Your Baby's Safety
The best way to relax and enjoy the early months with your baby is to anticipate any risks ahead of time and take certain precautions. If you haven't been around a small child it can be astounding to learn the number of innocent household items that need to be considered harmful. Here is a reminder list of safety measures.
Safety In The Car
According to Georgia State law, your baby must be in a federally approved car seat whenever riding in a car. This should start with your baby's ride home from the hospital. Babies should ride rear-facing in the back seat and should never be placed in front of an air bag. The seat must be securely attached to the car in order to protect your baby in an accident. It is the parent's responsibility to know how to properly place their infant in the car seat and to install the car seat correctly in the car. The nurses are not allowed to do this for you. We recommend you install the car seat prior to discharge day. There are several resources in the community for car seat safety questions including the Lowndes County Sheriffs Department, Valdosta City Police Department, Valdosta Fire Department, Georgia State Patrol and the Birthplace at SGMC.
Safety At Home
Infants do not understand danger and have a short memory for warnings. By childproofing your home, you will prevent accidents and allow your baby to learn and explore the world. Please take the time to read these home safety tips.
Turn off stove when not in use
Keep pot handles away from baby's reach
Keep all cleaning supplies out of reach
Close and latch cabinets after use
Keep iron away from baby
Keep buckets of water away from baby
Never leave your child unattended!
Adjust temperature control on hot water heater (120º F or less)
Use non-skid mats in bathtub and shower stall
Drain water from bathtub as soon as bath is over
Keep toilet lid down
Keep all medicines (including vitamins) and cosmetics out of children's reach (don't forget the ones in your purse or on the night stand)
Close and latch cabinets after use
Make sure children do not use electrical appliances near water
Use a nightlight to prevent nocturnal bumps and falls
Bedroom and Living Room
Check all second hand cribs for safety
Remove or cover all furniture with sharp corners or edges
Remove or stabilize any items on high shelves
Remove or fix any rickety furniture
Use a nightlight in child's bedroom to dispel anxiety and light the way
All Around the House
Keep all alcohol away from baby
Treat plastic bags as hazardous and keep out of children's reach
Turn off and unplug all appliances not in use
Use latching gates at top and bottom of stairs
Lock outside doors and those leading to garage, basement and workshop
Remove or cover any wastebaskets that may hold potentially hazardous items
Use safety plugs on all electrical outlets
Keep all matches and lighters where children can't get to them
Install smoke detectors on every floor
Never, never, never keep a gun of any kind where a child could find it. Loaded or unloaded, it should be completely inaccessible.
Keep plants out of baby's reach
Other Safety Concerns
Babies who breathe tobacco smoke are more likely to have colds, ear infections, asthma, bronchitis and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than babies raised in a smoke-free environment. Don't let your baby be around tobacco smoke. All moms and dads should quit smoking! Friends and family should smoke outside your home.
If you give your baby a pacifier, it should be one with a guard or shield that is large and firm enough so it cannot fit into baby's mouth and cause choking. Multi-piece pacifiers may break apart, resulting in choking. A pacifier should not have a ribbon, string, cord or yarn attached, as it may get wrapped around baby's neck. Do not use a bottle nipple as a pacifier, as baby may choke on the rubber.
Rattles, squeeze toys
Baby toys should be built so they will not break apart during use, and large enough so baby cannot fit the toy into his or her mouth. Squeeze toys should not contain a squeaker. If the toy falls apart, baby could choke if he or she gets the squeaker into his or her mouth. When baby falls asleep, remove all toys from the crib or playpen to prevent choking or smothering during sleep.
Carrier seats must not be used as car seats, since they will not protect baby during an accident. A carrier should have a wide, sturdy base for balance and non-skid feet to prevent slipping. All support parts should lock securely. Crotch and waist straps are necessary. Never place a carrier on tables or countertops.
Baby doctors advise against moving walkers. Many companies now offer stationary chairs that do not move and therefore do not create accident risks.
Children and Pets
Do not leave the new baby alone with small children or siblings unless there is supervision. Do not leave baby alone with, or near, the family pet unless baby is out of reach.
A Safe Crib
If you are planning to use a second-hand crib for your baby, make sure it meets the following safety guidelines from The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- No missing, loose, broken or improperly installed screws, or other loose hardware on the crib or the mattress support.
- No more than 2-3/8 inches between crib slats so a baby's body cannot fit through the slats. If a soda can fits easily through the slats on a crib, the spaces between the slats are too wide.
- A firm, snug-fitting mattress so a baby cannot get trapped between the mattress and the side of the crib.
- No corner posts over 1/16 of an inch above the end panels (unless they are over 16 inches high for a canopy), so baby cannot catch clothing and strangle.
- No cutout areas on the headboard or foot board so a baby's head cannot get trapped.
- A mattress support that does not easily pull apart from the corner posts so a baby cannot get trapped between the mattress and crib.
- No cracked or peeling paint, to prevent lead poisoning.
- No splinters or rough edges.
- Sleep Positioning It is recommended that infants be positioned on his or her back or side when sleeping. Remove all loose linens and blankets from baby's crib and do not use pillows. Use a firm mattress in baby's crib and do not let him or her sleep on a waterbed.