collaborative post // Parenting is a fantastic journey but comes with many challenges, especially for first-time parents. One of the biggest challenges is keeping your baby safe. There are so many things to think about and be aware of. So, where do you even start?
Here are some safety tips for first-time parents to help get you started.
Inspect everything in your home from a baby’s perspective
Get down on your hands and knees and look around. What do you see that could be dangerous for a crawling baby? Things like electrical outlets, loose cords, small objects that could be choking hazards, sharp corners, and stairs are all potential dangers.
Once you identify the risks, could you take steps to correct them? For example, you can use outlet covers on electrical outlets, put gates at the top and bottom of stairs, and keep small objects out of reach.
Create a safe sleep environment for your baby
Your baby should always sleep on its back on a firm surface in a crib or bassinet that meets current safety standards with no loose bedding, pillows, or toys. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends sharing a room with your baby for at least the first six months to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by as much as 50 percent. If you are traveling with your baby, consider looking at portable cribs that meet safety standards.
Never leave your baby alone in the bathtub
Bath time should always be supervised. Even a few inches of water can be dangerous for a baby. It only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen. Never leave your baby unattended, even for a minute.
Be cautious when using baby carriers and slings
Baby carriers and slings are becoming increasingly popular but using them safely is essential. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and never leave your baby unattended in a carrier or sling.
Keep an eye on your baby around pets
Even the friendliest of pets can be a hazard to a baby. For example, dogs and cats can inadvertently knock over a baby or step on them. So make sure you always supervise your baby when they are around pets.
Use car seats and seat belts correctly every time you travel with your baby in the car—no exceptions!
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for children under 13. But when used correctly, car seats and seat belts can significantly reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash. Just be prepared for the worst. As stated by murraylaw.net, you should know about your rights on the road, and if you get hurt in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you will get fair compensation for that.
Always consult your car seat’s owner’s manual and follow the installation instructions carefully. Make sure everyone in the car is buckled up—adults included! And never leave your child alone in the car—not even for a minute!
Supervise young children around water—inside and outside the home—at all times!
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children under five, so it’s essential to be vigilant when young children are around water—even if they know how to swim! Designate an adult “water watcher” whenever kids are swimming or playing near water (a pool, lake, bathtub, toilet, a bucket of water, etc.), and make sure there is active supervision at all times—no exceptions!
Be cautious when using social media
Social media can be great for staying connected with family and friends, but it’s essential to use caution when sharing information about your family online. For example, don’t post pictures or information allowing strangers to identify your child’s school, home address, or schedule.
In addition, be mindful about friending people you don’t know in real life—even if you have mutual friends—and never post anything you wouldn’t want anyone else to see (remember that nothing is truly private on the internet).
Teach your kids about personal safety rules early and often!
It’s never too early to start talking to your kids about personal safety rules, like not talking to strangers or getting into cars with people they don’t know. As they get older, you can provide more details about personal safety rules (like what to do if they get lost in a public place) and teach them how to identify trusted adults they can go to if they ever feel unsafe (like a police officer or store employee). The more comfortable they talk about personal safety with you, the more likely they will come to you if something ever happens!
Follow safe eating habits
As a parent, you are responsible for teaching your children how to eat safely. Eating habits start early in life, so it is essential to ensure that your kids learn how to eat safely as soon as possible. Here are some tips:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling food.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.
- Cook meat, poultry, and fish to the proper temperature. Use a food thermometer to make sure that the food is cooked all the way through.
- Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, and fish separate from other foods.
- Do serve food sitting out for up to two hours.
- Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
Know which foods are safe for your child’s age
Choking is a leading cause of death in children, so it is essential to know which foods are safe for your child’s age. Here are some tips:
- For babies and toddlers, avoid giving them hard candies, hot dogs, nuts, seeds, popcorn, chips, pretzels, raw carrots, raisins, grapes, and cherries.
- Older children can have these foods if cut into small pieces.
- Make sure your child is sitting down while eating and supervised at all times.
- Encourage your child to chew their food thoroughly.
Contact your local health department if you have any questions about food safety.
Always have a first aid kit on hand
You never know when you might need it, so it’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit. Ensure the equipment is stocked with bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, scissors, Tweezers, soap, antiseptic wipes, and a thermometer. You should also include a list of emergency phone numbers, like the poison control center and your child’s doctor and if your child is allergic to anything, make sure to include that in the kit.
Do your research before letting your child attend a sleepover
If your child is spending the night at a friend’s house, it is essential to do your research first. Talk to the parents of the child they will be staying with and ensure that you are comfortable with their parenting style and that their home is safe. It is also a good idea to send along a list of any allergies or medical conditions your child has and emergency contacts.
Never leave your child alone in the car
Leaving your child alone in the car, even for a few minutes, is never a good idea. The temperature inside a parked car can rise quickly, and children are more susceptible to heat stroke than adults. In addition, leaving your child alone in the car makes them vulnerable to kidnapping. If you ever need to go with your child alone in the vehicle, ensure that someone else is with them.
Parenting is a fantastic journey full of challenges. One of those challenges is keeping your baby safe from harm’s way both inside and outside of your home sweet home.
Parents can help create a safe haven for their little ones by taking some proactive measures. Although there is no such thing as a perfectly safe home, parents can help give their babies a fighting chance against accidents by following these tips.