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Safety For Babies

  • Babies spend a lot of time in their cribs. The crib should have a label showing that its construction is safe and approved. Check that the slats are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart and that there is a tight fit where the mattress and the crib wall meet. Be sure the mechanism operating the side-drop has safety catches and is difficult for children to operate. A kick-and-lift mechanism is best because it requires operation that most children are unable to accomplish. The drop side should never go down lower than 9 inches above the mattress and the crib sides should be at least 26 inches above the mattress when raised.

  • Keep cribs away from windows that may have curtain or blind cords within reach.

  • Pillows and stuffed animals could be a hazard for very small babies. If their face is buried in the soft pillow or animal, they may be unable to get enough air.

  • Any furniture used for changing the baby should have a top rail at least 6 inches high and have doors instead of open shelves to keep supplies out of the way. Put safety latches on the doors to keep crawling babies from opening them.

  • Be sure furniture is sturdy and does not have small bits that can break off or be chewed off, such as wicker. Furniture should be secured so it cannot fall over when a child tries to crawl or climb on it.

  • Use baby gates to keep crawlers and toddlers from entering unsafe rooms or stairs. Mesh gates are safest and accordion gates should be avoided. A child can fall and catch its head in the V. Mesh gates should have a small mesh to prevent children tangling arms or legs in it. Gates held in place by pressure will work on a level surface but stair gates should fasten securely.

  • Playpens are great for allowing babies to play safely, but be sure the mesh is too fine to allow fingers or buttons to become entangled.

  • Never leave babies who can roll over or crawl with dropped sides on cribs or playpens. They can fall from cribs or climb into pockets created by the mesh of playpens.

  • Once children can climb, keep pillows and toys out of playpens that they might stand on.

  • Never tie toys or anything else with long cords. They can choke or strangle a baby.

  • Pacifiers are a great comfort to babies, but be sure that they meet safety standards. They should be strong enough not to come apart or break into small pieces. The mouth guard should be firm and large enough to prevent it from being drawn into the baby's mouth and should have ventilation holes in it. Never use a string or ribbon on a pacifier. Check the pacifier regularly for deterioration and replace it if it shows signs of tears, holes, or weakening texture.