​Practical, low cost/no cost ways to make your home safer for baby!

Believe it or not, injuries in the household are one of the top reasons why children aged 3 and under visit the ER each year.  Your child’s risk of injury starts from day 1! So it’s best to start thinking proactively about making your home safe and secure before baby comes home.  This discussion will focus on typical accidents that happen to young infants. Even before your baby sits on his own, injuries can still happen.  Here are the most common home injuries seen in children under 6 months and how to prevent them, using good old common sense! and some tips from the pros!

Burns: from too hot water in the bath, or spills from parents/caregivers hot beverages, hot buckles from carseats, overheated formula or food

o   Solution: set water heater to 120 (delays scalding by at least 15-20 seconds), test water with your forearm before placing baby in the bath. Baby's skin is much thinner, so opt for slightly cooler than you like.

o   Never drink hot beverages while carrying or hovering over baby.

o   Tuck car seat buckles under the seat fabric or under a burp cloth when leaving your car.        Feel the temperature of the metal before strapping your baby in.

o   Never heat breast milk or formula in the microwave. The core of the milk is hotter than the      outside.  Make sure to swirl the bottle contents and test on the inside of your wrist first.

Falls from a height: all too often little babies (often in their carseats or bouncy seats) shimmy or vibrate off a bed, changing table, couch or other furniture and get injured in the process, even parents carrying their baby, unstrapped, trip and fall, and baby goes flying.

o   Solution:  don’t rely on straps that come with changing tables – take them off…keep one hand on baby at all times, and have supplies within arms reach.

o   Place babies in an approved carrier, and sit it on the floor, with straps on. Never place a baby on a couch, chair or bed to sleep – there are also suffocation risks.

o   Avoid putting bouncy chairs on any surface but the floor.

o   Always strap baby in the carseat, even when carrying in the house.

Drowning:  turning your back on baby in a tub, even if in a hammock, ring, or other device, allows enough time for accidental submersion.  If you have a pool or jacuzzi, it's time to start saving money for safety gates! Your baby will be crawling before you know it!

o   Put your answering machine on, and plan to stay focused on baby during bath time

o   Never turn your back on baby in the bath

o   Never allow a child to bathe or supervise an infant in the bath

Smoke/Fire/Second hand smoke – smoke or vapor of any kind irritates baby’s delicate respiratory tract and can lead to asthma, and illness

o   Solution: no one smokes or uses e-cigarettes in the house or car. Period.

o   Smokers should change to clean clothing before holding or caring for baby.

o   Smoke alarms/CO alarms installed and working near baby’s room, all bedrooms and           living areas. 

o   Family plan for emergencies – who takes the baby, the pets, etc. and where to meet in the event of a fire, earthquake or other emergency.

Strangulation: from window blind cords, clothing strings, fringe, even long tethers for pacifiers.  Babies can quickly become entangled.

o   Solution: Use a cleat or cup hook to elevate cords above baby’s reach, or cut cords shorter and knot ends.

o   Remove all cords and ribbons longer than 6 inches off from clothing and toys.

Suffocation: from soft objects, blankets, pillows, positioners, placed in crib. Babies who fall asleep on chairs and couches also face suffocation/SIDS risk.

o   Solutions:  keep crib zen. No bumpers, no pillows, no positioners or toys while baby is in the crib. Dress in layers to stay warm. Only sleep in an approved crib or co-sleeper.

Avoid remodeling/demolition if your house was built before 1978 – lead in paint that becomes airborne is toxic for both baby and parents.

o   Solution:  plan remodels before baby’s birth

o   Use safe safe, low VOC paints  and  safe building materials

o   Remember to mask off the air ducts in any rooms being remodeled so baby can’t share the air

Lead Pipes: check to see if your plumbing has any lead pipes – older buildings have either lead pipes or lead used in the soldering.

o   Use a Brita or other filter to trap lead and other impurities for drinking water, cooking water or mixing formula

o   Run COLD tap water vigorously for 10-15 seconds before using – this will wash most lead out leached into pipes overnight.

And of course, ALWAYS put your baby to sleep in an approved crib or co-sleeper. ALWAYS belt your baby into an approved carseat, whether in a car, train, taxi or plane.  Babies should be REAR-FACING. ALWAYS post your pediatrician or doctors name and telephone number, as well as the number for Poison Control near your most used telephone.

For links to the videos taped on Home & Family, click here: http://bit.ly/1CBc0Ie and https://youtu.be/kJMeNFf4lp4

and there is a followup video on the Home & Family Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/HomeandFamilyShow?fref=ts