We parents constantly worry about our kids’ safety, and we usually take comfort in the thought that our homes are a safe haven for our little ones. We also naively assume that, unlike active toddlers and preschoolers, babies aren’t susceptible to accidents as long as they stay inside the home. Are these correct assumptions?
Data suggests that the rate of unintentional injuries for kids under 1 year old is almost the same as that among kids 1 to 4 years old, reports Parents in an article. There are also statistics that indicate the greatest accident risk is inside the home.
So what kind of danger lurks in your home? More importantly, how can you protect your infant?
Choking is one of the leading causes of injury and death in kids 3 years old and below in the United States. Because their airways are small, and they are still trying to perfect their skill at chewing and swallowing, even a tiny blockage could cause permanent damage to their system.
How to prevent choking:
Avoid toys that have tiny pieces, like dolls with buttons for eyes, electronic toys that run on button cell batteries (round, flat ones the size of a tablet), or other detachable parts. These could easily be yanked off the toy, and at this age, your child’s instinct will be to put everything he sees in his mouth.
Crawl on the floor as your baby would, noting possible hazards only he would see when he’s on all fours (coins, a staple wire, beads, or a tiny piece of stone).
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According to Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, “The best way to determine if something is a choking hazard is to use a small-parts tester.” A more practical way to check if anything is a choking hazard? “You can use a toilet-paper tube to check a toy,” she says. If it fits into the tube, keep it away from your child.
Suffocation is the state of being deprived of air or being unable to breathe. Among babies, one of the common culprits for suffocation, which contributes to the number of cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the use of soft beddings or blankets in the baby’s sleep area. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adds that specifically among kids under 1 year, suffocation often leads to fatal accidents.
How to prevent suffocation:
Follow safe sleep practices: that means keeping baby’s sleeping space clear of pillows, blankets, crib bumpers, stuffed toys, and the like. Think of what would happen if she rolls over them and is unable to lift her head for air. Make sure, too, that your baby’s crib meets safety standards, that the mattress is firm, and that the sheets fit snugly.
Though a fall is one of the most common injuries among children (and thankfully often non-fatal), parents should still take precautions especially if it involves a child less than a year old.
How to prevent a fall:
Never leave your child on an elevated are like a sofa, chair, or changing table — not even for a second
Check on possible slip hazards like rugs or carpets. Put non-slip mats in the bathroom, and anti-slip strips on the stairs.
Install gates or barriers around your child’s play area.
Additional safety precautions:
Have a list of emergency numbers posted conspicuously inside your home (ambulance, hospital, and poison control should be in it). Don’t forget to include your own number for when you’re not home and they need to reach you. Even better, put together a Go Bag for emergency use!
Enroll yourself in an infant CPR class, then pass on the information and train the members of your household