Baby - Home safety checklist

Parentree-editors 2008-08-14 08:43:28

These safety tips will help Indian parents think about how to make their baby's environment secure in the first year. Of course, these are no replacement for the constant care and attention that you should pay to your baby.

  • Use bedding that is firm for the baby. Don't use fluffy pillows, blankets etc. Opt for natural materials like cotton.
  • Don't buy clothes which have choking hazards like buttons, beads etc. The baby may loosen these and then put them in his/her mouth.
  • Walk through your home and ensure that there are no small items at the floor level which baby can knock over. This also applies to items placed on short tables or stools. She may bump into these tables and knock over the item on the table surface, on themselves and get hurt.
  • Use a carseat. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when installing it. Have someone double-check your installation. Re-check the carseat every time your baby will be put in it
  • Seal all open electrical sockets/plugs within one or two feet of the floor so that the baby does not stick its finger in them. Check all electrical switches he may have access to when crawling around.
  • Pay special attention to floor standing or pedestal fans. The grill on the fan must have gaps small enough that baby cannot insert a finger into it. Also make sure pedestal fans cannot be knocked over by her.
  • Be careful with curtains that reach the floor. Ensure these are well secured or the baby may pull them down and bring the rod and the curtain crashing down.
  • If you have blinds which have drawstrings, secure these at a higher level so that the baby does not strangle himself on these.
  • Be careful with your stairs. If possible install safety gates at the top and bottom of your stairs.
  • Some of us have grills (iron, cement etc.) on stairs and balconies. Ensure that the crevices are too small for a baby to pass through.
  • Put away all medicines and household cleaning products, matches, lighters, mosquito repellents,  behind locked doors. And keep them there for the next few years !
  • Do not use pesticides in your garden and on your plants.
  • If you have any plants in an open area (balcony for example), make sure they are out of reach of the baby.
  • Don't use harsh cleaning agents to mop the floor. Keep the area where the baby spends time, clean. If she spends time on the floor, mop the floor regularly.
  • Clean the baby's sheets regularly.
  • Remove stuffed toys from around the baby when he goes to sleep.
  • Don't smoke in the house and especially never around the baby. It can affect her and result respiratory illnesses when young.
  • Don't use harsh detergents to clean the baby's clothes and sheets.
  • Check for diaper rash every time you change a diaper. Buy a good diaper rash cream.
  • Ensure that no small parts of toys are near the baby as these are a choking hazard. Babies are learning and often put everything in their mouths.
  • Lock away your batteries and ensure that the battery covers in your baby's toys are well secured. Babies may put batteries in their mouth and burn themselves.
  • Don't buy toys that are too loud. They may damage your baby's hearing.
  • Don't leave the baby on an elevated surface like a sofa/couch/bed without supervision.
  • If you use a high-chair, ensure that the baby is securely fastened and the tray is locked into place.
  • When giving your baby a bath, never let him out of your sight. It takes very little water and very little time (sometimes just seconds) for a baby to drown.
  • Always ensure that the baby is sleeping on his/her back unless your doctor has recommended otherwise.
  • Stuffed toys (especially large ones) are also a smothering hazard.
  • Don't let anyone throw the baby up and down. It may cause injury to the brain.
  • Be careful when consuming hot liquids like coffee, tea around the baby. Keep the cups away from her reach.
  • Don't hold your baby or let him play near you in the kitchen when you are cooking. There is risk of burns from hot water, food and oil.
  • Meet your doctor/paediatrician regularly and ensure that your baby gets her vaccines at the right times.
  • If you use formulas, ensure that the bottles and nipples are cleaned thoroughly and kept in a clean environment. The same goes for pacifiers that the baby may put in his mouth.
  • Do not put the baby's pacifiers in a string around her neck. If she accidentally twists, the string may entangle itself around her neck and choke her. This applies to jewellery also.
  • Don't leave the baby alone with any pets.
  • Mosquito nets may become a hazard as babies start to move. Babies can get entangled in them and smother especially after waking up from a nap. Ensure there is constant adult supervision when a net is used.
  • Your baby will be a great explorer. Keep drawers, kitchen cabinets, properly secured so that things don't come tumbling out on him.
  • Keep your bathroom doors closed to prevent babies from exploring them.
  • If you are giving the baby a warm bath, check the temperature of the water carefully.
  • This is a period where you start trying new foods with your baby. Ensure that the foods are well cooked/mashed and she can chew/swallow them easily and no pieces are large enough to choke her.

Above all, keep an eye on your baby all the time. Or have someone you trust do it. Also inspect your baby regularly to see if there are any signs of poor health. If you suspect any adverse changes go see a doctor immediately.


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