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Baby Safety Is No Infantile Pursuit

By Martha Michael

Baby Safety

All new parents get a mix of the usual challenges -- lack of sleep, finicky eating habits, and growing pains. Whether your baby is a golden child or born to be wild, keeping your little one safe is a No. 1 priority. September is Baby Safety Month, an effort to expand awareness and promote safer practices among caregivers.

First Steps in Safety

When you bring home your infant you begin years of learning new options for garments, toys, sleep patterns, and much more. But when it comes to bottles, bedding, and baby food, there are safety protocols you need to learn as well. WebMD has an article with toddler safety tips that offers a heads up to caregivers about best practices.

Fall Prevention

Within the first few months of your baby’s life you will cuddle and rock your bundle of joy in hundreds of settings. Every year there are injuries sustained by babies because they are held unsafely or placed in harmful positions in cribs or carriers.

From the moment you take your infant home, be sure you strap your new baby safely into the car seat. Do not place an infant carrier on a table or other piece of furniture.

When diapering, never leave the baby on a changing table, bed, or couch where the little one can fall or roll off. And maintain standards of supervision when your toddler begins walking because they fall repeatedly and can hit table corners and other dangerous objects.

In the Car

A couple of generations ago a new mother would leave the hospital and climb into the car, baby in her arms. But car seats have been either suggested or required, depending on where you live, since 1985.

According to an article in Good Housekeeping, the history of baby car seats goes back as far as the 1930s when seats would contain children in the car, but they weren’t designed for safety. A decade later they were boosted so kids had a better view, and two designers created car seats in the 1960s that were more centered around safety features. Ford Motor Company and General Motors brought car seats to market, and in the 1970s the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ruled that safety belts had to contain the seats and a harness holding the child in it. Child passenger safety laws requiring young kids to have a car seat when riding in vehicles were passed in 1985.

The stability and safety design continued to evolve, and now car seats have expiration dates along with other regulations:

  • You are not allowed to carry a baby in your lap while riding in the car
  • You need a federally approved car safety seat
  • Babies must face the rear of the car for the first two years of their lives
  • You can never put baby in the front because of the airbags; when necessary, however, disengage the air bags

Read the paperwork when purchasing a car seat, as each has its own instructions for proper installment.

Preventable Injuries

Hundreds of children who do not have adequate prevention in place become victims of injuries every year. When parents are unaware of the physical capability of children at a young age, they sometimes contribute to the risks by neglecting to add safeguards. Babies are unpredictable, which is why they need virtually constant supervision. They grow and have numerous “firsts,” from rolling over and sitting up to crawling and finally walking, which all increase the child’s mobility.

There are baby products and household goods that you should avoid using because they are dangerous for children, says the website HealthyChildren.org from the American Academy of Pediatrics. They include:

  • Walkers
  • Plastic wrappers
  • Grocery bags
  • Water beds
  • Bean bag chairs

There are also foods that may cause children to choke, including raw carrots, grapes, peanuts, popcorn and hot dogs.

While most would agree that devising a more comfortable sleep schedule ranks somewhere below keeping your baby and toddler safe, there’s actually a win-win here. Knowing you’ve taken the proper steps to lower the risk of harm to your child will likely result in the peace of mind that helps you sleep like a baby.

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