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Safety First! An Essential Guide to Baby Proofing Your Home

September 28, 2017 | By Kristen Printy
Published in: Children, Pregnancy

Parents laying on the floor with their baby boy

Having a baby is one of life's most joyous occasions. As a parent, you want to do everything possible to take good care of your new bundle of joy. So, before heading home from the hospital, you'll want to make sure your home is baby ready.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that accidents are the leading cause of death and injury for children ages 0-19 years old. Over 12,000 children die annually from these accidents. An additional 9.2 million will have injuries from accidents that require an emergency department visit. While these statistics are alarming, there are things you can do to protect your baby. Baby proofing your home using the following tips is an excellent place to start!

Furniture and DoorsBaby lying on his back looking at the camera

Head to your hardware store, and stock up on furniture straps! Every piece of furniture you have that your child may come in contact with, even briefly, should be secured. Remember, children will often try to pull up on or climb dresser drawers. Make sure to secure all furniture that has drawers. Also, secure your television, and never put it on top of the dresser. Corner guards should be added to sharp edges. Add doorstops and door holders to protect your baby's fingers.

Bathroom

Bathing can be a giggled filled, fun time with your baby. To keep safe, remember:

  • NEVER leave your child unattended in the bathroom, even for a moment.
  • Bathing seats or rings are NOT a substitute for supervision.
  • Use warm, not hot water. Test the water temperature on your wrist.
  • Only use 2-3 inches of water.
  • Use non-slip mats in the tub or next to the tub.
  • Use soft covers for the bathtub spout and knobs.
  • Toilets also present a possible drowning hazard. Use a toilet-seat lock to prevent an accident.

Outlets, Cords, and Small Appliances

Protect your curious baby by covering outlets with safety plugs, using a hide-a-cord device to keep cords hidden, and always unplug and put away small appliances like toasters. For window blind cords, cut the ends off the cords or use breakaway safety tassels.

Bedroom: Cribs, Clothing, Changing Tables, and Safe Sleeping

YoSleeping baby not wearing a shirtur child will get a good night's sleep and so will you, by following these simple safety rules:

  • Secure cribs and changing tables with furniture straps.
  • Don't use crib bumpers, drop-side cribs, or soft blankets and toys in a sleep space.
  • Make sure your baby's head doesn't fit between crib slats.
  • Remove crib mobiles when your baby can get up on their hands and knees.
  • Put the crib mattress on lowest position when they start to pull up.
  • Use a safety strap to secure your child to the changing table.
  • NEVER leave a child unattended on a changing table.
  • Keep toiletries out of reach.
  • Avoid clothes with drawstrings.

Remember, babies should always sleep on their backs to protect against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Falls

Falls are the leading cause of injury for babies. To prevent falls, follow these steps:Young parents reading to their baby boy

  • NEVER leave children unattended on beds, couches, highchairs, changing tables, or other high places.
  • Block openings wider than 4 inches on railings and fencing, and use safety netting on windows, decks, and landings.
  • Use safety belts in shopping carts and high-chairs. Only attach a hook-on chair to tables that won't tip over.
  • Use safety gates to block stairs.
  • Use window guards and window stops.

Fire

Every home should have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check the batteries regularly. Install protective grills in front of your fireplace, and keep fire tools like lighters and matches stored safely out of reach. Also, make sure your family has a fire escape plan!

Other ways to prevent burns:

  • Don't hold your baby while cooking.
  • Don't put hot food and drinks on the edge of tables.
  • Turn pot handles backward on the stove.
  • Secure your oven with an appliance latch and safety devices on the knobs.
  • Use hats, protective clothing, sunscreen, and shade protection if your baby is out in the sun.

Basket of cleaning suppliesPoison

To keep the little ones safe from poison hazards:

  • Put cleaning products, medications, and other toxic products out of reach and locked away.
  • Don't keep purses or bags within reach. It's easy to forget ingestible hazards in them.
  • Remove toxic house plants.
  • Keep the Poison Control Number in your phone and posted at home. Poison Control Center Emergency Hotline: (800) 222-1222.

Cars and Pools

You'll want to make sure to follow proper guidelines for transportation and pool safety. The Virginia Department of Health offers free information and car seat checks. Your pool's manufacturer can provide the proper safety precaution information.

With these simple steps, you can provide a safe environment for your baby. Did you know, the Birthing Suite offers a series of Childbirth and Prenatal Classes, including infant CPR.