Safety At Home
More than 3,500 babies die while sleeping every year from suffocation or strangulation in unsafe sleep environments, or due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Thankfully, there are some basic guidelines you can follow to reduce your child’s risk.
- Infants should sleep alone in their crib, bassinet, or portable play yard. The mattress should be firm, sheets tightly fitted, and there should be no stuffed animals, crib bumpers or blankets. Snug swaddling and sleep sacks are the best options to keep baby warm.
- Babies should sleep on their back. A child on their stomach has a higher chance of suffocation or rebreathing. Rebreathing is when someone breathes air that has previously been exhaled, and has more carbon dioxide than oxygen. This means that even if a baby is breathing, they might not get enough oxygen. If a baby is able to roll on their stomach, it isn’t necessary to turn them, but they should always be placed on their back to fall asleep.
- Room-sharing is a great option to make breastfeeding and overnight care easier, but bed-sharing can be dangerous for your baby. A sleep space just for baby will keep them safe. The best options are those that are designed for infant sleep like a bassinet, portable crib, or play yard. Car seats, couches, swings, and bouncers are not good places for a baby to sleep. Make sure to register your crib and check for recalls. Crib safety standards were updated in 2011, so make sure the distance between slats is less than 2 3/8 inches (about the size of a soda can), without decorative cutouts, and does not have drop-sides.
Safety in the Home
- Kids love to climb and reach for things they can’t quite get to, and unsecured furniture can tip over on a child. Furniture, like dressers and bookshelves, should be strapped to the wall with furniture wall straps. Flat screen TVs should be mounted to the wall with a TV wall mount, and box-style TVs should stay on low tables.
- Limit children’s access to stairs. Always use gates or close doors at the top and bottom of all staircases in your home, even after they can climb them on their own. Keep stairs free of clutter and maintain (and use) a sturdy railing.
- Make sure toys are in good condition with no loose parts or chipping paint, especially for vintage or secondhand items. Toys should be age and developmentally appropriate. In households with multiple kids, make sure older kids know to put their toys away when they’re done playing. Any item that can pass through a toilet paper tube can become a choking hazard for toddlers. Subscribe to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall newsletter at cpsc.gov and make sure you register any new toy that comes with a registration card. This will let you know of any recalls on toys or games.
- Many medications or household cleaners can look like candy or juice and curious kids love to put things in their mouths. Always keep medicine, cleaners, and laundry soap or packets up and away – the majority of medication poisonings are because kids found pills on the floor, in purses, or easy to open pill boxes. Storing medicine out of kids’ reach and in their original containers can minimize this risk. Once you don’t need a medicine anymore or after it expires, use a medication take back program, like the Big Red Barrel Project in collaboration with the Michigan State Police to safely dispose of medicines. Find locations and more information at dontflushdrugs.com.
- The small, round, flat batteries often found in toys, singing greeting cards, and remote controls, are known as button batteries and can cause serious esophageal or tissue burns. Be aware of where these batteries are found and be sure to dispose of them appropriately when you no longer need them.
Poison Control Center – 24 Hour Assistance
If you think you or your child ingests something they shouldn’t have, even if you don’t know exactly what it is, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. The Poison Center is always free, confidential and staffed 24 hours a day by pharmacists, doctors, and nurses.
Access to More Free Educational Information Today
- safercar.gov – Find information on types of car seats, details on specific makes and models including ease of use ratings. You can also search for Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) in your area.
- safekids.org – Safe Kids Worldwide provides resources to parents and caregivers about how to keep kids safe at home, at play, and on the way!
- cert.safekids.org – Search for CPSTs, learn about what to expect from your session with a CPST, and find information on how to get involved in child passenger safety in your area.
- webpoisoncontrol.org – Provides expert advice to find out if ingestion or exposure requires a visit to the emergency room.
- dontflushdrugs.com – find a location near you to safely dispose of expired or unneeded medications.