Baby Safety Month is celebrated in September. Parents should acknowledge the celebration of sorts by making sure their safety standards hit the mark. There are two main areas in which safety is of the utmost concern for babies—their cribs and their car seats. When was the last time you checked up to ascertain if these to items meet the latest safety standards?
How about your home? When was the last time you did a thorough housecleaning of unsafe cleaning products and other items that your baby might come into contact with? It’s something that must be considered.
Fortunately for parents everywhere, baby safety has evolved profoundly over the years. Parents now have information and innovative tools for use in enhancing the safety of their most precious assets—their babies.
Baby Safety Month—The Sleep Environment
Babies must sleep in an incredibly safe environment in order to cut down on the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome—more commonly known as SIDS. This means several important steps must be followed to ensure your baby is sleeping in the safest environment possible.
- Put your baby to sleep on his or her back—during nap time as well as when putting baby to sleep at night.
- The crib or cradle mattress must be firm. If it’s soft or cushioned, throw it out.
- Outfit the mattress with a fitted sheet. During your routine housecleaning, make sure the elasticity in this sheet remains strong. Subsequent laundering may reduce the elasticity, meaning the sheet may become loose while the baby is in bed.
- All soft objects like stuffed animals, pillows, bumper pads (unless you use the new mesh, breathable kind), and blankets should be removed from your baby’s bed at sleep time.
- Dress your baby in a onesie, footed sleeper, or a sleep sack at bed time rather than wrapping or covering him or her in blankets.
- Make sure your crib meets current federal safety standards. During regular housecleaning, make sure all parts and pieces of the crib are working properly and that nothing has come loose.
- Never allow smoking in your home.
- Set the temperature in your baby’s room to between 68 and 72 degrees. Don’t allow your baby to get overheated.
- Consider teaching your baby to use a pacifier at bedtime. Some studies suggest this helps cut down on the risk of SIDS.
- Check on your baby frequently during naptime and following nightly bedtime.
Baby Safety While Traveling
Parents travel long and short distances with their babies all the time. It’s important to make sure your baby’s car seat meets current federal safety standards.
New federal safety guidelines state that babies should remain in rear facing car seats until they are at least two years old or until he or she has outgrown the weight limit manufacturers set for the seat. Never buy car seats at thrift shops or yard sales. You don’t know for certain how old they are or if they have been in an accident. There are a lot of things for your baby with which you can save significant money by buying second hand. Car seats aren’t one of them.
Most fire departments in cities and towns all across the U.S. have certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. They will assist you in making sure your baby’s car seat is properly installed in your vehicle.
Always bring your baby’s car seat along when traveling on bus, plane, or train. Yes, that means you must buy your baby a seat.
Locking Up for Baby Safety
If your baby is still an infant, your baby safety standards don’t yet have to include locks on cabinet doors and drawers. Keep in mind, however, that those babies grow fast, and before you know it that little bundle of joy will be toddling through your home, trying to get inside of everything in his or her path.
The day will soon come when you must install these locks or make sure that any cleaning products that are unsafe for your baby are put somewhere else. While you’re at it, you might want to take a look at those cleaning products. How many come into contact with your baby—even though he or she can’t reach them yet?
Other areas in your home that must be safe for baby include protection of your baby from outside intruders. Make sure that the windows in your baby’s room are fitted with locks that work well. Draw the curtains or shades in your baby’s room at night time so no one can see in from outside. Consider installing a baby monitoring system so you can see your baby using a handheld device. If you don’t already have one, consider installing a security system in your home.
Use Non-Harmful Products
Did you know that if you wipe down your baby’s mattress with a harsh chemical cleaner or you wash his or her sheets in harsh detergents that these products are coming in contact with your baby? Switch to non-harmful products to be sure you’re making baby safety a priority in your home.
Final Baby Safety Thoughts
Make sure you have ample smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home, as well as in or just outside of your baby’s bedroom. Replace the batteries in those that aren’t hard-wired twice a year.
Baby Safety Month is in September, but baby safety is an issue that parents must be aware of every single day of the year. Use these guidelines as a cheat sheet to make sure you’re up to date on safety standards both in and outside of your home.
Don’t allow yourself to be frightened by all the what-ifs that Baby Safety Month infers. Complacency is a danger to babies. By remaining informed of safety issues, you’ll continually update your safety practices. Love and enjoy your baby, knowing you’ve done everything within your means to keep your precious bundles of joy safe from harm.
We recommend you How to Baby Proof a Home.