Safe at Home

Basic precautions to keep your baby safe from harm

As the new year begins, what could be more important than making sure your precious baby or toddler has a safe and happy year?

The nonprofit Home Safety Council has some suggestions for parents and grandparents who want to avoid the emergency room in 2012:

  • Check the height and weight limits on your child’s car safety seat. Learn when toddlers should transition to a forward-facing seat or when its safe to move a toddler from a five-point harness seat to a booster seat. Check safercar.gov for more details.
  • Check your smoke alarms. You should have them in each bedroom. If you havent replaced batteries in a year, change them even if they work, then replace them each time you reset your clocks to daylight saving or standard time.
  • Check your water heater temperature. A hot water spigot can deliver a nasty scald if your water is too hot. It should be set at no hotter than 120 degrees to prevent burns.
  • Put non-skid pads under all of your rugs and runners. New walkers love to run, and slipping on a hardwood or tile floor can produce falls, bruises and broken bones.
  • Secure your medications, cleaners and other dangerous substances.If you don’t have cabinet space up high to store bleach, medicine and ant spray, then lock the cabinets with slider locks that kids can’t open.
  • Secure window blind cords so that children can’t get them around their necks. Tie them off so they’re out of reach.
  • Never leave children alone in the bath or in the kitchen. Drowning can occur in seconds, and curious kids can injure themselves with knives or other cooking tools.

Find many more safety suggestions at homesafetycouncil.org.

3 Simple Ways to Make Baby’s Diet Safer

Avoid BPA. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in plastics that mimics estrogen and can disrupt normal hormonal systems. Canada and Europe have banned its use in baby products, and while many companies in the U.S. have voluntarily stopped using it, it’s still in some baby bottles, sippy cups and food storage containers. Learn more at hhs.gov/safety/bpa.

Dont feed honey to kids under 1. Honey often contains spores of botulinum, one of the most toxic substances in the world. Older children have good bacteria that eliminate botulinum,but infants don’t. Never give honey to a child less than 1-year-old.

Introduce potential allergens cautiously. According to Dr. Bill Sears, eight foods cause the most allergic reactions in kids: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts or almonds), wheat, soy, shellfish and fish. Introduce one at a time to your child’s diet and watch for an allergic reaction like hives, flushed skin, vomiting or breathing problems.