September is Baby Safety Month! The safety of your child is of utmost importance, so it’s vital to be aware of all aspects of safety. In honor of Baby Safety Month, we’re sharing a few tips to keep your baby free from harm!
#1. Babyproofing the house can be overwhelming and an ongoing process. It’s recommended to start babyproofing the house three months before the baby is born. So, don’t wait until the baby can move around to install gates–put them up ahead of time so that everyone at your home can start practicing early! Don’t be afraid to take a hands-on approach either! Literally getting on the floor and crawling around the areas you’re still concerned about. (However, if you’re in your third trimester, you should probably have your partner, friend, or family member do this for you!) Where could they fall and get hurt once they start crawling? What furniture edges could pose a risk? What small objects could they possibly swallow or choke on?
#2. Did you know that the ABC’s reduce SIDS? As much as you want to be close to your baby, do NOT share a bed as this is very unsafe. The best and only way your baby should be sleeping is by following the ABC’s of sleep: Alone, on their Back, and in their Crib. The baby’s crib can be in your room–in fact, this can also reduce the risk of SIDS. Also, do not put any type of blankets or pillows in the crib with the baby as they pose a risk of being a smothering hazard. These days, sleep sacks are highly encouraged if you are worried about your baby being cold while they sleep.
#3. You can get help installing a baby car seat or have it checked at local fire stations and police departments! However, not all stations offer this service, so be sure to check before you visit–or you can use this handy tool from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find a location near you. If visiting a fire station is not an option, make sure you read both the car seat manual as well as your car manual to ensure that your installation is done correctly. It is important to make sure that the baby is harnessed in and secure, as well as making sure that the chest clip is in the correct place. For proper safety, the chest clip should be at the center of the baby’s chest, and parallel to their armpits. Also, until they reach the maximum heights and weight limits of the carseat, they should always be rear-facing in their carseats.
#4. Car seats expire! Yep, that’s right. Car seats have an expiration date. Besides the more obvious reasons–like technological advances in the construction of car seats and improved safety guidelines–car seats can be part of a recall, and replacement parts could be harder to find. Manufacturers also only test the durability of a car seat for its expected lifespan (typically around 6 years). Additionally, car seats are made of plastic and metal bits that can wear down over time from daily use and enduring the elements of the car–like extreme heat in the summer and extreme cold in the winter. So be sure to check the expiration date of your baby’s car seat, and if it’s past–get a new one!
#5. You may be thinking “How could I ever forget my baby in the car?” Believe it or not, this unfortunate accident has happened before, and the results are heartbreaking. New parents or even parents on a different routine from their normal one may forget their baby is in the backseat and leave them there–a phenomenon called Forgotten Baby Syndrome. To combat this, start leaving something in the backseat that you would notice you’ve left–like your briefcase for work, or even a shoe off of your foot. We recommend the left shoe so it’s safer to drive.
These tips only scratch the surface of safety. Just know the earlier the better when babyproofing your house, but also realize that your baby won’t be truly mobile for several months. You can always update parts of your house and car as you go. Additionally, you can always ask other experienced parents that you trust, to give you tips on what they’ve learned about baby safety. In these instances, other experienced or new parents learn very quickly what works for them and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to ask for their advice or even talk to your doctor about where to find help!
Have any questions about your pregnancy or your health? We’re happy to help! Schedule an appointment at any of our three locations.