Family

Is your home safe for baby?

Author: Canadian Living

Family

Is your home safe for baby?

Keeping your baby safe
One of the first things you'll be aware of as a new parent is that you start to see the possibility of danger for your child in situations that would have looked innocuous to you just a short time ago. That's good -- it means that your antennae are up.

One of our prime responsibilities as parents is to keep our children from harm and that means learning how to prevent injuries. Experts don't talk about "childhood accidents" any more; they talk about "preventable childhood injuries." That's because studies have shown that the majority of injuries, which are the leading cause of death for children under age nineteen, are preventable. The following tips provide what you need to know about injury prevention for a baby.

General home safety
If you haven't already done so, get a fire extinguisher, hang it in a handy spot, and keep it serviced. Install smoke alarms in a central location on each floor of your home. Don't put an alarm in a bathroom or too close to the stove in a kitchen, because harmless smoke and steam vapours will reach it. If it sounds its shrill alarm just because you've had a hot shower, you may be irritated enough to deactivate it, then forget to reactivate it. But putting the alarm near the kitchen door is a good idea, because an unattended pot on the stove could start a fire.

Also install an alarm in any bedroom whose door is closed at night. If a fire starts in the wall of a bedroom with a closed door, an alarm in the hall may not activate until after the smoke has overcome someone sleeping in the bedroom.

Page 1 of 4 - Do you have more than one first aid kit? Find out where you need one and what to put in it on page 2


Remove dust from smoke alarms every six months by vacuuming them, and test the battery by waving a stick of incense or a candle under it. Pressing the tester button may only tell you whether the battery is charged, not whether the unit is working. Consider installing carbon monoxide detectors also, especially if you have a fireplace or wood stove, an oil or gas furnace, and gas appliances. The units should be installed near sleeping areas.

If you rely on well water or a source other than city-treated water, test it twice a year for coliform bacteria as well as fluoride and nitrate levels. Take a water sample in to your public health unit or ask for a water-testing kit.

When planning the baby's room, place the crib away from radiators and the cords of window blinds. Don't string anything across the crib, and hang mobiles out of reach. If you're using a diaper pail, choose one that has a secure compartment for the deodorizer or don't use a deodorizer at all.

First aid kits
Buy two first aid kits, one for the car and one for home. heady-made kits from an established organization such as St. John Ambulance provides a good model to start with. Make a list of emergency phone numbers and post a copy by every telephone in the house. This list should include: poison control, police, fire, doctor, taxi, ambulance, and 911 or it's equivalent in your area. Also post your own address and telepone number, in case an emergency makes the baby sitter or a visitor forget the information, and the phone numbers of grandparents, neigbours, friends, and workplaces.

Page 2 of 4 - Find out safety rules for your home on page 3.

Safety rules for your home

• Be wary of clothes with hoods and drawstrings.

• Use only sleepwear that is flame-retardant.

• Use only cold-air vaporizers.

• Never put a baby on a waterbed. (The mattress has too much give, and an infant can't lift his head away for air.)

• Don't drink hot liquids when holding an infant.

• Don't use pillows in a crib.

• Always use restraint straps on infant seats and strollers and the like.

• Never leave a baby in an infant seat anywhere high, and especially not on a couch or bed. If the seat tips, the baby's face might be pushed into the bedding or mattress.

• Always supervise an older sibling around the baby.

• Never leave a baby alone in the bath or on the change table.

• Turn the hot water heater down to 48°C (120°F) from the usual 57-60°C (135-140°F).
• Don't throw your baby up into the air or drop her onto a bed as a game.

• Don't give a baby a balloon to play with. The loud bang when it breaks can hurt her tiny eardrums, and the thin pieces of material that remain could suffocate or choke her.

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