Baby Proofing Your Home
By Doreen McComas, Maternal Infant Health Program Coordinator
While babies are growing and learning during their first years of life, they are also exploring the world around them. Putting everything in their mouths, grabbing and reaching, pulling up on furniture, and climbing, all mean there are potentials for a baby to get hurt. So, during Baby Safety Awareness Month, it’s a good time to talk about baby proofing your home.
Imagine if you will, a baby’s picture-perfect bedroom. Who doesn’t love a cute baby nursery with the beautiful heirloom crib that’s been handed down for generations? The crib is centered under the window with the wonderful room darkening blinds to shut out light to help baby sleep. The crib has all the lovely accessories, like bumper pads, a quilt made by great grandma, and a favorite stuffed animal you had as a child. A dresser is next to the crib with an adorable lamp that matches the crib accessories.
Now picture that same baby’s bedroom from a safety perspective. That beautiful heirloom crib probably doesn’t meet current safety standards for crib rails, crib mattresses, and paint. Older cribs often had the rail slots spaced too far apart. Drop down rails have been banned, and slots are now spaced for safety. Crib mattresses have also been standardized to make sure of a perfect fit that allows for baby to sleep without risk of slipping into crevices. And, if the crib is painted and the baby chews on the rail (very common! :)), older layers of paint that may contain lead could be exposed.
Crib bumpers, blankets, stuffed animals, as well as pillows, all place baby at risk for suffocation. In addition, cribs shouldn’t be placed under a window. The baby could get a hold of the cord to the blinds or could push through a window, making this a no-no. And that adorable lamp on the dresser next to the crib? Electrical items and cords should be at least three (3) feet away from reach of baby.
There are may other things to also take into consideration for baby’s safety in the home. Chemicals, batteries, medications, sharp objects, electrical outlets, water sources, and stoves are just some items that need attention for safe storage and prevention methods to keep baby from harm’s way. Many devices are available to help. Check out this infographic from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. The red numbers correspond to the safety devices that can help reduce risk.
- Use Safety Latches and Locks for cabinets and drawers in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas to help prevent poisonings and other injuries.
- Use Safety Gates to help prevent falls down stairs and to keep children from entering rooms and other areas with possible dangers.
- Use Doorknob Covers and Door Locks to help prevent children from entering rooms and other areas with possible dangers.
- Use Anti-Scald Devices for faucets and shower heads, and set your water heater temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit to help prevent burns from hot water.
- Use Smoke Alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside sleeping areas to alert you to fires.
- Use Window Guards and Safety Netting to help prevent falls from windows, balconies, decks, and landings.
- Use Corner and Edge Bumpers to help prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges of furniture and fireplaces.
- Use Outlet Covers and Outlet Plates to help prevent electrocution.
- Use a Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm to help prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
- CPSC recommends using Cordless Window Coverings in homes with young children, in order to prevent strangulation.
- Use Anchors to Avoid Furniture and Appliance Tip-Overs. Furniture, TVs, and ranges can tip over and crush young children. Deaths and injuries occur when children climb onto, fall against, or pull themselves up onto television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks, chests, and ranges. For added security, anchor these products to the floor or attach them to a wall.
- Use Layers of Protection with Pools and Spas. A barrier completely surrounding the pool or spa, including a 4-foot tall fence with self-closing, self-latching gates is essential.
For more information check out these websites (just click on the links):