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Child safety

Here are some simple safety tips to help make sure you and baby will have a happy and healthy life.

  • You should always put your baby in a car seat when bringing her home from the hospital and anytime she's with you in the car. Car seats lower the chances of an injury in an accident by over 80 percent. Check with your doctor, hospital, clinic or baby stores, about buying one. Be sure the seat is approved for newborn babies.
  • As your child grows, get a child-sized carseat - there are reasonably priced models available that can last for several years. It is unsafe to drive with a child of any age in the car if they are not at least strapped in with a seatbelt. Do not use a 3-point seatbelt for small children as the top belt cuts into their necks. Rather use a lap belt or put the top belt or a 3-point behind your child with the bottom section across their lap.
  • Never place your baby on a waterbed, couch, or soft mattress. Be very careful when sleeping in the same bed with an infant. Suffocation is the cause of most deaths in the home for children 0 to 4 years.
  • Set your hot water thermostat for 49° C. A baby's bathwater should be 38° C. Always check bathwater temperature with your wrist or elbow before bathing a baby. Don't let children go into a whirlpool, Jacuzzi, or hot tub. Their bodies are more sensitive to hot water.
  • Never leave a child unsupervised in the bathtub. If you have to leave the room for any reason, wrap the child in a towel and take her with you.
  • Keep toys with long strings, cords, loops, or ribbons away from infants and young children. A cord can get wrapped around a baby's neck and cause strangulation. Dummies should never be attached to strings or ribbons around the baby's neck.
  • Use child safety gates at the top and bottom of all staircases and be sure they're installed correctly. Avoid safety gates with large openings that children could fit their heads through.
  • Choking is a common cause of unintentional death in children under the age of 1. Avoid foods that could get stuck in a child's throat like popcorn, grapes, raisins, nuts, hard sweets, raw vegetables, small pieces of sausage, and foods with pips.
  • Keep all electrical cords and wires out of the way so toddlers can't pull, trip, or chew on them. Cover wall outlets with safety caps.
  • Make sure floors, tables, and cabinets don't have any small objects lying about that could be swallowed, like coins, rings, nails, drawing pins or deflated balloons.
  • Put childproof locks on cabinets near the floor. Lock up dangerous cleaning products and kitchen tools, like knives, in high cabinets.
  • Don't smoke, use matches, or drink hot beverages while holding an infant. Don't leave burning cigarettes unattended.
  • Remember that stoves, radiators, space heaters, fireplaces, and hot water taps aren't always hot. Children can touch them when they're cool then get a very bad burn the next time.
  • Make sure to put soft pads or cushions on sharp table or chair corners. If you can, get tables with rounded, smooth edges.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your home in a safe, convenient spot.
  • Post emergency numbers next to your phone or put them on your speed dial. This could include 10111, your pediatrician, the poison control center, and work numbers for you or other caregivers.
  • Make sure your home is lead-free.
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