Tips for Baby Safety

Baby-proofing your home is an ongoing mission. Even after you've made wise child safety product choices and taken care of obvious baby safety issues with electrical outlet covers, cabinet locks, safety gates, and furniture guards, new baby safety hazards seem to appear every day. Here are 10 easy tips to make baby- proofing easier:

  1. Take the saltshaker off the table. If your child is under four months old, salt is a serious baby safety hazard. Babies less than four months old have immature kidneys, so too much salt can cause dehydration and organ damage. Stay safe and skip the salt.
  2. Beware of wicker. From baskets to bassinettes, wicker is a common material in most homes. The problem, however, is that wicker defies baby-proofing because it is easily damaged and the broken pieces pose serious choking dangers. That wicker baby chair may look great in your living room, but it's certainly not a child safety product!
  3. Take stock of your houseplants. Attractive though they may be, certain houseplants pose a real risk to baby safety. Foxgloves, mistletoe, wisteria, azaleas, rhododendrons, peonies, daffodils, lilies-of-the-valley, jasmine, laurels, rhubarb. These are just a few of the plants that can cause nausea, vomiting, skin irritation, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, convulsions, and even death. For optimal baby-proofing, keep all houseplants out of baby's reach.
  4. Banish latex balloons. Did you know that balloons cause 44 percent of all toy-related choking deaths in children? Latex balloons invariably pop and, when they do, the shredded material can become fatally lodged in your child's throat. Ensure baby safety by replacing latex balloons with toys that have been designed to meet child safety product standards.
  5. Bath rings are not a child safety product! Over 50 percent of all infant drownings occur in the bathtub and bath rings cannot prevent accidental injury or death. Fatal accidents can happen fast, so never leave your child alone in the bath - not even for a second.
  6. Purses need baby proofing, too. What's in your purse right now? ...or perhaps in the purses of your friends and relatives? Nail files, medications, gum, lipstick, pens, pen caps, loose change, jewelry - purses are a threat to baby safety ! Always keep your purse closed and out of baby's reach.
  7. Stuffed animals aren't for cribs. Although they're cute and cuddly, stuffed animals are not designed to meet child safety product standards and they can suffocate your baby during sleep. For effective baby- proofing in the nursery, keep excess bedding and stuffed animals away from the crib.
  8. The meat thermometer: an unlikely child safety product. Less than 50 percent of U.S. households have a meat thermometer. Make sure your home doesn't fall into that category. Food-borne illnesses that cause sickness in adults can result in kidney failure for a child.
  9. Fire safety means more than fire alarms. In addition to a working fire alarm with fresh batteries, install carbon monoxide detectors and, when your baby's older, take a trip to your local firehouse. If your child has a fear of fireman, the results could be deadly.
  10. Be prepared. In times of emergency, even the best child safety product choices and cautious baby proofing habits just aren't enough. Have a plan for when things go wrong. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, you'll be much less likely to panic if you have a course of action. Make - and practice - fire escape routes and consider natural weather disasters likely for your geographic region. Take pictures of your baby from all angles and write a detailed description of your baby's appearance. Then, store the photos and the description in a safe place so you'll have them ready if you need them.

Finally, make a commitment to stay aware of potential baby safety hazards. The above list details some of the frequently missed aspects of baby proofing, but it takes daily vigilance to maintain awareness and protect your child. And always remember, no child safety product can ever replace adult supervision.