Accidents are the leading cause of death for children. Most of these deaths could easily be prevented and it is therefore very important to keep your child's safety in mind at all times. Here are some tips to keep your toddler safe:
- According to the latest car seat guidelines, once they are two years old (or, regardless of age, have outgrown their rear-facing car seat) children should sit in a forward-facing car seat with harness straps as long as possible and until they reach the weight and height limits of their car seat before moving to a booster seat. Keep in mind that many convertible car seats and combination car seats have forward-facing weight limits of 65 to 80 pounds when used with harness straps.
- Make sure his crib is safe: have no more than 2 3/8 inches between the bars; the mattress should be firm and fit snuggly within the crib; place it away from windows and drafts; avoid placing fluffy blankets, stuffed animals, or pillows in the crib as they can cause smothering.
- Make sure that used or hand-me-down equipment, such as car seats, strollers and cribs, etc, haven't been recalled for safety reasons. Call the manufacturer or the Consumer Product Safety Commission for an up to date list of recalled products.
- To prevent choking, never leave small objects or plastic bags in your child's reach.
- Correctly use a harness when he is seated in a high chair.
- Avoid exposing your child to too much sun (use sunscreen).
- Prevent falls by not leaving your baby alone on a bed or changing table.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and use flame retardant sleepware.
- Practice food safety: wash fruits and vegetables, do not eat undercooked meats or poultry or drink unpasteurized milk or juices.
- If you must have a gun in the house keep it and the bullets in a separate locked place.
- Practice water safety: teach your child to swim, do not let your child play around any water (lake, pool, ocean, etc.) without adult supervision (even if he is a good swimmer), always wear a life preserver or safety vest when on a boat, and childproof the pool by enclosing it in a fence with a self-closing, self-latching door.
- Be cautious of certain dog breeds (Rottweilers, pit bulls, German Shepards) that account for over fifty percent of fatal dog bites and closely supervise children when in the presence of animals.
- Clean his teeth with a pea-sized amount of a fluoride toothpaste (to prevent fluorosis) until he learns to spit out the toothpaste.
- Limit television and encourage reading and storytelling.
- Child Proof the House (Set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees F, use gates on stairs, covers on electrical outlets and latches on cabinets, keep household cleaners, chemicals and medicines completely out of reach and always store them in their original container and know the Poison Control Center number (1-800-222-1222), do not carry hot liquids or food near your child and do not allow your child near stoves, heaters or other hot appliances (especially curling irons), and when cooking, use the back burners and turn pot handles inward, to prevent drowning, empty all water from bathtubs and pails, keep the door to the bathroom closed and never leave your child alone near any container of water, keep a list of emergency numbers near the phone, and lock rooms that are not child proof).
For more information on your infant's safety