Babies are precious and delicate, which is why you need to prioritize their safety at all times. As a baby safety advocate with many years of experience, I have witnessed many accidents that could have been avoided if proper baby safety measures had been taken. In this article, I will discuss what baby safety entails and share some essential tips that every parent should know.
What is Baby Safety?
Baby safety refers to the precautions and measures taken to ensure the well-being of infants and young children. It involves identifying potential hazards in a baby’s environment and taking steps to prevent accidents or injuries. This includes both physical safety, such as protecting them from falls or suffocation, as well as emotional safety, such as creating a nurturing and secure environment for their development.
Baby safety needs to evolve to address the changing hazards that affect babies at different ages. For instance, infants under 3 months face a higher risk of baby sleep hazards like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Anything that increases the risk of suffocation or strangulation can make SIDS more likely to occur in this vulnerable age group.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants should sleep on their backs on a firm surface with no loose bedding or objects in the crib. This reduces the risk of suffocation and SIDS significantly. We have a separate post on safe sleep guidelines.
As babies grow, their mobility and curiosity increase, and you need to implement additional safety measures for their protection. For instance, toddlers are susceptible to accidents from falls or ingesting harmful substances. Installing secure baby gates that adhere to all 10 CPSC standards can help prevent hazards, such as access to fireplaces, and keep your toddler safe at home.
What experts say about baby safety:
As I put together this guide, I reviewed some of the latest best practices for parents to ensure baby safety. According to a study published in the Child Health Nursing Journal in 2022 titled “Analysis of research on interventions for the prevention of safety accidents involving infants: a scoping review,” Mi Yeon Kim and his team found that strengthening parents’ competency is the most effective way to enhance interventions for preventing accidents.
It also emphasized the importance of employing diverse teaching methods, including various media, demonstrations, practice, and supervision strategies, to ensure toddlers’ safety. This allows parents to engage in self-directed education whenever feasible.
The table below shows 5 intervention ways to prevent baby accidents and enhance infant safety;
Why is Baby Safety Important?
Every year, thousands of infants and toddlers die from accidents that could have been prevented. As per Boston Children’s Hospital, more than 2,300 children die each year from SIDs, and using safe sleep products can lower the risk of your baby becoming one of these statistics. Babies also die as a result of unsafe baby gear such as cribs, car seats, gates, and strollers among others. Unsafe cribs with paddings or bumpers can smother the baby, and car seats that are not installed correctly can cause suffocation or strangulation.
Below is a CDC chart showing deaths from SIDs;
Every year, around 12,000 children and young adults aged 1 to 19 die from unintentional injuries, as reported by the CDC. Infants and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to severe injuries such as burns, falls, poisonings, choking, and drowning. Furthermore, according to the Stanford Medicine website, approximately 100 children lose their lives and 254,000 sustain injuries in bicycle-related accidents annually.
Below are some main areas in your home and items that kids are most likely to be injured from/by;
- Beds without railings
- Electrical outlets
- Swimming pools
- Hot water taps
- Elevated landings
- Baby walkers
- Slippery bathtubs
- Cluttered pathways
Another benefit to keeping your baby safe is that you enhance their development. When babies feel safe and secure in their environment, they are more likely to explore and learn through play. This helps them develop motor skills, cognitive abilities, and social skills. With proper supervision and a safe environment, parents can actively engage with their children in various activities that promote learning.
In addition, using specific baby gear such as carriers in specific periods such as when your baby is only 3 months can cause muscle strain, while using it for longer periods can affect a baby’s hip development. Thus, selecting the right and most suitable baby gear is essential in ensuring your baby’s safety as well as promoting their development.
As your baby develops, the use of different baby safety products can change depending on age and development milestones. For example, as your baby grows, they may outgrow their crib or stroller, requiring you to upgrade to a toddler bed or a bigger stroller.
A safe environment also promotes independence in children. As they grow, children become more curious and eager to explore their surroundings. By creating a safe environment, you allow them to do so without constant supervision, promoting independence and self-confidence.
Promote good safety habits:
By teaching your children early about the importance of safety and how to stay safe, you instill in them healthy habits that will last a lifetime. This includes simple things like washing their hands, looking both ways before crossing the street, or wearing a helmet while biking.
10 Steps to Ensure Baby Safety:
- Baby-Proof Your Home: The first step to ensuring baby safety is to make sure your home is a safe place for your child. This includes covering electrical outlets, securing furniture and appliances, and installing safety gates to block off stairs or rooms that are not baby-friendly.
- Practice Safe Sleeping: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death in infants under one year old. To reduce the risk of SIDS, always place your baby on their back for sleep and make sure their sleeping area is free from any soft objects or loose bedding.
- Never Leave Your Baby Unattended: Babies can get into dangerous situations quickly, so it’s essential to never leave them unattended. Always supervise your child, especially around water, stairs, or any potential hazards.
- Handle with Care: Babies are delicate and need to be handled with care. Support their head and neck when carrying them and never shake your baby, as this can cause serious brain damage.
- Keep Toxic Substances Out of Reach: Babies love to explore and put things in their mouths, which makes them vulnerable to accidental poisoning. Keep all toxic substances, including cleaning products and medications, out of reach of children.
- Use Baby-Safe Products: When selecting products for your baby, make sure they are age-appropriate and made with non-toxic materials. Check the labels of toys and other baby items for any safety warnings or recalls.
- Learn CPR and First Aid: As a parent, it’s essential to know basic CPR and first aid in case of an emergency. Take a class or ask your pediatrician for resources on how to perform these life-saving techniques.
- Make Car Safety a Priority: Always use proper car seats and booster seats that are appropriate for your child’s age and weight. Never leave your baby alone in a car, even for a short period.
- Be Mindful of Sun Exposure: Protect your baby’s delicate skin by keeping them out of direct sunlight and using sunscreen when necessary. Babies under six months old should avoid sun exposure altogether.
- Trust Your Instincts: As a parent, you know your child best. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your baby’s safety.
Essential Baby Safety Products and Why:
As a parent, it’s natural to want to protect your baby from any harm. That’s why purchasing the right safety products is essential for ensuring your baby’s well-being. Here are some of the must-have baby safety products and their benefits:
- Baby Monitor: A baby monitor allows you to keep an eye on your sleeping baby while you’re in another room. Some models even come with video capabilities, so you can see your baby as well as hear them.
- Childproofing Supplies: From cabinet locks to outlet covers, childproofing supplies help prevent accidents and keep dangerous items out of reach for curious little hands.
- Baby Gates: These are necessary for blocking off stairs or certain areas of the house that may pose a danger to your baby.
- Thermometer: A reliable thermometer is crucial for monitoring your baby’s temperature and detecting a fever.
- First Aid Kit: Having a first aid kit on hand with essential items such as band-aids, gauze, and antiseptic is important in case of any minor injuries.
- Baby Proofing Window Guards: These guards prevent your baby from falling out of windows and are a must-have for any home with young children.
- Car Seat: A properly installed car seat is essential for keeping your baby safe while traveling in a car. Make sure to research and choose the appropriate car seat based on your baby’s age, weight, and height.
- Baby Carrier: A good quality baby carrier allows you to keep your baby close while having your hands free. It also helps prevent accidental falls when carrying your baby around the house.
- Baby Bath Seat: These seats provide a secure and comfortable place for your baby to sit during bath time, reducing the risk of slipping or drowning in the tub.
- Humidifier: A humidifier adds moisture to dry air, which can help alleviate respiratory issues and keep your baby’s skin hydrated.
Classes of Baby Safety Products:
Baby Safety Products at Home:
For physical safety, consider getting a home security camera. This will allow you to ensure that intruders are kept out and will also let you when an unidentified person gets close to your baby.
Consider a baby monitor and specifically a secure smart monitor so you can watch your baby using an app and can use it to monitor your baby’s vital signs.
If you are worried about your monitor getting hacked, consider a non-wifi monitor that doesn’t rely on the internet. They are considered hackproof.
Baby gates are other essential baby safety products at home. You can use them to block off stairs, rooms, and other potential hazards.
Corner guards can be used to cover sharp edges of furniture such as tables, cabinets, and countertops. These will prevent your baby from getting injured if they fall or bump into these objects.
Outlet covers are essential for keeping your curious little one away from electrical outlets that can cause shocks or burns.
Cabinet locks are important for keeping harmful household items, such as cleaning products and medications, out of your baby’s reach.
Baby Safety Products on the Go:
It’s important to have a car seat properly installed in your vehicle before bringing your baby home from the hospital. This will keep them safe during any car journeys.
Stroller safety is also crucial when taking your baby on walks or outings. Make sure your stroller has a sturdy frame, secure straps, and working brakes.
Baby carriers are another popular option for parents on the go. However, make sure to follow all safety guidelines and always keep an eye on your baby while they are in the carrier.
When traveling by air, it’s important to have a FAA-approved car seat for your baby to use during the flight. This will ensure their safety during takeoff, landing, and turbulence.
Baby sleep safety products:
While it’s important to have baby safety products for when your little one is awake, it’s equally important to ensure their safety while they are sleeping. Here are some essential baby sleep safety products:
Crib: A crib is a must-have for every newborn as it provides a safe and comfortable sleeping space for your baby. Make sure the mattress fits snugly in the crib and there are no gaps between the mattress and the crib frame.
Crib mattress: Choosing the right crib mattress is crucial for ensuring your baby’s safety while they sleep. Look for a firm, flat, and waterproof mattress that fits snugly in the crib.
Swaddles and sleepsacks: These products can help keep your baby warm and secure while they sleep without using blankets, which can pose a suffocation risk.
Baby Safety Products for Outdoors:
As your baby grows, they will become more curious and adventurous, making outdoor playtime an important part of their development. However, it’s crucial to ensure their safety while they explore the great outdoors. Here are some essential baby safety products for outdoor activities:
Sunscreen: Protecting your baby’s delicate skin from harmful UV rays is important during outdoor playtime. Look for a sunscreen specifically designed for babies with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Bug spray: To protect your baby from pesky insects and potential illnesses, always apply a baby-safe insect repellent before going outdoors.
Hats and sunglasses: Just like adults, babies need protection from the sun. Make sure to provide them with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to keep their delicate eyes and skin safe from the sun’s rays.
Outdoor playpen: For added peace of mind, consider setting up an outdoor playpen where your little one can safely explore their surroundings while being closely supervised.
On our website, Safer For Baby, we currently cover the first 3 categories of baby safety gear at home, safety gear for travel and baby sleep safety gear. We do not yet cover baby safety gear outdoors but will soon start guides on them.
Most common baby safety hazards:
While baby safety products can help reduce the risk of accidents, it’s important to also be aware of common hazards that may exist in your home or during outdoor activities. Some common baby safety hazards include:
- Sharp objects: Keep all sharp objects out of reach and securely locked away. This includes knives, scissors, and other household items.
- Choking hazards: Be mindful of objects that can easily be swallowed by a curious baby, such as small toys or coins. Always supervise your baby during playtime and keep small objects out of reach.
- Stairs: Install gates at the top and bottom of stairs to prevent falls. Make sure these gates are securely attached and can’t be easily pushed over.
- Hot surfaces: Keep hot drinks and appliances, such as hair straighteners, out of reach. Always test the temperature of your baby’s bath water before placing them in it.
- Water hazards: Never leave your baby unattended near pools, bathtubs, or any other bodies of water. Make sure to always keep an eye on them when they are around water.
- Electrical outlets: Cover all electrical outlets with safety plugs or put furniture in front of them to prevent your baby from sticking their fingers or objects into them.
- Furniture tip-overs: Secure heavy, unstable furniture to the wall to prevent it from tipping over onto your baby.
- Cords and blinds: Keep cords from blinds and curtains out of reach as they can be a strangulation hazard. Consider installing cordless blinds or using cord shorteners to keep them out of reach.
- Poisonous substances: Keep all cleaning products, medications, and other poisonous substances safely locked away and out of reach from your baby.
- Car safety: Make sure you have the appropriate car seat for your baby’s age and weight, and always use it when traveling in a vehicle. Never leave your baby unattended in a car, even for a short amount of time.
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Sarah Davis is one of the co-founders of Safer For Baby, where she brings her expertise as a certified elementary school teacher in Florida and Alabama. With a focus on working with children with special needs, Sarah is deeply passionate about adaptive technologies and mobility gear for these kids. She is currently working towards becoming a certified car seat technician, and through our website, she provides personalized consultations to help parents find the perfect car seat for their child. Sarah’s dedication extends beyond her work at Safer For Baby; she also serves as a board member for Friends Of the Girl, an NGO that supports girl child education in Kenya. She will soon finish her postgraduate degree in Special Needs Education and hopes to continue her advocacy work for children with disabilities.