Being a parent is a uniquely joyful experience. It can also be terrifying. Every day, news stories surface of children in danger — from unguarded pools to faulty car seats. Keep your children safe and healthy by recognizing the top five common dangers — and knowing how to prevent them.
1. Sleep safety
There are 3,500 sleep-related deaths among U.S. babies each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest four important practices for baby sleep safety:
- Babies should sleep on their back.
- Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib.
- Keep soft bedding, such as blankets, pillows, bumper pads and soft toys out of a baby’s sleep area.
- Do not share a bed with your baby.
Learn more at an upcoming Baby Sleep Strategies Class.
2. Car safety
Car crashes are the second leading cause of death for children under age 1. Help keep your child safe in a moving vehicle by pledging to put your phone down, and making sure your child’s car seat is properly installed. Always walk around your car to check for children before driving, and teach your kids the importance of steering clear of cars. Lastly, be aware of hot car risks. Never leave a child unattended in a car — even for a minute. Use reminders, such as keeping your phone in the back seat, to ensure your child won’t get left there unintentionally. And always keep your car locked so children cannot get inside on their own.
3. Water safety
It takes only seconds for a bath or pool to turn deadly. Inside the house, parents should never leave children unattended in the tub, and should restrict their access to bathrooms or laundry rooms. Outside the house, help prevent accidental drownings by properly fencing and locking any pools. Enroll kids in swim lessons as early as possible. And most importantly, always supervise children in a pool, even those who are trained.
4. Fire safety
Smoke and fire are leading causes of preventable death for children age 4 and under. Include burn prevention in your baby-proofing plan, focusing on heat sources like stoves, fireplaces and water heaters. Give your home regular safety tuneups, including outlet checks and air vent cleanings. Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms throughout your house, and change the batteries at least once a year. Lastly, take the time to create and practice a thorough home fire escape plan.
5. Choking prevention
Small children love to put things in their mouths. It’s how they learn. But bigger, firmer foods — or small objects like toys or coins — can pose a serious choking hazard. When it’s time to transition past puree to “real” food, cut pieces small and opt for more chewable options, like bananas. Make sure toys are age-appropriate, and do regular sweeps for small objects lurking around your home. Arm yourself with knowledge, and prep for a choking emergency by taking one of Sharp’s many infant and child CPR classes.