Babies less than 1 year of age have a higher overall rate of unintentional injury-related death than older children. Suffocation, motor vehicle occupant injury, drowning, residential fire or burn injury, falls, and poisoning are the leading causes of unintentional injury death for infants.
The arrival of a new baby means big changes for the whole family, especially when it comes to making sure your home and car are safe for your new addition.
As babies spend most of their time sleeping, a safe sleep environment is a top priority for Safe Kids Grand Forks during Baby Safety Month. Sixty percent of infants suffocate in the sleeping environment as a result of soft bedding blocking their airway. While many parents want to include blankets and toys in their child’s crib – leaving them out is safer for the child. We know that you want the crib to look like it does in the magazines or that the embroidered pillows were a gift from Aunt Sally, but decorations are not worth the risk of suffocation caused by an unsafe sleep environment.
Top 5 mistakes new parents should avoid:
- Not having a safe sleep environment. Put babies back to sleep in cribs that meet safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) with a firm, tight fitting mattress. Remove pillows, loose sheets or blankets, stuffed toys, crib bumpers, sleep positioners and other soft bedding products before putting babies to sleep.
- Holding a baby while cooking or carrying hot foods and liquids. Mostscald burns in young children, especially in those ages 6 months to 2 years, are from spilled hot foods and liquids. If you need to cook or carry something hot, first strap the baby into a bouncy chair or high chair.
- Leaving a baby unattended in the tub or near sinks, buckets and containers filled with water. The main reason babies drown is lack of supervision – often for a very short amount of time. Babies can slip out of bath seats, fall out of baby tubs, or tip forward or sideways into the water and drown in seconds. Children under 1 year usually drown in bathtubs, 5-gallon buckets, and toilets. Never leave a baby unattended in or near water – even for a second.
- Turning infants facing-forward too early. For the best possible protection, keep your infant in a rear-facing child safety seat in a back seat for as long as possible – up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. The“12-months-and-20-pounds” rule that many parents cite when turning their child forward in the car is actually the minimum size and age requirement. Never turn achildforward-facing before age 1 and at least 20 pounds, although keeping kids rear-facing until about age 2 is safer if the seat allows.
- Underestimating a baby’s abilities and limitations. Babies will wiggle, kick, roll over, mouth their toys, move around, pull up, crawl, take her first steps and walk. Even if she can’t do all of these things right now, there’s always a first time. As babies grow, they may have different abilities and limitations that put them at risk for injury. Parents should think ahead and ask themselves what they need to do to make their house a safe place for little ones, and they should share this information with other caregivers.
Baby Safety Month is an annual observance led in September by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. To learn more about this year’s focus, “Safe Sleep Practices,” visit www.jpma.org. If you would like more information about baby safety topics visit www.safekids,org.
For more info about infant safety or other childhood injury prevention topics, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at firstname.lastname@example.org.Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.