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Baby Safety Mistakes and Safety Tips
When it comes to childproofing, you've probably heard the basic baby safety tips. Cover all of your outlets. Block the stairs. Lock up the bleach. Since babies and toddlers are curious and very wiggly, though, there are a shocking number of ways they can find to hurt themselves. Here are some common baby safety mistakes, along with ways to help keep your baby safe around your home.
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Have You Secured Your Furniture and TVs?
Furniture tip-over accidents have injured thousands of babies and toddlers. Some small children have even died when they pulled a dresser, bookshelf, or TV onto themselves. While we're doing a better job of baby safety overall, Safe Kids Worldwide says there's been a 31 percent increase in TV tip-over injuries in the last 10 years.
Luckily, this is one injury you can easily prevent. Many companies make brackets and straps that you can use to secure your TV or furniture to the wall. Many dressers... and book cases even come with a bracket these days. The brackets can't work if you don't use them, though.
You can also reduce the chance that your baby will climb up on the furniture by not putting tempting items, such as food or toys, on higher shelves that encourage reaching and climbing. If you're looking for a new chest of drawers, choose one with drawer stops that only allow one drawer at a time to be opened.Continue to 3 of 13 below.
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Using the Wrong Baby Gate On the Stairs
Most parents and caregivers know they should use a baby gate to keep their little one from falling down the stairs. However, not all baby gates are designed to be used at the top of the stairs. In general, you should only use wall-mounted gates at the top of the stairs. Babies and toddlers love to try to climb up on gates. A pressure-mounted gate may not stay in place well enough to prevent a tumble down the stairs.
When you're choosing a baby gate for your home, make sure you select one that... says it's appropriate for stair use if that's where you intend to use it.
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Do You Use a Baby Seat or Bouncer On the Counter?
You probably wouldn't place your wiggly baby on the kitchen counter and walk away. However, many parents do just that when they leave their baby in a bouncer or baby seat on the counter or another high surface. Most bouncers and seats have instructions that say you should use them only on the floor. That's because those wiggly babies could jiggle the seat right off the counter and onto the floor. In fact, many babies have been seriously injured that way.
The harnesses on many baby bouncers... aren't designed to do much more than keep an infant from sliding down and out of the seat. If your baby figures out how to sit up while your back is turned, it's pretty easy for them to tumble out of the bouncer.
The same rule applies to infant car seats. Don't leave your baby perched on a high surface, even if they're buckled safely into the car seat.Continue to 5 of 13 below.
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Baby Isn't Buckled Up, Every Time
I preach a lot about car seat safety, but this time I'm talking about all of your other baby gear that has a harness or buckle. Whenever your baby or toddler is in the high chair, swing, or stroller, they should be buckled in. Those little bits of webbing are there for a reason, and that reason is keeping your baby from falling.
A wiggly baby or climbing toddler can easily go headfirst out of the high chair, slither out of the swing, or face-plant onto the pavement from the stroller if you... don't use the harness. Improperly used harnesses could even pose a strangulation hazard if baby starts to fall and gets hung up in the webbing.
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Hot Water That's Too Hot
You probably check your baby's bath water to be sure it isn't too hot. What would happen if your little one turned on the faucet on their own? Setting your water heater to max out at 120 degrees ensures that your baby or toddler won't be scalded by too-hot water from any faucet in the house. It's a quick way to reduce the risk of injury, and you'll still have plenty of hot water for your own shower.
You can also install anti-scald devices on faucets your child is most likely to reach for. An... anti-scald device has a mechanism inside that reduces the flow of water when it is too hot, so almost nothing will come out of the faucet. There are also devices available that prevent a baby or toddler from turning the faucet handles to the "hot" side.
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Babies Don't Need Batteries
Everyone in the house wants that TV remote, even the baby. However, remotes, battery-operated key fobs, calculators, and other small electronics are not designed as baby toys. That means your baby could get access to the battery, or to other small parts. Not only do batteries present a choking hazard, they are extremely dangerous when swallowed.
According to Safe Kids, more than 2,800 kids per year are treated in the E.R. after swallowing button batteries - the type you'd find in those key... fobs and other tiny electronics. That's just in the U.S.! Other devices to keep away from baby include musical greeting cards, battery-operated tea light candles, watches, and holiday decorations or light-up jewelry.
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Magnets Within Baby's Reach
High-powered magnets are a very common household item these days, and they're extremely dangerous to babies and toddlers. These are not the classic child-friendly ABC magnets you grew up with! In fact, all high-powered magnet sets are supposed to be labeled as being unsafe for kids under the age of 14. High-powered magnets, if inhaled or swallowed, can stick together within your child's body, causing significant injury.
If your baby likes to play with magnets, make sure you only have the weaker... child-friendly magnets available. Teach your child not to put magnets in his or her mouth. Do not keep high-powered magnets out where small hands might reach them.
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Can Baby Reach Your Beauty Products?
Almost any makeup or skin care item has a warning label on it that says not to get it in your eyes or mouth. If your child gets into your beauty stash, though, getting products in their eyes or mouth is likely. Check the ingredients on your personal care items, makeup, and other beauty supplies. If you don't want your baby to potentially eat that lipstick or anti-wrinkle cream, you should keep it up high or lock it up like you would other household chemicals.
Of course, if you don't have... those other household chemicals locked up, too, now is a great time to invest in some childproofing cabinet locks! Did you know that packs are dangerous for baby? Since they can look like bright-colored candy, you'll need a plan for keeping those away from baby, too.
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Watch Those Cords on Your Baby Products
Securing cords and outlets in your home was probably on your childproofing checklist. Lots of baby products today come with their own cords, though, from swings to baby monitors. These items are clearly designed to be used around babies and toddlers, but the cords still pose risks to your child.
If you have a swing or soother that plugs into the wall, unplug it when it isn't being used and store the cord out of baby's reach. Baby monitor cords can be particularly dangerous if they're... too close to the crib or not secured to the wall.
When you're charging your own portable electronics, try to do so out of baby's reach. Those glowing screens are very tempting for little ones, but the charging cord presents a risk of electrocution or entanglement.Continue to 11 of 13 below.
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Unsecured or Recalled Window Blinds
About one child each month dies when they become entangled in window blind cords, according to CPSC. The best option is to use cordless window coverings if you have small children in your home. If that isn't an option for you, visit windowcoverings.org to receive a repair kit that will secure the loose cords that raise and lower the blinds. You can also purchase window blind cord winders that keep the cords up high and out of reach. Never tie knots in the long cords that raise and lower your... window coverings.
You should also double check to see if any of the window coverings in your home have been recalled. More than 5 million window coverings, including vertical and horizontal blinds, roman shades, and roll-up blinds, have been recalled in recent years because they are dangerous to small children. Check the CPSC window covering recall list to see if you need to replace any in your home.Continue to 12 of 13 below.
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Dangling Cords and Overhanging Pot Handles
Any items with a cord that dangles from a higher surface can be dangerous for curious babies who might pull the cord or try to use it for cruising support. This includes irons, hairdryers and curling/straightening irons, kitchen appliances, and even desktop or laptop computers with exposed cords. It only takes a second for a baby to pull a corded item down and be injured, even with a parent right there.
In the kitchen, make sure all pot handles are turned to the side or back, so they don't... hang over the edge of the stove. Use just the back burners of your stove if possible to reduce the risk of your toddler reaching up and grabbing a hot pot. Don't place hot food containers at the edge of the counter where small hands might grab them.
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Baby Is Balanced On Top of the Shopping Cart
According to the CPSC, thousands of kids visit the emergency room to be treated for injuries related to falls from shopping carts. At least one baby even died when his car seat fell off the top of the shopping cart in a parking lot. Although it's quite common to see infant car seats perched on top of shopping carts, it's really not a safe way to transport your baby. The car seat is not designed to hold tight to the shopping cart, and having a heavy car seat up top makes the cart... top-heavy and more likely to tip over.
If you need to take the whole infant car seat into the store, place it inside the deeper basket portion of the cart. For babies and toddlers that can sit up, always buckle them into the shopping cart. Skip carts that don't have working buckles, and don't allow your child to stand on the sides or back of the cart.