Making Your Home Safe for Your Child (page 2)
It is important to know how your child will be growing and acting at this age for you to know how to make your home safe. So many changes take place in your child’s first 2 years that it is sometimes difficult to know what will happen next. During the first few months, your baby will be entirely dependent on you to keep him safe and comfortable. He learns only by watching, imitating, and listening to you, and he will learn something new each day. Over the first 2 years, your baby will change from not being able to hold up his own head, to rolling, crawling, and finally walking on his own. He learns through his senses, so he will want to touch, see, taste, smell, and listen to everything. Therefore, you need to make sure that he can only get to places and things that are safe for him.
To find out if your house is baby safe, get down on your hands and knees afind ond crawl around yourself to see what your baby sees. Are there tablecloths to tug on? Stairs to fall down? Windows and cabinets to open? Food to taste? Sharp corners to run into? Once you know the dangers in your home, they are easy to fix.
Your baby is going to spend a lot of time sleeping (or at least you hope so) so you want to make sure that your crib is a safe place for your child. Check on your baby frequently, and consider installing an intercom system so that you can hear him if he starts to cry.
When buying a crib:
- Make sure that the slats are no more than 2 3/8ths inches (about the size of a soda can) apart to avoid getting your child’s head stuck between them.
- Make sure that the mattress is the same size as the crib and that there are no excess blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals that could suffocate your baby.
- To help prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) your baby should sleep on his back on a firm, flat mattress. For more information on SIDS, please visit the SIDS: "Back to Sleep" Campaign.
- Hang toys and mobiles far from your baby’s reach.
- Never place the crib near cords, blinds, or drapes.
- Consider placing bumper pads inside the crib until your baby can stand.
- Never leave your baby alone in the crib with the sides down.
Over half of all infant drowning incidents occur in bathtubs. Other drownings in this age group occur in toilets and buckets, so take special care in the bathroom and when cleaning to keep your baby safe. Some tips on how to keep your bathroom baby safe include:
- When giving your child a bath, the water should not cover more than your baby’s legs.
- Never leave your baby unattended in the bath or with a young sibling.
- Always drain all the water from the tub or sink.
- Make sure that the temperature of the bathwater is not too warm (no hotter than 100 degrees.)
- Keep cabinets with cosmetics, cleaning agents, and other toiletries locked so that your child cannot get to them.
- Keep the toilet lid shut.
- Never leave water in a bucket.
The living room
The living room may be a room you choose to keep nice for when guests are over, so if it is not a safe place for your child to be, keep it locked or gated. Otherwise, here are some tips to keeping your living room welcoming to both guests and babies.
- Keep furniture and plants away from windows.
- Make sure your plants are not poisonous for children. For more information on household plants that may be toxic for your children visit the National Capital Poison Center.
- Make sure all objects that small children could put in their mouths are placed out of their reach.
- Keep electric cords out of reach and sight of children.
- Cover electric outlets.
- Avoid using tablecloths that children can pull on.
- Don’t smoke inside.
- Bolt bookcases to the wall.
- Place safety screens in front of the fireplace.
Perils of the kitchen include sharp cabinet corners, slippery floors, utensils, and food scraps on the floor that babies love to put in their mouths. Try to keep your child out of your way while you cook, and remember to:
- Test foods and liquids before serving them to your child. Be careful when microwaving a bottle to feed your baby—the tip can get hot and the liquid can have hot spots that could scald him.
- Keep pots on the stove on the back burner when possible, and with handles pointing towards the back so that they cannot be easily bumped or grabbed by a young child.
- Make sure the trashcan is covered with a lid or in a closed cabinet.
- Keep cleaners and chemicals locked up.
- Keep the Poison Control number by your phone. To find the Poison Control Center nearest you, contact the American Association of Poison Control Centers or call them at (202) 362-7217.
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