Baby Safety is always top of mind for parents and too often they either do not have the awareness or become immune to advice in the face of conflicting information.
In this section I will try and summarize the basics that I have gleaned from multiple sources and tested in order to verify the truth of these warnings.
Before your baby starts crawling you need to make sure you either take care of everything that has the potential to cause a mishap or you should make sure that the baby is enclosed within well defined play areas. I will speak to both these strategies. But before we dive deep let us also summarize a list of commonly available products that are not good for your baby. I have spoken about these in other sections but it bears re-iteration.
1. Drop Side Cribs – Most producers have stopped producing drop side cribs where one of the sides can drop down a little bit to facilitate the lifting of babies from the cribs. However there are a few still in circulation and if you are even considering using these – please stop. A.s a simple steps look for cribs made after June 2011 when a lot of safety standards came into play
2. Bumpers – I have to confess I did use these and was horrified when I saw that these were not recommended. One of my kids had a tendency to move suddenly all over his crib and occasionally would wake up when he hit his head on the rails of the crib. I bought some which could be tied inside his crib and would provide some protection against these kinds of impacts. There is a real risk of strangulation or suffocation from these – so please avoid. Use one-piece sleepers to prevent excessive movement and if the child doesnt like these restraints, just put up with having to wake up a little more often for a few months.
3. Positioners – These sleep petitioners are used by well meaning parents to prevent the baby from rolling onto her stomach and prevent sids. Also some are used as wedges for colicky babies to prevent acid reflux. However these positioners are not worth the risk that you are incurring of suffocation. Both the AAP and the Food and Drug Administration advise parents not to use them.
4. Blankets, Quilts, Pillows – Avoid these with small babies who can get tangled in the sheets or suffocated under heavy quilts or pillows.
5. Crib tents – There will come a stage when your toddler starts threatening to climb out of his bed. You may be tempted to use a crib tent as a deterrent. But with young toddlers these can become more and mroe dangerous. Not only can the kids get wrapped up in the fabric and strangle, they can also poke at these and extract small pieces like zippers etc.
6. Baby Walkers – I have explained in earlier section why walkers are not recommended. Some countries have banned these but they are still available in the US. Giving a young baby access to enhanced movements through a device like this may not be a great idea, and there have been umpteen cases of babies falling down stairs and injuring themselves. It can also play havoc with the baby’s natural development cycle.
7. Baby seats like Bumbo – Another one of those equipments used by well meaning parents who want to help the baby along the developmental path with some outside help. Not only can kids fall out and injure themselves, the forcible sitting puts pressure on their spine which can be very harmful.
8. Infant Bath Seats – Similar to bumbos these are seats that enable a baby to sit while being given a bath. These can tip over and drown the baby. The problems outlined in case of bumbo and its impact on the spine are valid for this one as well. . Bath seats have been tied to 174 infant deaths in the past 16 years, according to the CPSC.
9. Doorway jumpers – These are cheap and popular as it entertains the baby giving it access to exaggerated movements that may not be available. But these promote standing on tiptoe and allow the baby to move in an uncontrolled fashion which goes against the principle of cause and effect and not facilitate normal development. Pretty useless toy primarily for parents entertainment more than baby’s. In addition there is the possibility that the straps and clamps may break and fall on the baby, and also that the babies may jump uncontrollably and bump their heads somewhere.
10. Ear thermometers – Avoid ear thermometers for babies as they are unreliable and doctors advise parents to use rectal thermometers instead.
11. Baby slings – The problem is not as much with the product as it is the possibility that most parents are not conversant with the right way to use it. Your baby may have her face pressed against your body and this can cause suffocation. Use slings only for older babies or make sure that the baby’s head is elevated.
12. Baby co-sleepers – Although many studies say co-sleeping is a risky practice, plenty of products called “baby co-sleepers” — boxes or beds you place on your bed — claim to make this practice safer. “But many actually pose additional risks,” says Coles. For one, the padding in these containers could suffocate baby, or the sides may be so low or flimsy parents could still roll on top of their infant. That’s why Coles and other safety experts say these are best to be avoided.
13. Car seat accessories – We get into this habit of attaching toys with every contaption whether it be their gym or crib or bassinet, and sooner or later we also find some toys that can attach to the car seat.
But car seat experts forbid from using any toys in a car seat where you cannot directly see what they are doing and cannot intervene if something is wrong. In addition there is the fact that when car seat manufacturers crash test their seats they do not account for the presence of toys and cannot guarantee the safety of the child who is in contact with these items.
14. Jogging strollers – As I mention in my section on jogging strollers, I am in favor of using jogging strollers as general purpose because they have far better shock absorption capabilities to protect the baby in different terrains. However, I would not do any hard core jogging with them in the strollers till they are a year old – i would not want them subject to the jostling and the possibility of being tipped forward.
15. Warm mist humidifiers – When it gets cold and you are trying to maintain an optimal temperature for the baby, warm mist humidifiers can seem a cosier option than cool mist ones but it is highly recommended that you use only the cool mist humidifiers. Warm mist humidifiers can cause burn risk to children moving around, and in addition they are also breeding ground for germs.