Did you know that September is National Baby Safety Month? Of course, you should focus on safety all year round, but September is set aside to bring awareness to this very important issue. What the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) started as a day in September in 1983 turned into a week in 1986 and then finally a month in 1991. It has been going strong ever since shedding light on a variety of issues that we face nationwide. This year, the theme is Making Baby Safer, Room By Room!
It is paramount you prepare your home prior to bringing any child into your care. Even though thorough home inspections are conducted by your child welfare agency, there are additional steps that are necessary to ensure that when a child comes into your home he will be protected and safe in every way. This blog provides a breakdown with help from JPMA and Baby Home Safety of the preparations needed for each room in your home in hopes of preventing possible accidents.
So, how do you best protect a baby? Well first, think like a little one! JPMA recommends you get down on your hands and knees and dive into a world where babies rule. This way, you will gain a perspective of what a child sees and what may be appealing to him. It’s recommended that both mom and dad do this if possible. In doing so, it can give different perspectives due to the differences in how males and females perceive the world around them.
Babies love to explore. It isn’t out of the ordinary to see a baby attempting to put something in his mouth or reaching for an object to see what it’s all about. When the house is protected it will guard against the baby’s curiosity and avoid what can seem to be harmless rooms from turning into danger zones.
Baby Safety Month – Nursery
Imagining a newborn in his room with the nursery music playing softly as the baby coos can definitely bring excitement to a new foster parent. It’s recommended to get your nursery baby-ready before your bundle of joy arrives. Experts recommend that you do not purchase an older crib, because it may be missing important parts. Make sure the crib is installed properly and that the mattress fits the crib frame perfectly. Use a crib sheet that fits on the mattress securely and keep the crib out of the reach of mini-blind and drapery cords to avoid any possible chances of strangulation. You should also cover all electrical outlets and keep all cords out of the baby’s reach. Keep any baby monitors or mobiles out of his reach as well. These can be very appealing since they are decorative and it may prompt him to grab them, thus presenting another choking hazard. When changing him on the changing table, use guardrails, a protective strap and a no-skid runner to prevent the pad from sliding. Also, never leave the baby alone on the changing table. He can unfortunately roll over and fall in that quick moment. It’s important to remain very attentive.
Baby Safety Month – Kitchen
It’s a place of nourishment and great joy, but the kitchen can be a nightmare if not properly safeguarded. Make sure you install safety latches that are of good quality on the drawers and cabinets that a baby can reach, and keep all hazardous material locked in those drawers and cabinets (sharp utensils, cleaning products, etc.). Do not allow cords from appliances to hang from the countertop. It is easy for a child to pull the cord and cause a heavy appliance to fall on him. To stop the baby from tipping over, keep his high chair far enough from the table or the countertop. This will stop him from pushing his chair, which can trigger a tip-over. Avoid using tablecloths because your baby can grab them and pull whatever is on the table down on him. If you have a pet, make sure you put the pet’s bowls where your child cannot have access to them.
Baby Safety Month – Bathrooms
It’s a time to get squeaky clean with rubber duckies floating and bubbly fun. To make sure it stays that way, follow these quick tips. Do not leave your child unattended while he is taking a bath. It is helpful if you keep one hand on him while he’s bathing. If you feel as though you need to leave the room, wrap him up in a towel and bring him with you. Also, never leave water in the tub or the sink. It doesn’t take a lot of water for your child to drown. Keep any and all electrical appliances out of reach of your child. As you know, water and electrical appliances do not mix.
Baby Safety Month – Other Bedrooms
Your child in his explorative state may venture into either his sibling’s or your room. You should follow the same safety procedures as in the rest of your home. Make sure there is nothing dangerous on the floors. Get rid of all things that can be hazardous to the child in nightstands where he can reach. If you must keep firearms in your home, make sure you unload, dismantle, secure with a trigger lock and lock it in a gun safe where children have no access.
Baby Safety Month – Family Room
There is nothing like spending cherished time in the family room. Whether you are all together watching movies, sitting by the fireplace or playing family games, safety for the baby is first. Remove all choking hazards from low shelves and install padded shields on the tables to protect children if they fall. If you have a fireplace, move logs, matches and any hazardous material out of the reach of your baby.
Baby Safety Month – Pool Safety
Unfortunately, drowning is a major cause of death for children. If you have a pool in your home, you must ensure your child is fully protected. Never leave the child alone in a pool. There must be adult supervision at all times. Install a fence around the pool that is tall enough (at least four feet) with self-latching and closing gates. This will prevent your baby from gaining access to the pool without the proper supervision. It is important to note that safety outside is just as vital as the safety within your home.
Baby Safety Month – Always Be Prepared
You want to be fully educated and equipped to address any danger. Ideally, preventing hazards from happening in the first place is most desired. Within your home, make sure you have fire extinguishers and smoke detectors on each floor. The smoke detectors should be tested on a regular basis, and you must know how to properly use your fire extinguisher. As your child in care gets older, continually teach him the importance of safety and what to do should an emergency situation present itself.
Baby Safety Month – embrella Can Help
These are just a few of many tips to use when protecting your child in care. embrella has courses that emphasize the importance of safety for your child. These courses are free for licensed resource parents in New Jersey and can be accessed here.
Remember, you can never do too much to make sure your child in care is safe.
Salendria Mabrey is a Communication and Development Associate at Foster and Adoptive Family Services.