5 Childproofing Mistakes to Avoid
Unfortunately, when you have a baby, you don’t get sent home with a detailed manual with instructions for exactly what to do. Parenting can be a guessing game as to what the right course of action might be. When you’re first starting out, there can be a lot of hazards you might not be aware of. There are a lot of mistakes people can make when trying to keep their child safe and we want to pass them along, with some helpful tips for how to avoid them. If you’re looking for a way to make your home safer, without sacrificing style, check out Jamboo Creations to see our extensive line of customizable baby-proofing products.
-Sleep Safe and Sound
One of the biggest battles of early parenthood is getting your baby to sleep. It can feel like the slightest issue will wake them up, so when they finally drift off, there’s a desire to just leave them be. Unfortunately, there are many dangers that can come up in your baby’s crib that you need to be aware of. Never put your baby down to sleep on their stomach, as that increases their risk of SUID.
You may want to put a bunch of pillows, comforters, and stuffed animals in the crib, but these increase the risk of suffocation. This can also crop up as a danger when the baby sleeps in a bed with a parent or another child. Ensure the mattress is properly fitted for the crib frame to avoid accidentally trapping the baby under the bed (no more than two finger widths between mattress and frame). Make sure the sheet on the mattress is not too large, as this can pose a risk for strangulation.
-Avoid Old Cribs
It can be really tempting to take up a friend on a hand-me-down crib, or to go hunting for a cheap one at a garage sale. A crib that is more than 10 years old may not meet current day safety regulations. One of the most common design flaws these older cribs had was side slats that were wide enough for a baby’s body to slip out, but not wide enough for their head. This became a strangulation hazard that was adjusted and regulated over the past few years, so focus on newer cribs.
A good measurement to keep in mind for side slats is no more than 2 3/8th inches. Make sure all of the slats are intact, with none that are cracked or missing. Check the crib for loose, broken, or missing parts, splintered wood, peeling paint, or any otherwise sharp edges. We also recommend avoiding cribs that have elaborate corner posts, decorative headboards, or footboards with cutouts, as they can easily snag on the baby’s clothing, and can therefore cause strangulation.
-Hide the Bags
If your house is anything like ours, we’re sure you probably have a stash of old plastic grocery bags from trips to the store. While it’s good to reuse these bags, it’s imperative you keep them out of reach from your baby. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that plastic bags are the second-leading cause of suffocation for babies. This is particularly important to keep in mind between three and six months old, as this is when an infant is capable of putting a plastic bag over their head, but they lack the coordination and understanding necessary to remove it. A plastic bag can get stuck in place thanks to a combination of static electricity and inhalation, and it can prove fatal in less than 60 seconds.
Take preventative steps to avoid this tragedy. Keep your plastic bags either out of reach or in a cabinet with a lock on it. Avoid using can liners in trash cans that a baby can easily access, like those in a bedroom or bathroom. Be sure you have properly disposed of any dry cleaning bags from your clothes before hanging them up in your closet.
-Incorrectly Installed Car Seats
A car seat reduces the risk of a crash-related infant fatality by 71 percent, but it only works if it was installed properly. Unfortunately, studies have shown that less than one in five is actually installed correctly. One of the biggest reasons? It is installed in a front-facing position. It’s important to keep the car seat installed in a rear-facing position until your child is at least one year old and they weigh at least 20 pounds.
Never put a car seat in the front seat. Even if it is facing the rear, a baby can still suffer serious injury if the airbag inflates in the event of a crash. Ensure the seat’s shoulder straps fit snugly. You should only be able to fit one finger between the straps and your child’s collarbone. Many fire stations run special events where they will assist you with installing a child car seat and ensure its safety features are functioning properly, so we recommend checking with your local station.
Bathtub drownings happen most often between the ages of six and 11 months old. That’s because this is when a baby begins to be able to sit upright on their own, which can give parents a false sense of security in turning their back on them — even just for a second. Even with a bath ring or seat, a baby can still slip or tip over in these devices. That means the only real way to keep your infant safe in the tub is continuous adult supervision. A baby can also tip over into an open toilet bowl if they get too curious, so that’s something you need to keep in mind as well.
While your baby is in the bathtub, it’s imperative you stay within arm’s length of them. If for any reason you need to leave the bathroom in the middle of bathing them, wrap the baby up in a towel and bring them with you. Minimize the amount of water you use in the bathtub to reduce the possibility of drowning. Use lid locks on the toilet seat to prevent drowning or a falling seat from tipping onto the baby.
There are many other common mistakes that we will be exploring in the near future, but hopefully, these tips are able to give you a bit more peace of mind when it comes to your child’s safety. If you’re looking for more ways to make your home a bit safer for your little one, call us at Jamboo Creations. We have an extensive selection of baby-proofing items that can be customized to match your home decor. We feel that you shouldn’t have to sacrifice style for safety, so we offer both in one package. Call us today!