During the month of November, Capital Area Healthy Start is observing and actively taking part in National Child Safety and Prevention Month. Throughout this month, and year-round, we aim to educate expectant mothers and new families on not only how to keep their babies healthy, but how to ensure their safety. Once your baby enters the world it can feel like a dangerous place you must protect them from, but don’t worry! We are here to provide you with safety tips and reminders on how you can best protect your baby in your home and beyond.
Child safety starts at home. One of the most important responsibilities as a parent is making your home a safe environment for your baby. For starters, we encourage you to keep anything potentially harmful far out of your baby’s reach. This includes all cleaning supplies, tools, utensils, medicine, glass items, any choking hazards and much more.
Next up is safe sleep. While it is important to keep potentially harmful items out of reach, it is critical that you provide and maintain a safe sleep environment. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following for creating a safe sleep environment for your baby:
- Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
- Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
- Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns one but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
- Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
Now comes child-proofing. There are several approved tools to help you protect your baby from potential accidents or injuries. Placing safety gates in areas that house dangerous items, attaching angle braces to soften sharp edges of furniture and using childproof caps on medications are all simple yet effective ways to protect your baby.
While child safety starts at home, it really impacts every aspect of your life as a new parent.
When it comes to driving with your baby in the car, it’s crucial to install a car seat or booster seat (depending on their age and size) properly in your vehicle. Always make sure to securely fasten your baby into their seat and follow all driving safety protocols such as speed limits, red lights and lane passing.
We want to remind you that while accidents and unexpected tragedies occur, at the core of all these tips is a reminder to keep an eye on your child and stay vigilant for anything dangerous that could happen.
At Healthy Start, we want you to feel confident that your baby will be safe wherever you may be. Protecting your baby starts with you. We encourage everyone to create safe environments or update their current spaces during National Child Safety and Prevention Month.
You can never be too safe!