Proactive baby safety tips for baby safety month

Sep 30, 2021
BY Partum Health Care TEam
Melissa Kalil
Proactive baby safety tips for baby safety month

September is baby safety month.  We know this is a big topic. There is a lot of information out there ranging from “never leave a baby alone” and “take a CPR class” to “don’t forget to anchor your bookshelves and dressers to the wall”.

It can feel like there is a lot to do to get your home (and car) ready to welcome a newborn which is why we recommend taking care of some of the preparation ahead of your baby’s arrival.  Checking a few of these items off your list will go a long way in alleviating your stress level after your baby arrives.  The last thing you want to do is worry about safety when you find yourself busy juggling round the clock feedings and limited sleep.  

That is why we narrowed down a short list of suggested safety items you can tackle before your due date to ready your newborn’s arrival.  For each item we’ve also compiled great outside resources to support your preparation.  

Bath Time Safety Tip:  Adjust hot water heater

Let’s talk about bathtime, a sweet and calming time of day for you and your baby.  The most important thing to remember is that your child should of course be supervised all the time whilst in the bath. But when it comes to scalding and burns babies are at higher risk than adults due to their sensitive skin.  A simple measure you can take ahead of time is to set your water temperature to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.   Here is a step by step on how to do this:

  1. First measure the hot water temperature. The best way to do this is to measure it in the morning, before anyone in your home has used any hot water. Turn on the hot water at the kitchen sink and let it run for 2 minutes.
  1. Using either an outdoor thermometer or a candy thermometer, hold the thermometer in the stream of the water until the reading stops going up. If your water-heater setting is at a safe level (between 120°F and 125°F, or 49°C to 52°C), you don't have to do anything. If it is over 125°F proceed to step 3.
  1. If your water temperature exceeds 125°F it is recommended that you adjust the water temperature setting on your hot water heater to between 120°F and 125°F.  To do this, locate your water heater and follow the instructions on your user manual to adjust the temperature. If you are unsure on how to adjust the temperature, it is recommended you consult with a professional.

Beyond setting the water temperature, there are tools that you can invest in to make bathtime safer including:  a bath mat to prevent slipping, a bath spout cover to prevent injuries from hitting the spout, a splash guard to prevent spills and slippery floor

We have rounded up a few of our favorite sites that have articles and resources for bathtime safety:

The AAP Parenting Website:  Bathing Your Baby

Baby Sparks: Bathtime Safety Tips

Parents:  Bathtime and Grooming

Infant CPR:  Tips for Making Bath Time Safe and Enjoyable

Car Seat Safety:  A child passenger safety technician can check car seat installation

When it comes to your precious cargo, the best way to keep them safe in the car is to use your right car seat in the right way.  Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the US.  When used properly car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury by as much as 71%, yet more than half of car seats are not installed correctly.  

In preparation for your baby’s arrival, a good time to install your car seat is at 35-37 weeks.  There are four major considerations to car seat installation and safety:  

  1. Buying the right car seat
  1. Installing the car seat
  1. Getting the right fit
  1. When to change the seat.

If you want to be extra safe, you can actually have your seat checked by a child passenger safety (CPS) technician. Certified CPS technicians in your area can be found  on the National Child Passenger Safety website or on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration directory. If you do decide to install your seat yourself, be sure to read both the manual for your vehicle and your car seat.  

For these sites cover travel and car seat safety in detail:

The Car Seat Mom

The Car Seat Lady

Safe Kids Worldwide

Sleep Safety:  Set up a safe sleep environment

Sleep safety is a huge topic and something that many parents to a newborn worry about. To make life easier, we’ve compiled a short checklist of items you can do ahead of time to ensure a safe sleep environment for your baby:  

  1. Make sure your crib or bassinet meets current safety standards and is not broken or missing parts
  1. Fit mattress with a tight-fitting sheet with nothing between mattress and sheet
  1. Make sure there are no pillows or stuffed animals in the crib
  1. Make sure all cords are at least three feet out of your child’s reach and adjusted as your child grows.  Remember that, while baby monitors are a useful tool to see and hear your baby, they are a strangulation hazard for infants and toddlers and should never be used as a substitute for parental supervision.  
  1. Make sure the room is not too hot
  1. It is recommended that the baby sleep in your room, not your bed.  Keep the crib or bassinet within arms reach of your bed.  
  1. Keep your home smoke free for as long as possible in advance of the baby’s birth

For more information, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Healthy Children is a great place to start for up to date information and guidelines.  

Keep in mind, all these tips are specifically steps that can be taken in the weeks leading up to the baby’s birth.  While we acknowledge these are a mere tip of the iceberg, and many other factors need to be taken into consideration once the baby arrives, it is helpful to take action now.  By crossing these off your list ahead of time you are helping to set yourself - and your baby - up for success and safety!

About the Author

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