Avoid Accidental Injuries
Stay close by.
Your baby doesn’t have any sense of judgment about potential dangers, so it’s essential to be within arm’s length as much as possible. Even if she hasn’t started rolling over yet, she could wriggle off an elevated surface like a table or a bed. If your changing table has a safety strap, use it, despite the fact that your baby will be there for only a short time. Whenever you need to grab something in another room, take her with you or put her in a swing, a crib, or a play area.
Reduce the risks.
To help safeguard your home, do a thorough walk-through. Check that all rugs are nonskid (if not, put a pad or apply double-sided tape underneath). Outfit the tub with a nonslip mat, and attach corner and edge guards to tables. Always leave baby equipment, such as bouncy seats and swings, on the floor while your little one is using them.
Keep stairs off-limits.
Steps fascinate babies because they’re mysterious (“What’s up there?”) and a perfect spot to practice climbing skills. Use a hardware-mounted safety gate that you bolt to the wall or banister at the top of the stairs. Pressure-mounted ones are less sturdy if pushed on; although you shouldn’t use them at the top, you can install one at the bottom of the steps to keep your baby from climbing up. Just be sure to always close and lock your gates.
Check out the crib.
By 8 to 10 months, your baby will be able to pull himself up to stand and more likely to reach for things near his crib—and possibly fall. Move the mattress to the lowest level and keep window cords, mobiles, and any other strangulation
hazards out of the way. Continue to keep bumpers, stuffed animals, and other objects out of the crib at all times to reduce the risk of SIDS. (Your baby could also use these to boost himself over the railing.)
Watch your windows.
Keep them locked when they’re not in use (and if possible, open them from the top instead of the bottom). Don’t place the crib or other items that your baby could climb on near a window. Consider installing guards on all windows and quick-release mechanisms on any that are part of your fire escape plan. (Just be sure to check your local laws; some cities don’t allow guards on fire-escape windows.) Window stops, which cost less, prevent a window from being opened more than 4 inches. Remember, screens offer no protection; they’re designed to keep bugs outside, not to prevent kids from falling.
Be cautious outdoors.
Watch your child extra carefully when she’s outside. Any decks and balconies you visit should be enclosed with railings or a gate. At home, keep planters, benches, and any other objects your baby could climb on away from the edges. When you go for a walk with the stroller, make sure she’s strapped in, even if you know she’ll doze off soon. Then relax and enjoy—a little fresh air will be good for both of you! Sources: Mary Aitken, M.D., a pediatrician at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock; Debra Holtzman, author of The Safe Baby; Lois Lee, M.D., a pediatric-emergency-medicine physician at Boston Children’s Hospital.