changing pad is on a sturdy table and never leave the baby alone. Always keep your eyes and at least one hand on the baby when they are on the changing table. It also helps to have all of the supplies you’ll need- including diapers, wipes, lotion and diaper cream close at hand on the changing table.

3. Car Seat Safety

When taking the baby in a car, you’ll want to make sure that the baby is in a federally approved car seat. AAP now recommends children stay rear-facing until at least age 2. In fact, the state of California is mandating this as a law effective Jan. 1, 2017.

In a crash, if your child is riding forward-facing, her spinal cord may stretch, which could result in serious injury or death. However, when your baby rides rear-facing in a child safety seat, her upper body — head, neck and spine — is cradled by the back of the child safety seat in the case of a frontal crash, which is the most common type of crash. Always put the baby in the back seat of the car. In fact, the safest location for the car seat is the middle of the back seat. NEVER put the baby in the front passenger seat of cars because of airbags. If you have a truck without a back seat, you should undo the airbag while the baby’s seat is in the car.

4. Preventing Baby Falls Safety

This may be a safety idea that you’re not familiar with or may not think of, but is important nevertheless. If you use an infant carrier- including a bouncy seat or their car seat- always put it on the floor. Never put it on a countertop or table. And, make sure the baby is always strapped in. Never leave your baby on a couch, changing table, bed or infant seat where they can roll or fall off of. Babies are way more wiggly and squirmy than we realize, and even if we think we’re just looking away for a second, an accident could happen.

5. Bathing Baby Safety

For the most part, babies love to bathe. To help you feel confident bathing your baby, here are some important tips to follow:

  • Before putting your baby into the water, always test the bath water. You don’t want the water to be too hot before setting your baby in the water. The best way to test the water is with your elbow.
  • Turn your hot water heater down to 120° F.
  • It only takes a few seconds for a baby to drown, so never leave your baby unattended in the bathtub.
  • Store hair dryers and radios, or anything else electrical, away from the water and bathing areas. Always keep these appliances unplugged and out of reach.

We’re all trying to do our best to protect our babies, but you can never be too careful. For an even more thorough baby safety guide, see here.

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