One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is to keep your child safe. Here is a compilation of safety checklists from Baby’s First Year Calendar. (This is not a conclusive list, but it touches on some basics.)
- Always keep the side rails up on your baby’s crib. Traditional drop-side cribs have been deemed unsafe and are no longer sold. Read more at CPSC.gov
- Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of the crib. Learn how to reduce the risk of SIDS and SUID
- Don’t leave the baby unattended on a table, couch, or bed, even briefly.
- Don’t drink hot liquids while holding the baby.
- Install smoke detectors in your home. Test them periodically and change the battery once a year.
- Introduce your baby to a playpen or play yard if you plan on using one.
- When bathing your baby, test the water with your fingers to make sure it’s not too hot before you put the baby in.
- Never leave your baby alone in the bath, even in shallow water.
- Do not accidentally leave your baby in a parked car. “Look before you lock” to prevent child heatstroke deaths in cars. (Read more at KidsAndCars.org.)
If your baby uses a pacifier:
- Do not use a pacifier that comes apart.
- Make sure the base of the pacifier is at least one and a half inches wide to avoid choking.
- Never tie a pacifier on a string around your baby’s neck.
- Keep sharp objects such as pens, scissors, and safety pins out of baby’s reach.
- Watch for small objects such as buttons, coins, and hard candy that baby could choke on.
- Cover electrical outlets.
- Keep all cords well out of baby’s reach, including electrical cords, curtain pulls, and mobiles.
- Get into the habit of turning pot handles to the back of the stove.
- Place a sturdy gate at the top and bottom of stairways.
- Keep doors leading outside or to a basement closed and secured with an extra latch up high.
- Install baby locks on cabinets that contain unsafe things.
- Install window guards on upper floors.
- Remove baby’s mobile from his or her crib, if you haven’t already.
- Baby will try to grab your hot cup of coffee or tea.
- Keep plastic bags, polystyrene packing material, and balloons out of baby’s reach, as well as any small object that baby could put in his or her mouth and choke on.
If your baby uses a playpen or play yard:
- Place the playpen in a safe, open area so that baby cannot reach out to something dangerous.
- Do not add extra mattresses, soft bedding, pillows, quilts, or pillow-type toys in the playpen. They have been associated with SIDS.
- Only put safe, age-appropriate toys in with the baby. Discourage other children from giving their toys to the baby.
- Do not attach anything to the playpen with a string or ribbon.
- Check the playpen for compliance with safety standards. (Read more at CPSC.gov).
- Only use the mattress that came with the playpen. The mattress should be firm and fit snuggly inside the playpen.
- Check for any sharp hardware or edges.
- If your mesh playpen is designed to have one side drop down, do not leave the side dropped down while your baby is in the playpen. It could entrap your baby and cause suffocation.
- Check for overall stability. The playpen should have sturdy locks to prevent a child from collapsing it.
Before you give your baby a toy, consider these things:
- Avoid toys with small parts that baby could choke on.
- Never allow children to play with balloons unsupervised or put them in their mouths.
- Many toys have a suggested age category printed on their packaging. Keep toys for older children away from baby. Learn more Toy Safety Tips
About water safety:
- Never leave young children alone in the bathtub or bathroom.
- Never leave water in the tub or sink.
- Keep toilet lids down.
- Empty water buckets when not in use.
- Keep toddlers away from pools.
- Deflate small pools when not in use and turn them over so rain cannot collect in them.
- Teach your children to swim when they are old enough.