Check Out These Important Safety Tips
Your life changes the minute you bring home your new bundle of joy. Suddenly you are faced with issues that never were addressed before you had kids. Choosing a safe car seat, buying the best crib and deciding on a baby monitor were discussions that other people had. Now, you are having them and it is made clear quickly that you don’t really know what you should be doing. The most important job in the world has just been given to you, your child must be kept safe at all times, and you are the person who has to make sure that the job is done properly.
Safety First When It Concerns Your Baby
As parents you will quickly realize that no matter how safe the product that you purchased might be, your child will find a way to bypass it and put themselves in less than ideal situations. You will discover that you need to be one step ahead of your child when it comes to safety. A child’s natural curiosity can put the safest home to the test and sometimes you literally need to get down on the floor and view the world from your child’s point of view.
Once you understand that you will need to purchase items designed especially for your child you will be faced with a huge assortment of different brands, styles and features for each item that you need. How do you know which car seat is the best or which crib is the right one for your child? You may be faced with the dilemma of buying new versus buying second hand and the risks that can go along with that decision. Luckily there are many resources to help you wade through the clutter and point you in the right direction. You can also feel comforted by the fact that children’s items are very heavily regulated with the safety of the child in mind. Organizations like the Consumer Products Safety Commission are tasked by law with the job of making sure items that will be used for and by children are safe. Their rules and regulations take most of the guess work out of discovering which items are actually safe for your child to use.
Even with all of the information available to you it can be difficult to find the right items for your baby. Here are a few suggestions that may help you narrow your focus when it comes time to make that important purchase.
Baby Car Seats
Unfortunately automobile accidents are the number source of injuries and death to children outside of the home. Thousands of children are involved in auto accidents each year and, despite an ongoing educational push, many of these injuries happen because the child was either not in a car seat or was strapped into a car seat incorrectly. A car seat will be your number one tool against injury for your child and it’s critical that you purchase a good one. They usually last for years and are one of the best investments you will ever make.
Here are some things to look for when purchasing a car seat:
Make sure that the label clearly states that the car seat satisfies or exceeds the Federal Automobile Safety Standards.
Double check the seat’s listing concerning the appropriate age and weight recommendations for your child
Make certain that the car seat is properly anchored to your car and that all safety belts are used properly. Most cities have programs that allow you to go to a local fire station and have a firefighter install your car seat.
Check the CSPC website to learn about any recall or safety notices for the car seat you are interested in. This is especially important if you are buying a second hand car seat.
It’s critical that you buy the right sized seat for your child. Infants have very specific needs because they are so small, they can easily slide out of a seat that is too large for them. Infant seats also must be designed to be rear facing in the car. This is the safest position and should be used for all children under the age of 1. All car seats should have detailed listings concerning the size of the child that can use their seats.
Make sure that the 5 point harness is secure and that the safety belts connect firmly.
Safety gates are a important piece in making your home safe for your baby. Your child’s natural curiosity will lead them to explore all of the rooms in your house and this can lead to them trying to go up or down stairs.
Accordion gates wear once very popular as child gates but their design is unsafe and can lead to your child getting their head trapped in the gate. Production of accordion gates was banned after 1985 but there are still huge numbers of these gates available, mostly at garage and estate sales. Likewise, mesh gate can be hazardous and should be avoided. They are fine for pets but they are dangerous for children
Here are some things to look for when buying a child gate:
Only purchase a gate system that attaches the hardware to the frame without any gaps or openings. Little fingers can get pinched in these openings and there is also a risk of the hardware being pulled out. Avoid using pressure-mounted gates when childproofing your home. These gates are very easy to dislodge and your child could push against the gate and take a tumble down the stairs
Measure the space between any poles or slats on the gate. The gap between any poles should never be more than 2 3/8”. A quick way to measure is to use a soda can.
Check constantly for any sharp edges or wood slivers, they can easily cut your child’s hands.
Children will climb on anything so it’s important that your gate doesn’t have anything that can act as a foothold or grip. You might like the decorative look of the gate but make sure it doesn’t offer any grip for your child to climb on it.
Ideally the gate should be at least equal to ¾ of your child’s height.
Playpens can act as high sided backyards for your children, no matter where you set it up. They allow you as a parent to keep track of your child while allowing your child a chance for move about in a safe enclosure. They even allow parents a chance to safely leave the room for a moment, their child is safe in their padded playpen.
Here are some things to look for when buying a playpen:
Make sure that the holes in the mesh sides are no wider than ¼”. Holes any larger may allow your child to get their fingers stuck and could lead to an injury.
At a minimum the sides of the playpen should be at least 20” high from the playpen’s floor. The sides should be at least 20 inches high, determined from the flooring of the playpen;
Make sure that the top of the playpen has proper padding all the way around the playpen. You’re your child starts to pull themselves up you will find that the padding protects them from a lot of bumps and bruises.
Many playpens have latches that allow you to lower one side, making it easier to place or remove your child from the playpen. Make sure that any latches are well covered and can’t be accessed by your child from inside the playpen.
Ideally, a baby monitor will allow you to check on your child, while they are in their crib or bed, without having to actually enter the bedroom. By not having to go into the nursery you won’t run the risk of waking up the child while still being able to monitor their sleep. Most baby monitors allow you to talk to your child, even when you are in a different room, and calm them down. There are two basic types fo baby monitors-audio only and audio and visual monitoring systems. Some of the more advanced video monitors not only allow you to watch what is going on in the nursery and talk to your child, they also allow you to change the temperature, rotate the camera, play lullabies and turn lights on and off. Most parents love them, the monitor gives the parents to freedom to move around the house without losing contact with their child.
Most monitors have two components. The base or child unit is placed in the nursery and usually plugs into an outlet. The parent unit (which may be a smartphone on more advanced systems) is portable and battery operated. Video monitors have a screen that often can be adjusted depending on light in the nursery.
Here are some things to consider when buying a baby monitor:
Try an buy a system that has at least two channels for options.
The parent unit should always have a low battery alert. Because you will be relying on the parent unit to broadcast any sounds or videos you don’t want to risk having the battery die.
Most of the better systems have a power light on the parent unit. It has one job and that is to let you know that the system is on. You don’t want to run the risk of having to turn on the unit while your child is asleep.
Almost every unit has a volume control on the parent unit but make sure there is a volume control on the base unit in the nursery.
Don’t laugh but you will want a belt clip for the parent unit. It may look awful when you wear it but you will appreciate the convenience.
Baby Bath Seats
Infants and very young children shouldn’t be bathed in the bathtub, it is much safer to bath them in a child’s bath. As your child gets older and bigger you will want to start bathing them in the bathtub and for this you will want a baby bath seat. This seat will keep a slippery child from sliding out of your grasp and will keep your child safer than they would be sitting on the tub floor. It shouldn’t need to be said but never leave your child alone and unattended in a bathtub.
Here are some things to consider when buying a baby bath seat:
Make sure that the surface of the seat is non-skid. It shouldn’t be rough, that will be uncomfortable but it must be non-skid.
Any legs or other seat parts that sit on the tub should have grips or rubber coverings to keep the seat from moving around.
One last really good safety tip:
Always check for the JPMA seal. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association is a great source for safety information on children’s products.