Baby Safety Month: 4 Not-So-Obvious Safety Tips for Kids
Safety is a top priority as a parent. You read books, ask for advice and buy all of the available baby-proofing products. But what about the hazards you may not think about?
According to the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), September is Baby Safety Month, and with that should come greater awareness of some of the less-known possible risks and dangers for babies in everyday life.
“Companies make baby-proof items for the obvious (table corners, toilets, drawers, stairs, etc.), but really babies get into anything they can reach,” says Taylor Burke of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, who has a 2-year-old daughter with another on the way. “Basically, everything in and around the home could be a baby hazard.”
To avoid some of the more unexpected dangers, use the following tips to help prepare.
1. Think Twice Before Using a Baby Walker
Although these are made for babies, HealthyChildren.org suggests taking these off of your registry. Even when parents are nearby watching a baby in a walker, they often can’t react quickly enough to prevent injury.
Since a walker has wheels, a child can propel himself or herself more than three feet in one second and reach higher than if he or she were standing on the floor, says HealthyChildren.org. This could result in dangerous situations, as babies can quickly fall down steps or may be able to reach hot or poisonous items on a table or counter.
2. Watch Out for Hot Vehicles
Aside from securing your baby into a car seat, there are a few other less-obvious precautions you should take with your child around the car. Any time your vehicle is sitting in the sun for any period of time, be aware of burn potential.
“My daughter rested her hand on my car bumper one day for only a few seconds and got second-degree burns on her hand,” says Burke. According to the Burn Institute, some of the most common and serious vehicular burns come from bare skin touching the exterior surfaces of the car after it has been sitting in the hot sun. Because of the burn risk, make sure your children don’t touch hot cars.
Metal parts inside the car, such as the buckles on a car seat, can also pose a burn risk on a hot day. To prevent this risk, KidsHealth.org recommends covering a car seat with a towel or a blanket to keep it out of direct sunlight when your car is parked.
3. Be Careful With What a Baby Eats
Most people know of choking hazards when feeding a baby hard foods, but what about the other harmful food items that babies should stay away from? Debra Holtzman, a national child safety expert, says to keep the following out of a baby’s mouth:
- Honey: Honey should never be given to a baby under the age 1, says the Mayo Clinic. While it is healthy for most adults, Holtzman explains it may contain bacterial spores that can cause infant botulism.
- Salt: Parents.com adds that too much salt in a baby’s diet can also be damaging to his or her kidneys.
4. Remove Potential Airway Blockers in the Bedroom
To help keep your baby safe in the bedroom, says Holtzman, keep window covering cordless to prevent a strangulation hazard. If it’s not possible to go totally cordless, HealthyChildren.org suggests tying up drapery and blind cords near the top of the window without creating any loops. BabySafetyZone.org adds that cribs should be kept away from windows, as the crib allows the baby to reach higher at the tied-up cords.
Additionally, Holtzman notes that all corded items should be kept at least three feet from any part of the crib, bassinet, play yard or other safe sleep environment. “Corded baby monitors, and other items with cords, strings or ribbons are strangulation hazards,” she says.
Remembering these four specific baby safety tips is helpful, but Holtzman says, in general, new parents should always look for hazards from a baby’s perspective. Even with the right precautions, proper supervision is your best defense against injury.