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.
- 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 your baby unattended on a table, couch, or bed, even briefly.
- Don’t drink hot liquids while holding your 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.
- Set the thermometer on your water heater to 120 degrees or less to make sure the water is not too hot for your baby’s bath.
- 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 your baby’s reach.
- Watch for small objects such as buttons, coins, and hard candy that your baby could choke on.
- Cover electrical outlets.
- Keep all cords well out of your 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 your baby’s mobile from his or her crib, if you haven’t already.
- Your baby will try to grab your hot cup of coffee or tea.
- Keep plastic bags, polystyrene packing material, and balloons out of your baby’s reach, as well as any small object that your baby could put into his or her mouth and choke on.
Preventing Poisonings (from the American Association of Poison Control Centers)
- Be prepared for an emergency. You can call 911 or the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
- Practice safe storage habits. Ideally, the following things should be stored up, away, and out of sight of children:
- All medications, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements
- Tobacco and e-cigarette products, especially liquid nicotine
- Alcohol and all beverages that contain alcohol
- Laundry (esp. single-load pods) and cleaning supplies
- Pesticides and insect repellents
- Button batteries (like those found in musical greeting cards)
- Any type of oil or lubricant, including fragrance oils, tiki torch oils, engine oil, etc.
- Personal care products, especially contact lens disinfectants and hand sanitizers
- Read and follow labels and directions. Make a habit of reviewing the label on any potentially hazardous substance prior to use, especially before administering medications.
- Detect invisible threats. Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Be aware of the possible presence of asbestos, lead, and mold in older homes.
- Prepare food safely. Practice safe food preparation and handling to avoid food poisoning.
- Obtain a list of poisonous plants and make sure you don’t have any inside or outside your home.
- Protect against insect bites and stings.
- Check AAPCC.org for alerts and more prevention tips.
- Place the playpen in a safe, open area so that your 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 the playpen. Discourage older children from sharing their toys which might not be baby-safe.
- 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.
- 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 your baby.
- For safety guidelines from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, click here.
- 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.
- For home pool safety tips from the American Red Cross, click here.