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Child Safety

A vast majority of infants die within the first year due to avoidable accidents and injuries.

Never shake your baby.
It’s normal to feel frustration, or even anger, when you can’t understand why your baby is crying or won’t sleep. Shaking a baby, however, is never the right way to handle these emotions. Many babies die or suffer severe and lifelong disabilities from damage caused by shaking, even when the shaking lasts just a few seconds.

Learn positive techniques to calm a crying baby. First, check the usual suspects: Babies cry when they are hungry, thirsty, feel pain, are too hot or too cold, are feeling sick or have a dirty diaper. If meeting all of those needs hasn’t soothed your baby, try other techniques such as rocking the baby, singing or talking to the baby in a gentle, soothing voice, rubbing or stroking the baby’s back, tummy and chest, swaddling the baby in a soft blanket, taking baby for a ride in the car (in a car seat) or stroller or turning on soft music.

If nothing seems to work, it’s OK to take a few moments to calm yourself. Place the baby in a safe place, such as in a crib or infant seat, leave the room and take a few deep breaths. Call a friend or family member to assist you if possible. Remember that it’s normal and healthy for babies to cry up to five hours each day.

Baby-proof your home.
Many infant deaths and injuries can be avoided with just a few modifications around the home. Long before your baby begins to crawl (around 6 months), go through your home room-by-room to identify potential hazards.

  • Secure stairways at the top and bottom to prevent falls.
  • Lock windows or place guards on them to prevent falls.
  • Cover electrical outlets to prevent accidental electrocution.
  • Keep window blind cords out of reach to prevent strangulation.
  • Lock cabinets and drawers that contain dangerous items.
  • Close gaps between bannister slats to prevent a child from getting stuck or falling through.
  • Secure furniture and electronics to avoid tripping or falling onto the child.
  • Use toilet locks to prevent accidental drowning and keep buckets and bathtubs free of water unless the child is being directly supervised.
  • Set your water heater to a maximum temperature of 120 degrees to prevent burns.
  • Use corner cushions to protect children from sharp corners on tables, fireplaces, etc.
  • Move plants out of reach to prevent a child from attempting to eat them.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home.
  • Use age-appropriate toys without small parts that present a choking hazard.

Secure the car.

  • Always use a federally approved car seat when riding in a car
  • Check with your local hospital or child safety center to ensure your car seat is installed correctly.
  • Never hold your baby in your lap when driving or riding in a car.
  • Never put your baby in the front seat of the car, even in a car seat.
  • Never leave a baby in a car alone, even for moment. Hot cars can kill infants in just a matter of minutes.

Prenatal Care

Having a healthy baby takes planning. Going to early and regular prenatal care visits is critical for you and your baby’s health.

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