For many households, welcoming a new baby into the family is a most joyous event. But along with the thrill of new parenthood comes important responsibilities; such as baby proofing the home environment.
Preventable accidents are responsible for an alarming number of child fatalities annually. Resulting in laws to help make kid safety precaution a greater priority; increasing a parent's awareness of the importance of a childproof home.
Take the Initiative for a More Child Proof Environment
The fact that countless children are seriously injured and many die because of accidents is bad enough. Sadder still, many of these accidents could have been avoided had some type precaution been taken.
A simple safety precaution such as a child proof outlet cover, a childs safety gate, anti scald device, or combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector could help prevent serious injury - or even a fatality.
Because of this, numerous organizations were established during the late 1980s to help increase child safety awareness. And parents began taking the initiative to ensure theirs was a child safe home.
Such groups as the Consumer Product Safety Commission CPSC helped set a high child and baby product safety precaution standard for Canadian consumers. As a result, Canada experienced 37% fewer accidental child fatalities between the mid 1990s and 2003.
Baby Stuffâ€¦Safety Comes First!
When making baby item purchases, select products that follow American Society for Testing and Material Safety Standards (ASTM), endorsed by the Standards Council of Canada.
Also look for products approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission CPSC. And the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association JPMA; a national trade organization that helps educate parents so they make wiser children's product selections.
The JPMA represents hundreds of baby product manufacturers and importers throughout the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Note: product certification stickers by these and similar organizations do not guarantee protection from harm. They merely endorse the product as a good option; with design and features that increase child safety.
When making product selection, use the helpful baby proofing checklist below:
- Buy only a modern crib - whether a new or used crib. Avoid models made before 1992 that do not meet new kid safety criteria. Crib slats should be no more than 2 3/8-inches apart; hardware should be securely installed. Avoid cribs with elevated corner posts or decorative cutouts that could entrap the baby's head or snag clothing. Make sure any drop-side latches hold the sides in the raised position securely, and that they cannot be accidentally released by the baby.
- Use appropriate crib bedding - made specifically for infant use. Do not use heating pads or electric blankets. Avoid pillows, stuffed animals, and excessively fluffy baby crib bedding for newborn to 3-month old infants. The same goes for portable crib bedding.
- Use only a crib mattress and crib bumper pad that meets modern safety standards - a mattress that fits the crib snugly, with less than a two-finger width space between it and the sides of the crib. Mattress crib bumper pads should be securely attached to the crib's head and footboards.
- Use only a playpen, portable crib, or portable playpen that meets current safety guidelines - whether a mesh playpen or wooden playpen - full sized or portable. Mesh holes should have a tight weave; less than ¾-inch across, with no tears or holes. Mesh should be securely attached to the sides, floor, and top rail. Slats on wooden playpens should be less than 2 3/8-inches apart; for this reason avoid playpens made prior to 1974. Hardware should be secure.
- Use only a baby high chair with safety features - whether a folding metal or plastic frame model, or non-folding wooden high chair. Look for such things as a high chair strap that adequately restrains (one that fits across the waist with a t-strap at the crotch), or else a harness; clamps that lock onto the table for added security and support. Also make sure any caps on high chair frame tubing are firmly attached and cannot be pulled off by the child. Note: most high-chair related injuries result from infants being improperly strapped into the chair.
- Use only a baby stroller appropriate for your child's age/weight - a carriage type stroller for newborn to toddler, an umbrella stroller for infants who can sit upright, a jogger stroller for babies as young as one-month old. Select the best baby stroller possible. Look for models with a wide, tip-free base, an easy to buckle seat belt that secures at the waist with a t-strap at the crotch, and secure locking brakes. The leg openings on a convertible infant stroller should close when used as a carriage.
Ways to Babyproof Your Home
In addition to the above, there are numerous things you can do to child proof your home once your baby begins to move freely about:
- Never leave the sides of a mesh playpen down, where your baby could crawl into a pocket, become trapped and injure themselves or suffocate.
- Keep all small objects out of your toddler's reach. This includes anything small enough to fit inside a cardboard paper roll.
- Keep window treatment cords out of reach; shorten them or consider cordless blind, shade, or drapery styles.
- Avoid using a plastic or wooden toy box with a hinged lid. If you do, drill breathing holes into the sides in case your child becomes trapped.
- Keep all potentially dangerous substances (liquid or otherwise) in an upper-level cabinet. Including laundry supplies, cleaners, alcoholic beverages, medications, bug sprays, and garden fertilizers.
- Keep houseplants, many of which can be toxic, out of reach.
- Pad the sharp edges of furniture, such as coffee and end tables.
- Keep small kitchen appliance cords wrapped short so they cannot accidentally be pulled off the counter.
- Position audio and video equipment on furniture so they cannot accidentally be pulled down.
- Secure free-standing room features to walls to protect toddlers who use furniture to pull themselves up so they can stand. This includes bureaus, floor lamps, entertainment centers, and the like.
- Keep emergency telephone numbers handy - including poison control centers, hospital emergency room, etc. Note: call the Children's Safety Association of Canada at 1-888-499-4444 for the number of the poison control center nearest you.
Also include other baby proofing product options for a more complete infant-friendly house remodel. Install child safety gates for stairs and doorways, a safety door lock on cupboards and doors, refrigerator safety lock and window locks, and an electrical outlet safety cover on all electrical outlets within the child's reach.
Many of the above safety devices are reasonably priced. Especially considering they could protect your child from serious injuryâ€¦or worse.
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