Baby Health and Safety Article

Falling, Crushing, and Other Accidents

Baby-proofing your home ensures that your baby can move around in a safe environment. Start by covering unused electrical outlets with safety covers, but understand that this is just the beginning.

With care and forethought, you can minimize the risks of a number of household hazards, including falling, crushing, guns and weapons, and fire-related hazards.

Make no mistake, your baby starts life with an underdeveloped sense of height and the injuries caused by falling. Here are some precautions you can take:

  • Close and lock (with as high a latch as possible) all doors at the top and bottom of staircases. If you have no staircase doors, install hardware-mounted safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs; spring-mounted gates are not advised. If your stair rails are less than 3" apart, install mesh or plexiglass to block the openings.
  • Never put baby seats on high surfaces; set them on the ground.
  • Put stick-on padding on the corners of tables.
  • Use baby equipment - high chairs, etc. - with wide, sturdy bases.
  • Secure or remove loose rugs.
  • Install baby-proof latches on windows.
  • Install baby protection on all kitchen and pantry drawers and cabinets to keep babies and toddlers from opening them.

Look for things around your house that might fall and crush your baby. From a "baby's-eye" view, you'll find that everything's a skyscraper. Dressers and bookshelves that stand at chest height for you tower over your baby. A tall potted-plant is a tree when looked at from down there. Here are some precautions you can take:

  • If furniture can be tipped over, bolt it to the wall.
  • Babies love to yank tablecloths; use placemats instead.
  • Secure drawers with safety locks.
  • Use safety gates to block children from going into unsafe areas.
  • Make sure the baby cannot bring a TV down by pulling on the cord.

Other Accidents Waiting to Happen

  • Lock up your gun cabinets.
  • Keep all knives and scissors in locked cabinets.
  • Make sure your smoke detectors are working.
  • Plan and practice fire escape with your baby.
  • Set your water heater to 120ºF.

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