Avoid Ac­ci­den­tal In­juries

Parents (USA) - - Contents - By TAMEKIA REECE

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.

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