As a newborn baby is generally a static being, there will always be a first time that the baby will roll, move or get stuck. It only takes one time. This is why it is better to always be safe. A home should be a safe haven. However, without careful precautions, it can be the opposite place for a baby.
In certain cases, babies fall victim to preventable incidents in their own homes every year. This is thankfully a small number, however, there are thousands of admissions to emergency rooms as a result of injuries in the home. These are no longer called accidents by professionals as the word accident implies a non-preventable occurrence. Professionals now refer to them as injuries and stress that this is because the incidents are preventable with certain safety precautions.
Pets should be supervised at all times near babies as well. They may inadvertently cause damage to a child. They would not understand the implications of their actions and it only takes an unguarded moment for a tragedy to occur. While safety is important, it is worth remembering that injuries to babies are very rare, and with careful common sense can easily be avoided.
20 The Bath
A baby (or person for that matter) can drown in as little as two inches of water, so the bath is a potentially fatal place for a newborn baby. Whatever the reason, never leave a newborn baby alone in the bath as it is just not worth the risk.
It may be tempting to leave a baby in the bath with a sibling if they seem to be playing happily. However, accidents can happen so quickly that this isn’t recommended by professionals. It’s also really important to check the temperature of the bath as babies skin is very sensitive and can easily get burned. Check it with an elbow before letting the baby in.
19 A Fire Nearby
If there is an open fire in the home and the baby is nearby, be very careful about sparks or embers that can fly loose and cause burns. Even an electric fire can be dangerous, as babies can easily get overheated. It is worth keeping a thermometer in the room or keeping the baby in loose clothing or thin layers unless it is freezing cold.
Heat can be a hazard to a baby in general. If drinking hot drinks, keep them well away from the baby. Even if the baby seems unable to reach hot liquids, there is always the risk of spillage. However tempting it is to sit and relax with baby and coffee, stay safe.
18 How Close Are The Radiators?
The same principle applies here as for fires. It is important not to put a baby’s crib near a radiator or lie the baby down near a radiator. Not only could the baby reach out and burn themselves, but it is difficult for babies to regulate their own temperature. They can easily overheat, so keep the baby warm enough, but away from direct heat.
If you do not have a thermometer in the room, keep it at a temperature that an adult would comfortably tolerate and keep the room well ventilated. Keep the baby in loose clothing and not over covered with blankets.
17 A Mattress That Is Too Soft
Make sure a newborn is put to sleep on a firm mattress. It’s not a good idea to put a newborn baby to sleep on a soft mattress, pillow or cushion. Also, make sure the mattress fits snugly in the crib and there is no gap between the side of the crib and the mattress.
Research shows that putting a baby to sleep on a soft surface, such as a soft mattress or sheepskin blanket can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. Sofas can also be hazardous if they are soft and squishy. A baby could fall between the cushions and suffocate.
16 Cushions To Baby Proof
A baby should not be placed unattended near cushions. This is because of the risk of one falling on to the baby and suffocating them. Similarly, a baby should not be placed to sleep on cushions as this increases the risk of SIDS.
Parents often feel they are keeping a baby safe by placing them on a sofa surrounded by cushions to avoid the risk of the baby falling. However, this offers up another hazard, that of suffocation. This can be caused by a baby wedging between them or one falling over its face. Keep the baby in a stable chair, crib or even a stroller where it is safer.
15 Soft & Fluffy Toys
Keep all soft toys well out of the way of a newborn baby, just in case one falls on the baby, or the baby manages to get close to it and it suffocates him. Soft, fluffy toys should be removed from the crib for the same reason.
It is tempting to leave something snuggly and comforting for the baby, but a newborn baby cannot see too far and cannot play with the toy, so it is safest to leave toys away from the crib for the first few months. Similarly, the crib should be placed in the center of a room or away from any shelves that contain something that could fall on the baby.
14 Blankets Are Way Too Risky
If using blankets to cover the baby while it is sleeping, ensure that they are kept well away from the baby’s face, especially the mouth or nose. Babies can move a little in their sleep and blankets can cause suffocation at a stage when the baby would not be able to remove the object to protect itself.
The best way to put the baby to bed is to put the baby in warm sleep clothing, like a bed sac, then no blankets are required and safety is a little easier to maintain. If you do use blankets, make sure they are well tucked into the crib mattress.
13 Bath Products Within Reach
Even some baby bath products should be kept well away from the baby. They can contain dangerous hydrocarbons, according to Parents. If any of the liquid is absorbed by the baby it can cause serious health issues.
Keep all bath products, baby or adult, well out of reach of the baby at all times. All products containing hydrocarbons need to comply with regulations and have childproof lids. But just in case the cap is left open and the baby somehow manages to get hold of it, it is not worth the risk. Keep them all well out of the way for peace of mind.
12 Unsupervised Pets
Our lovable, furry friends may be a little perturbed by the new arrival and we want to make them feel included and part of the family, but it is always best to keep them away from the baby unless supervised.
There are over 100,000 admissions to the emergency room each year as a result of injuries to young children from dog bites. Pets may be disturbed by the new arrival and not understand that the new small thing is a precious member of the family. It is best to err on the side of caution. Cats have also been known to fall asleep on babies, so keep the baby supervised at all times.
11 Out Of Touch Grandparents!
We love to have our parents around to help out. It can be so tempting to take time off and let them take over. This is a necessary and welcome part of family life. However, be careful to delicately remind them that advice on child rearing has changed since they had children. If you fear that they may be out of touch with current thinking, be sure to fully brief them on any aspects of safety around the baby that you feel they should know.
The phrase ‘it only takes once’ applies. Well-meaning grandparents could inadvertently cause irrevocable damage while intending quite the opposite.
10 Hangings Above the Crib
Parents love to offer mobiles or other hangings to stimulate and amuse babies above their cribs and while these are delightful, they must be secured safely and firmly. Parents need to be wary of anything that could fall on the baby from something attached to the crib or on a wall or shelf nearby.
Similarly, if there are any cords or ribbons attached to any of the hangings, ensure that they are well away from the baby in case anything could get tangled around the baby’s neck. It is easy to be complacent, thinking that a baby cannot move or reach, only to find they have developed a new skill overnight!
9 Second-Hand Items
We all love a freebie and people are so full of kindness when a new baby arrives. However, times change and safety regulations are being updated constantly. It can be hazardous to accept and use something that may not comply with today’s safety guidelines. There are always good reasons they are put in place.
Things may look perfectly alright and the donor may be unaware there is anything wrong with the item. Just to be on the safe side in case of missing or broken parts or non-adherence to safe suggestions, it is always best to buy new.
8 Carbon Monoxide Or Smoke
Ensure there are batteries in all carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors in the home. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and has no odor or color. Smoke can overwhelm a room quickly if a fire breaks out and smoke inhalation is the main reason for fatalities in domestic fires.
Similarly, it is advisable to keep babies away from people who smoke. The smoke can be very damaging to baby’s delicate breathing systems and is believed to be a contributory factor to SIDS. Even second-hand smoke, that is the smoke exhaled by someone else, can be dangerous, as can third-hand smoke that lingers on clothes and furniture.
7 Even The Crib Can Be A Hazard
The baby will hopefully be spending a good deal of their time asleep and most of it, in a crib. It is really important to take safety into consideration when purchasing a crib. Ensure that it conforms to up to date safety standards to make you feel reassured.
There are regulations about how high the mattress should be from the top of the crib to avoid the baby climbing out later on. The slats in the cot are important as they need to be close enough together to ensure that the baby can’t get stuck between them. Slats or bars should be around all four sides of the cot to allow air to circulate.
6 Cords From Electric Items Or Blinds
Ensure that any electrical items that have cords are well away from an unattended baby. It may seem improbable, but babies have been known to get cords wrapped around their necks and strangle themselves. Similarly, with the hanging cords from blinds. Keep the baby’s crib well away from any hanging cords to avoid the risk of entanglement.
Blackout from strangulation can occur in as little as three seconds according to Keep Your Child Safe, so it can happen incredibly fast. It is worth making sure that all cords are tight and not dangling anywhere near the baby for extra safety.
5 Changing Table
Most changing tables have a raised surface where the baby is placed. However, they are often high enough to cause injury to the baby if it were to fall. It may seem impossible that a newborn baby can roll off a changing table, but it is not worth the risk.
Always supervise the baby on the table, and hold onto it if you need to reach for something away from the table. Also, ensure that there are not heavy items on shelves above the changing table in case something falls on the baby while it is lying there.
4 Recalled Items
When certain items are recalled by manufacturers it is because of a safety risk. Either they have found an error in their own internal testing, a child has been injured or didn't survive as a result of using the particular product. A child product is recalled more than twice a week according to Kids in Danger, so parents need to be vigilant about any news of recalled items.
Be alert to any product recalls of items that you might have purchased or been given in the past. Retail outlets will offer a refund for these items, or they can be returned to the manufacturer.
3 Follow TICKS Rule For Slings
Baby slings are a lovely way to carry the infant around and they are very popular. However, they need to be attached carefully and monitored closely as there is always a risk of suffocation. Doctors recommend that babies who are premature or ill should not be carried in a sling in case they find they cannot breathe.
The TICKS rule is recommended. TICKS stands for Tight, In view at all times, Close enough to kiss, Keep chin off chest, and Supported back, according to Better Health. If these guidelines are followed, the baby should be safe and cozy in the sling.
2 Bumper Guard In The Crib
Bumper guards are no longer recommended to be placed in babies’ cribs. They have been the cause of far too many injuries involving suffocation, strangulation or even choking according to the NHS. Indeed, the Lullaby Trust reported that research has shown that 45 babies lost their lives over a 37-year period as a result of these items.
They are calling for more stringent safety regulations around the crib bumpers and labeling to guide parents to safer use if they do have them. The baby only really needs a flat surface to sleep on and warm clothing, and they will be happy.
1 What About Mom And Dad?
This is not as bad as it sounds. Parents are the prime caregivers to a baby and love them devotedly. However, we all have accidents and get tired. Be super careful when carrying the baby if feeling extremely tired or unwell.
It only takes one fall while carrying the baby to put parent and baby at risk. Be very careful going up or down stairs and if necessary, install stair rails, carpet grips or more lighting. Ensure that trip hazards are removed and put night lights around the home for late night feeding.
References: NHS, Betterhealth, Kidsindanger, Keepyourchildsafe, Parents