By Emily Singleton
September is Baby Safety Month. For new parents, participating in a home visitation program like Healthy Families is a great way to make sure you are up to date on resources and information to keep your baby safe.
Here are some tips from the Healthy Families program for caregivers with a baby in their home.
• For safe sleep, remember “ABC.” Babies should sleep alone, on their back and in a crib or other approved surface that meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for all sleep time, including naps.
• Baby bumpers, fluffy bedding and stuffed animals are cute, but leave them out of baby’s bed. Use only a firm mattress and a tight-fitted sheet in the baby’s sleeping area.
• Who doesn’t love a good video of babies and doggies playing with each other? While making those sweet videos, keep your baby protected from pets who may be jealous of or curious about the new baby in the house.
• Do not let babies play near pet food and water. Dog food can be a choking hazard for babies (yes, they will put it in their mouths) and empty bowls can carry bacteria like salmonella.
• Did you know all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they are at least two years old or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer? Their legs might kick the seat in the back, but rear-facing is considered the safest position in case of an accident.
• Never leave a baby or young child unattended in the car – not even for a moment. Get kids out of the car first and then unload items in your car. Bring kids in with you even if you are just running into the store for a moment.
Out and About
• Babies can move fast! Make sure to strap them in to the stroller or high chair to prevent falls. Even if you think they won’t try to wiggle out, they might surprise you!
• Always place the baby’s car seat in the basket of the shopping cart. Although it is a common practice, it is not safe to put baby’s car seat balanced on the top seat of the shopping cart.
To learn more about baby safety, contact Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline at 877-705-KIDS (5437) or by visiting birthtofivehelpline.org. This free service is available to anyone caring for a child – including parents, relatives, paid caregivers, and other early childhood professionals.
All families with young children deserve support to help their children grow up safe and healthy. To learn more about early childhood home visitation programs like Healthy Families and others, visit parentpartnersplus.com.
Emily Singleton is the senior program manager of Parent Partners Plus at Southwest Human Development.