Baby Safety: How To Keep Your Baby Safe at Home

News » Baby Safety: How To Keep Your Baby Safe at Home

For parents, their baby’s safety is paramount. As a child grows and is able to explore and experience new things, they become more susceptible to the dangers of things around them. It’s important for parents to be aware of products and practices that can harm their child and ways to keep them safe.

Even if a product seems harmless, it can pose an unexpected danger to a young child. Counterfeit and defective toys, pacifiers, and other baby products are surreptitiously marketed and sold across the web and in stores.

Always be on the lookout for warning labels, recalls, and any product that can pose a potential risk to your child. In this article we will discuss different tips to keep your baby safe in different activities and settings.

Make Sure Their Car Seat Is Properly Installed

Properly using and installing a car seat is crucial in keeping your child safe while on the road. Even minor car accidents can be fatal for children in unsecured or improperly installed car seats.

Whether you are using a rear-facing car seat meant for babies and young children, or a front-facing car seat meant for toddlers and older children, proper installation is key.

Be sure to follow individual installation instructions, properly threading seatbelts through indicated belt paths without knots or twists in the belt. Once in place, test to see if there is any wiggling or movement of the car seat. Car seats should be firmly set with no movement allowed.

Prioritize Hand Washing and Cleanliness

As babies and young children’s immune systems are still developing, they’re susceptible to common illnesses at a much higher rate than adults. It’s important to keep a clean environment and to watch out for even the slightest symptoms that indicate illness.

Washing hands routinely before touching your child is an important practice to prevent illness and to keep them safe. Though COVID-19 has not been seen to affect children as much as adults, handwashing and general cleanliness to prevent spread of the virus is universally recommended by health professionals.

Dangers of Cleaning Products

Keeping a clean household environment for children is vital in their development and well-being. While cleaning agents and disinfectants are helpful in keeping a home spotless, they often contain chemicals that can irritate skin, eyes, nose, and throat, and be poisonous even in small doses.

Hand sanitizer, which contains a higher alcohol content than most liquor, can easily cause alcohol poisoning in children if ingested. Swallowing cleaning products can result in immediate sickness, including symptoms like confusion, nausea, vomiting, and breathing problems.

Always keep these products out of children’s reach and only allow use of hand sanitizer under supervision.

Understand What Safe Sleep for Babies Looks Like

The statistics on sleep related deaths and injuries for babies are startling: nearly 3,500 babies die per year, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, and deaths from unknown causes.

Understanding what safe sleep for babies looks like prevents injuries and deaths:

Back Sleeping

Babies should be placed on their back when sleeping. Research indicates that back sleeping reduces SIDS, suffocation, and overheating.

Swaddling

Though some opinions from health professionals on swaddling are divided, most say that properly swaddling babies is helpful in providing a good night's rest. Be sure to use a blanket of the correct size and thickness, don’t wrap the blanket too tightly, and don’t wrap the blanket above the shoulders. swaddling is no longer recommended once your baby shows signs of rolling over.

Don’t Share a Bed With Your Baby

While bed sharing with infants and babies is rising in popularity, the medical community is firmly opposed to the practice given the risks it poses. Doctors say that sharing a bed increases the risk for SIDS and accidental suffocation and strangulation. Sharing a room with your baby is recommended, but not your bed.

Read Up About Baby Products Before Buying Them

Parents ought to be extra cautious when purchasing products for their baby. Even the most innocent looking products can pose a serious and even deadly risk to your child.

It’s important to research extensively before purchasing a product, and sometimes after purchasing one. Research current and past lawsuits involving brands and become well-versed in potential safety hazards certain product types pose.

Baby Food

Numerous lawsuits have come about in recent years regarding toxic and dangerous baby foods and formulas. A number of studies and research have found baby foods containing heavy metal. Other bovine milk-based baby formulas have been found to cause necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a gastrointestinal disease that can be fatal to infants.

Baby Sleepers

Different brands and types of baby sleepers have been recalled after being found to pose extreme danger and cause injuries and deaths, triggering lawsuits across the country. Inclined sleepers were overwhelmingly linked to these injuries and deaths, allowing babies to more easily roll over onto their stomach and cause suffocation.

Sleepers that have been linked to health risk include (but are not limited to):

If you own any of these products, it is important that you stop using them immediately.

Ensure Bathtime Safety

It’s good to know how to properly bathe your baby and keep them safe while doing so.

From prepping the bathtub and safely bathing, to finishing up and drying off, all steps in the process are important:

  • Make sure the water temperature is lukewarm. Water that is too hot can scald your child and water that is too cold can be extremely uncomfortable.
  • Never leave your baby unattended. Always stay engaged and undistracted.
  • Empty the bath immediately after use. A baby can drown in one-inch deep water.
  • Thoroughly dry your baby after the bath. Be sure to dry all creases and folds in the skin before putting on a diaper or clothing to avoid rashes and other skin conditions.
  • Always keep the doors to the bathroom or laundry room closed. Babies and young children can easily get into dangerous household items if left unattended.

Know How To Properly Bottle Feed

Proper bottle feeding is key to raising a healthy baby. Knowing how to position a bottle, what types of bottles to use, and when to feed or cease feeding will help your baby stay healthy.

You should always angle the bottle into your baby’s mouth, allowing milk to only come out as the baby sucks. This helps to avoid choking on formula.

Improper Bottle Feeding

Poor bottle feeding can be dangerous, leading to choking, aspirating, over- and underfeeding.

Choking can be caused by upright bottle position. Choking also happens when babies are left alone to feed instead of being fed under supervision.

Aspiration refers to formula entering the lungs, often causing infections and hospitalization. Babies lying on their back while feeding are at higher risk of aspiration.

Improper bottle feeding can lead to over- or underfeeding. Overfeeding can be caused by the inability of babies to push the teat of the bottle out of their mouth when they have had enough formula, causing them to drink the entire bottle. Underfeeding can be caused by misinterpreting the teat falling out of a baby’s mouth as them being “done” with feeding.

Other health issues, like ear infections and tooth decay, can be caused by overfeeding or allowing formula to pool in a baby’s mouth for a long period of time.

Secure All Heavy Furniture and Childproof Everything

Babies typically begin crawling at around six months. It is highly recommended parents start securing furniture and childproofing everything within reach of a growing baby.

Using anchors in walls to secure furniture, making sure that floors are clear of clutter and objects that could potentially endanger the child, and thoroughly cleaning hard-to-reach spaces is essential in keeping a crawling baby safe.

Dangerous furniture

As a child grows and becomes curious and stronger, their ability to tip over large pieces of furniture is surprising and extremely dangerous.

Pieces of furniture must be secured by anchors or other securing hardware include:

  • Shelves: Anchoring shelves into walls makes it much more difficult for them to topple over.
  • Desks: Using anchors or L-brackets helps secure desks to walls. Avoid putting objects that may interest children on furniture above their height.
  • Dressers and drawers: Install dresser stops and child locks to these pieces to avoid drawers being easily pulled out.
  • Televisions and entertainment centers: Televisions, especially newer flat screen TVs can easily topple over.

Bercovici, Jeff. “Beware: Dangerous Counterfeit Toys for Your Baby Are Being Sold on Amazon.” Inc.com, Inc., 4 Apr. 2019, https://www.inc.com/jeff-bercovici/amazon-dangerous-kids-products.html.

Feeding from a Bottle.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 July 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/bottle-feeding/index.html.

Household Chemical Products & Health Risks.” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11397-household-chemical-products-and-their-health-risk?_ga=2.2350645.425123886.1641924206-1450539485.1641924206&_gl=1%2A1p0t21n%2A_ga%2AMTQ1MDUzOTQ4NS4xNjQxOTI0MjA2%2A_ga_HWJ092SPKP%2AMTY0MTkyNDIwNS4xLjAuMTY0MTkyNDIwNS4w.

How Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Affects Babies and Children.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-in-babies-and-children/art-20484405.

How to Install a Convertible Car Seat Forward-Facing.” NHTSA, https://www.nhtsa.gov/car-seats-and-booster-seats/how-install-convertible-car-seat-forward-facing.

How to Install a Rear-Facing Only Infant Car Seat.” NHTSA, https://www.nhtsa.gov/how-install-rear-facing-only-infant-car-seat.

How to Use Cleaning Products Safely.” Cleveland Clinic, 27 Aug. 2021, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/household-cleaning-products-can-be-dangerous-to-kids-heres-how-to-use-them-safely/.

Moon, Rachel Y., et al. “SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment.” American Academy of Pediatrics, Task Force On Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, 1 Nov. 2016, https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/138/5/e20162938/60309/SIDS-and-Other-Sleep-Related-Infant-Deaths-Updated.

Research on Back Sleeping and SIDS.” Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/research/science/backsleeping.

Swaddling a Baby: The Benefits, Risks and Seven Safety Tips.” NCT (National Childbirth Trust), 20 Aug. 2021, https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/slings-and-swaddling/swaddling-baby-benefits-risks-and-seven-safety-tips. 

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