Protecting Babies - Simple Steps to Avoid a Tragedy
By Jamie Lober / August, 2011
September is National Baby Safety Month. By child-proofing your home and understanding some common potential problems, you may be able to prevent them.
Knowing what to do in certain situations is key. Terri Brevda, nurse and peri-natal health educator at Memorial Regional Hospital, cites an example, "We had a poison control representative from Miami talk about choking and one of the moms in our early parenting support group was able to save her baby's life when her baby got into pre-natal vitamins because she called poison control."
Share these tips with friends and neighbors. Fewer accidents will occur.
Drowning is a huge issue for the youngest among us in Florida. Be cautious of babies and toddlers near pools, canals, lakes and even toilets. Brevda said, "In twenty-seven out of twenty-nine drowning events in Florida, adults were present, so we all think everybody else is watching. You have to buy safety locks for toilet seats and even those buckets that sit in the yard, because it may rain and curious toddlers look in there, bend over and cannot look up because their heads are too heavy.
An adult holding a whistle should be responsible for the line of sight on children."
A few toys stand out as problematic. "Go to the web site of the Consumer Product Safety Commission because toys are being recalled all the time," said Brevda. "We tell parents to be mindful of toys from China and the little books with disc batteries in them because babies can get them out with their teeth, which causes a horror."
Safety gates can be helpful to keep your baby in your line of sight. The stove can also be troublesome, so you may want to invest in stove guards to prevent your toddler's hands from getting burned. "Install outlet covers, do not leave your child in the bathtub by himself and have smoke detectors in your home," said Dr. Sara Levine, a pediatrician with West Boca Medical Center. "There are restrictive valves on faucets that restrict how hot the water is coming out, so you can have one in the bathtub or on your hot water heater to make sure it is in a safe range."
HOT FLORIDA CAR
Another challenge for parents in Florida is remembering that their children are in their cars. Too often we hear of tragedies when an overworked mother or father forgets about a sleeping baby in the back seat and goes to run an errand with the car locked and the windows rolled up. A baby's death can occur.
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR INFANT
The changing table is one dangerous place that is under-appreciated as a cause for trouble. "Babies can fall off flat surfaces, so they need to be kept in a position where either they cannot roll off or they are in someone's arms," said Levine. "Unintentional injury is one of the leading causes of death in children under fourteen."
Be in tune with what your child is seeing, touching and tasting. Even a paper clip could be a choking hazard. Levine said, "Make sure all toxic products are kept in a place that is out of reach, as you need to look at the world from the angle if you are sitting on the floor and you are two feet tall."
BE ATTENTIVE TO HOW YOUR BABY IS CARRIED
Hips and baby slings are preferred. Brevda said, "We see a lot of plagiocephaly, which is a flat head, and the problem is that the car seats come with the base in the back of the car that pops in the stroller and parents carry the babies using this improperly."
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