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Infant Safety Tips for New Parents


Kathy Greenberg, R.N.

When preparing for a baby, expectant parents often find themselves anxious to learn everything they can about nurturing and caring for their newborn. One important topic often overlooked is infant safety, which should begin before a baby is even born.

Choosing a safe crib:

  • Railings that are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart
  • A firm mattress that fits snugly in the crib
  • Remove any plastic mattress packaging
  • Make sure lead-free paints were used (antique or vintage cribs often have lead-based paint); lead can make babies extremely ill if they suck or chew on the railings or eat paint chips as they begin teething 

Choosing an infant car seat:

  • Must be rear-facing infant car seat properly installed in the back seat making certain seat belts are in good working order
  • Learn to use the car seat before you leave the hospital
  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents are advised to keep their children in rear-facing car seats from birth until age 2

 Sleeping:

  • Place baby on his/her back to sleep to reduce the chance of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and choking
  • Keep all soft, fluffy or loose bedding and stuffed animals out of the baby’s crib (suffocation hazards)

Baby-proofing the home:

As infants grow, they become more active and start to explore. It’s important for parents and caregivers to get down on their hands and knees, at baby level, and explore every room in the house for safety hazards every few months. Some important safety tips include:

  • Tie up all window blind, drapery and electrical cords
  • Place purses, backpacks and briefcases out of reach
  • Cover all electrical outlets with outlet covers
  • Put safety gates at the top and bottom of every stairwell
  • Look for age-appropriate toys without small parts that can pose a choking hazard
  • Keep plastic bags out of reach; remove drycleaner plastic before hanging clothes in the closet
  • Install child-proof locks and latches to all cabinets and drawers that contain cleaners, medications, alcohol, etc.
  • Never leave your child alone near any container of water including pools, bathtubs, pails and open toilets; consider installing locking toilet latches 


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