Making Your Home Safe for a 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. Today’s 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:
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)
o never drink hot beverages while carrying or hovering over baby.
o Tuck car seat buckles under the fabric or under a burp cloth when leaving your car. Feel the temperature of the metal before strapping your baby in
o Never heat breastmilk 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)shimmy 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.
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 vapes 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.
o Family plan for emergencies – who takes the baby, the pets, etc. and where to meet
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 Plan remodels before baby’s birth
o Use safe paints, low VOC 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 building 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 or mixing with formula
o Run COLD tap water vigorously for 10-15 seconds before using – this will wash most lead out leached into pipes overnight.
Get more from Dr. JJ at CallingDoctorJJ.com
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