Babies depend on us for everything — feeding, dressing, changing, bathing. Parents are caregivers and protectors. It’s a full-time job.
Expectant parents, grandparents, or anyone who plans to have babies in the house — even for a visit — should take some time to look at the basics for keeping babies safe in a number of situations.
Babies are tiny, helpless things that usually stay where you put them — at least for a few months. It doesn’t take long until they start crawling, scooting, cruising, and eventually toddling. You would be surprised the things a baby can get into, so take the time to literally get on their level. Crawl around and actively look for potential hazards.
- Electrical outlets — These are easy to fill with plastic covers.
- Curtains — Hang them up out of baby’s way.
- Cords — Keep blind and electric cords out of reach.
- Tablecloths — Babies can pull on these and bring whatever is on the table tumbling down.
- Tall furniture — Anchor entertainment centers and dressers to the wall for when babies start climbing.
- Cabinets — It’s easy to install pantry locks inside the doors to keep out curious babies.
- Gates — Put these up early so the baby won’t see them as barriers to exploration.
Making bath time safe
Bath time should be a fun experience for a baby. It’s important to get clean but just as important for the baby to experience the water and see it as something positive. Here are some tips for making bath time a safe time for your baby.
- Prepare — Get everything you need for the bath before bringing the baby to the bathroom.
- Fill the tub — Check the water temperature to make sure it’s not too hot before putting the baby in the water. Adjust the hot water heater so it’s no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Stay put — Never leave a baby unattended or in the care of an older child. Babies can drown in one inch of water.
- Cover it — Put a cushioned cover or a hand towel on the faucet to protect the baby’s head, should they bump it.
- Bath seats — Place them far enough from the faucet so baby can’t reach. Also never lift the seat with the baby in it.
- Lock it — Close the toilet lid and get a lock. A curious baby could fall in. Also use pantry locks for the bathroom cabinets.
Getting ready to ride
Everyone needs to be buckled up in a car, especially babies. They should always ride in rear-facing seats until they reach the maximum height and weight listed on the instructions.
Every state has unique requirements about children riding in car seats. For California, car seats are required by law. The California Department of Highway Patrol provides a breakdown of current car seat laws for infants and children based on age and weight. Additionally, the California Office of Traffic Safety has information on where new parents can get discounted car seats, or in some cases, for free.
It is also important to use a new car seat whenever possible as safety standards are constantly evolving. Never use a damaged car seat or one that has been in an accident, and never leave a child alone in a car, even for a moment. Put things you need near your baby to remind you to take your baby out of the car.
Playing it safe
Toys, clothes, and other items come with age recommendations for a reason. Babies are always putting things in their mouths, so age-appropriate toys shouldn’t have anything that could be a choking hazard. There also shouldn’t be any cords, sharp edges, or other potential dangers.
- Stay close — Don’t leave a baby unattended in a swing, bouncer, or activity center.
- Stay grounded — Don’t put play items on beds or sofas where the child can roll off.
- Check surroundings — Make sure there are no cords, plants, or other items near where your baby is playing.
- Sleep right — Swings, bouncers, and other similar items should not be used as substitutes for cribs.
- Move on — Stop using anything your baby outgrows, or anything that becomes damaged.
- Register — Register items with the manufacturer in case there is ever a product recall.
Keeping babies healthy
Keeping babies safe includes making sure they have the proper immunizations. AltaMed pediatric patients can get their vaccinations for mumps, measles, HPV, and the flu, to keep them, and the community, healthy.
We can also direct you to social services that can help you with your child’s nutrition and other resources. For information or to make an appointment call (888) 499-9303.