Not all the babies meet with an accident when their parents don’t used baby gear improperly, but when they do they are enough to anguish every parent’s heart. Baby gear companies are constantly introducing new and innovative accessories for babies. Although they may introduce the gear after thoroughly testing the equipment, sometimes the dangers become clear only in a real time environment.
The products are usually designed assuming they will be used according to the manufacturer’s instruction and installation manual. The ones that are found to have faulty designs and cause hurt to babies are usually recalled. Parents should check online of for baby equipment recalls before shopping for any baby gear, and especially if they plan to buy second-hand.
Here, we are going to discuss the baby gear that causes harm to babies when it is misused. Most parents do their best to keep their baby safe while using different baby gear. However, one blink and a parent can miss an event that can cause a lot of agony.
Moreover, sometimes we use the equipment so often that once in awhile safety measures can be overlooked in a hurry. Not to forget the parents are sometimes extremely exhausted and they may forget a thing or two in their busy routine.
Besides, babies grow all the time. Some parents may not notice when a baby outgrows a particular piece of gear. If possible, put a sticker behind the gear indicating the time period until it can be used or the height and weight limit. Some baby gear act as babysitters at home, but the parent should always keep an eye on the baby, no matter what!
15 Sling Carriers
Sling carrier keeps the baby close to the mother’s body and mother doesn’t really need an extra eye on the baby. It is quite popular with parents practicing ‘attachment parenting.’ or ‘kangaroo care.’ However, with the increasing popularity of slings, the number of accidents is also on the rise.
Select the right type of sling according to the baby’s size. Do not let the fabric close the nose and mouth of the child. Do not let the baby cradle in a C-shape, it can suffocate the baby. Babies younger than 4 months should be carried in a sling with extra care as they are prone to suffocation.
The following TICKS acronym, by the Consortium of UK Sling Manufacturers, helps to keep the baby safe in a sling.
- Tight; the baby should be kept firmly close to the parent’s body.
- In view all the times
- Close enough to kiss
- Keep the baby’s chin off the chest
- Supported back: The baby’s backbone should be upright
14 Baby Girl Headbands
When it comes to baby girls, there are millions of accessories flooding the market to dress them up. Headbands are one of the most common accessories and they add to the cuteness quotient of the little princess. However, all headbands may not be safe.
Rebecca Moore, mum of three, dressed up her 7-month old daughter Lailah in a lovely headband. Waiting in queue, with Lailah in her pram, Rebecca suddenly saw her baby choking on one of the petals from the headband. Lailah had managed to pull the headband to her face and she swallowed a petal that got detached from the headband.
Fortunately, Rebecca was able to clear her airway and the baby was saved.
Some manufacturers take extra caution in baby product safety, however as parents, we need to foresee dangers and do not buy certain products that may appear to be harmful. The parents should also learn how to dislodge things from the baby’s throat.
13 Car Seat/Baby Carrier
Most parents would be surprised to hear that infant carriers and baby car seats are the number one misused baby item. When it comes to a baby’s car seat, if it is installed improperly and baby is not positioned properly, then it defeats the purpose of safety for the baby. Surprisingly, 95 percent of parents make such mistakes and put their baby at risk. Listed here are a few findings from a research hat studied 291 families of which 50 percent of the parents made more than five mistakes.86 percent of parents did not position their baby correctly.
- 77 percent made mistakes in installing the seat.
- 69 percent of parents left the harness loose.
- 40 percent of the car seats were reclined incorrectly.
- Over 30 percent attached the harness in the wrong slot.
- In over 30 percent of the cases the harness retainer clip was too low.
The most disturbing thing reported in the research was that the 89 percent of these mistakes are critical and put the child’s safety in jeopardy. The parents should revisit the instruction manual and check if they are using the car seat properly.
12 The High Chair
The high chair seems to be great tool for the ease of feeding the baby, but a high chair injures about 9,400 babies every year, as per a report published in LiveScience. The most common of all was head injury, besides bruises and cuts.
According to the researchers, most babies who were injured were either standing or climbing on the chair. This is possible only when the child was not strapped in or the safety restraint was faulty.
Parents should never forget to secure the crotch strap on the high chair. Also, the strap should not be loose enough for the baby to slip out of. Do not rely on the serving table for safety. Do not leave the child alone or unattended in the chair. The high chair should be placed away from other furniture as infants use their legs too forcefully sometimes.
One push by the baby is enough for the chair to tumble. Check if the chair has been recalled by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC).
11 Changing Tables
The changing table is not far behind when we talk of accidents due to misuse of baby gear. Consumer Reports says that, on an average, 3,000 infants get injured due to a fall from a changing table.
Most changing tables come with safety straps or pads, so baby should always be secured on the table. There have been cases where the babies have fallen off in the twinkling of an eye.
Most parents follow the good practice of always holding the baby with one hand while trying to grab things. Make sure that wipes and diapers are within reach before taking the baby to the table. Just in case the baby’s outfit is at a distance then take the baby along. When shopping for a changing table, buy one with safety straps or high sides.
Once the baby starts rolling over or becomes too active, it is better to do it on the floor.
10 Parking The Stroller
The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System reveals that on an average, 50 babies are treated in emergency rooms every day after getting injured in a stroller accident. A majority of babies who get injured are less than a year old and they receive injuries on the face or head. These accidents happen when the babies are not secured to the pram, which is not uncommon.
Furthermore, in some cases the stroller tipped over due to the load on the handles. Stroller handles can make convenient carrying hooks, but make sure not to put heavy bags on the handles. If the weight is more than your baby, the stroller can easily go wheels up and send baby tumbling.
Needless to say, the baby should be buckled in every time a stroller or a carrier is used. Always use the right size of stroller according to the size of the baby. Apply the wheel lock whenever the stroller is parked. Read the instruction manual before using the stroller or the baby carrier.
9 Baby Walkers
According to Dr. Alan Greene, a pediatrician, today’s walkers are safer, but they are still hazardous – and of no benefit to the baby. A baby walker is known for developmental delays and interferes in development of natural posture.
Walkers allow a baby to be mobile beyond his natural capability and parents are often not used to that kind of speed of a baby. It seems babies can run for more than 3 feet in a second. No wonder, 78 percent of babies got hurt in walkers even when they were being supervised. Out of all the staircase falls, one third falls happened when the gates at the staircase were locked improperly or left open.
According to Dr. Greene, a baby has an innate desire to move and explore, and he will work hard to get his legs and arms moving the way he wants and this develops strength that gets the baby crawling and scooting. After a few months of crawling, the baby focuses on pulling himself up and ‘cruising’ the furniture. Before too long, they will be walking on their own.
Babies who are placed in a walker miss some of this magnificent developmental journey. Their toes are in an unnatural position, allowing them to glide across the floor without much effort, allowing them to move upright before their bodies are actually ready.
8 The Crib
Once the baby learns how to support himself to a standing position, it becomes too risky to leave him in the crib unsupervised. A staggering 10,000 children in the age group of 1 and 2 get hurt from falls from cribs and playpens.
To avoid any crib accidents, parents should lower the mattress in the crib once the baby starts to lean over the railing. Once they are 35-inches tall they should be moved to toddler beds. The space between the side bars shouldn’t be more than 3/8 inches.
The mattress should fit the crib closely with no gap for little feet or hands to get stuck in. Buy a firm mattress and never keep any pillows, blankets or soft toys in the crib as they present a suffocation hazard. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends not using bumpers in the crib, either.
However, a mesh is safer as it keeps the arms and legs of the baby inside. The crib should be placed away from drapes or window shades. Finally, check whether the crib has been recalled especially if it has a drop side.
7 Bath Seats
Baby bathers are very convenient for mothers. More than that, a bather is a safer option to bathe the baby for a new parent. Bathers are designed to be comfortable for the babies too. At the same time these bathers can prove perilous if not used properly.
According to CPSC, on an average, eight babies die every year due to drowning from the bath seats. A baby may grow out of the bather quickly, but the parents might realize it too late.
As the babies grow they tend to become more active and excited. In a small sized bather, an enthusiastic baby can easily trip over in a split second. The bather should be sturdy for their size. Most importantly, never, ever leave the baby unattended in the bath seat. Parents are sometimes tempted to answer the door or a call or even grab a towel.
But they should never leave the baby to return ‘in just a second.’
6 Baby Toiletries
Baby shampoo, oil, soap, lotion, powder and other baby care products can be extremely poisonous if ingested. Some babies also tend to drink their bath water or bubbles. Distract them from doing so. The CDC reports that more than 300 children end up in an emergency room every day due to poisoning.
Other daily personal care products such as aftershave, perfume, medications, vitamins and cleaning products also should be kept out of sight of a baby.
Always keep the lids of all personal care products tightly closed. They should be kept out of reach of the baby. While using a shampoo or soap make sure nothing goes in the mouth the baby. Just in case the baby manages to swallow something harmful call poison control in your area right away. Make sure you have it written down before you find you need it.
The poison control center works 24 / 7 and can be reached even in non-emergency cases. They usually ask for the age, weight, condition of the child, time and quantity of the product swallowed.
5 Small Toys
Stuffed toys often have small parts such as eyes, nose, ribbons, or hair that can be easily removed and swallowed by babies. Other toys that have wheels or antennas could also pose a risk to an eager baby. Toys that have batteries should never be given to young babies.
Toys with cords or strings should be kept away from the crib as they pose strangulation risk. Baby girls should not be dressed up in any jewellery. Babies and toddlers should never be handed balloons as they are a potential choking hazard.
Moreover, toys bought for the baby should always be age appropriate. Most toys come with the age group on the label. In a home with two or more kids, it may be difficult to keep the toddler’s toys away from the baby. It may require some effort on the parent’s part. Before handing a toy to a baby, inspect it. Read and adhere to the warnings given on the package.
4 Sleep Positioners
Although these positioners are made of foam, which is usually light, young infants can get suffocated on them. CPSC and FDA have warned parents against using sleep positioners. This warning was issued after 12 babies were reported to have died due to suffocation from sleep positioners.
Some parents found their babies in an unsafe position in or near the sleep positioners when they returned to check on the baby. They are not safe. Unfortunately these are still available in the market.
Two types of positioners that resulted in fatal accidents are flat mats and inclined mats. Many parents want to keep their babies on their back to avoid any risk of SIDS so they end up using these positioners. Unfortunately, very few parents know of their dangers. Like we mentioned before, baby’s crib should be cleared of everything.
It should not have anything else except a firm mattress leaving no gaps on the sides and a fitted sheet.
3 Bedside Cosleepers Or In-Bed Baskets
In-bed baskets or mini bassinets are used in the middle of the parent’s bed who want to co-sleep with the baby. They use mini pads to protect the baby from the parent rolling over to the infant. Looking at these pads they do not seem to provide any safety from rolling over. The parents are too heavy for the mini pad to protect the baby.
Bed-side cosleepers are also quite popular, which are attached to the parent’s bed on one side.
The bedside cosleeper may prove to be quite useful for a tired parent. They do not need to get up frequently at night and walk over to the bassinet or crib. A mother just needs to reach out to the baby at night for feeding. However, these bedside cosleepers are also considered unsafe. Even though these bedside cribs do not seem to have any gap, some mattresses sink when the parent gets into them.
This can create a gap for the baby to get stuck in.
2 Play Or Bouncy Seats
Baby bouncy seats are very useful to keep a baby safe when there is a dinner to be cooked. Moreover it keeps them entertained. They are easy to carry around in the house. Most importantly they are easy on the pocket. However, many accidents have occurred with babies when bouncy seats were misused. Once a child starts sitting on his own he does not a bouncy seat.
There is a weight and height limit mentioned on the label and once baby reaches this limit, it should not be used. Always place them on a hard surface and never ever use it as a car seat. The baby should not be left unsupervised. Every parent knows, sometimes babies maneuver themselves to change their position. Certain positions may suffocate the baby.
When buying a bouncy seat go for one with a five point harness. Do not keep anything within the reach of the baby that could be harmful.
1 Jumpers And Jumperoos
Baby jumpers act as a free swing for the baby and the babies seem to love it. It was even voted the best baby product by parents on Kidspot. However, pediatricians and child safety experts are not really fond of baby jumpers. They say that this baby gear can injure babies on their heads.
A mother confesses that her son whacked his head really hard on the doorframe after only a few seconds of playing in the thing. She says they were lucky his head didn’t bleed.
Jumpers pose an additional danger if they are not installed properly, or over time any of the clamps loosen or even break. In that case the baby can fall from a dangerous height. Baby jumpers have the same disadvantages as a walker. Many are installed on a door frame that can take the weight and follow the instructions carefully.
Others are stand-alone units. Use it for not more than 15 – 20 minutes. Check for any wear and tear on the straps and laces each time you plan to put baby in it.