As you care for your little one, you should be mindful of everyday items in your home that can risk their safety. Just because an item was made for babies does not mean it is entirely safe. Cribs and strollers can still be a safety risk to your baby. However, this means if you use them, use them safely.
Your baby’s stroller can be a significant risk to their safety. A Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report estimates 13,400 reported cases of stroller-related injuries that required a visit to the emergency room. Many of these injuries were caused by a fall or strangulation (two injuries every hour). An average of two children die yearly from stroller-related accidents. Many stroller-related injuries or deaths occur when infants are left to sleep while the stroller’s back is in the recline position.
While strollers can provide a safety risk, you can take measures to ensure your baby is safe while using one. Make sure to read any instruction manuals included. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s assembly instructions. Follow manufacturer use and care instructions as well. Do not overload the stroller because this can cause it to collapse or tip over. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on adequately restraining your child with straps. Close the leg openings while using the stroller in the reclined position.
When selecting a stroller, make sure you are also aware of what strollers have been recalled by the CPSC. If you have a recalled stroller, contact its manufacturer immediately. You should also contact the CPSC through their website at (800) 638-2772.
- Report of 2023 stroller death
Cribs are responsible for more deaths than any other nursery-related product. Within two decades, an estimated 1,100 infant deaths were attributed to crib-related injuries. Crib-related injuries are responsible for over 12,000 visits to the emergency room every year. These deaths have been attributed to the crib’s drop-side and mattress support, which may create significant gaps for an arm or head to fit. This increases the risk of suffocation. Cribs slats and side rail gaps can also entrap your baby as well.
You can ensure that your baby’s crib is safe to use. When looking for a crib, the best thing you can do is find one manufactured after June 28, 2011. Any crib manufactured after that date had to adhere to stricter federal safety standards that were implemented. Make sure that a soda can is unable to fit in its slats. The cribs’ screws and bolts must not be loose or missing. Ensure that all the bolts, knobs, and wing nuts are not also protruding. The mattress must also fit tightly in the crib as well.
Upon purchase of a crib, you must follow its instructions to ensure safety. Read directions for crib assembly, use, and care. Use a tight-fitting fitted sheet. Do not hang items above or on the crib with a ribbon or string.
3. Baby walker
Baby walkers can also be a severe hazard to your little one. According to Healthychildren.org, putting a baby in a walker is no benefit. In fact, many walker injuries happen while the baby is being supervised. Walkers accelerate your child’s movement, which can increase the injury risk.
Children in walkers can reach things generally within their reach, such as hot stovetops or pots of boiling water. This can also put them at risk of burns and scalds… and poisonous cleaning products or medications.
The conventional wisdom is do not to buy your child a walker; it is also unnecessary for aiding your child’s movement. These things are an injury risk and not worth the purchase.
4. Baby slings
Baby slings may cause death because of their shape. It can keep your baby curled up in a “C” shape, which can cause breathing difficulties. Children born prematurely, with a low birth weight, or with breathing problems are at a significantly higher risk of suffocating in a baby sling.
You can use a baby sling, but you must take measures to ensure your baby’s safety. As with any other product, always follow instructions. Follow the weight requirements for the baby’s sling. Make sure that your baby’s breathing is not obstructed. Ensure their face is not covered by either the sling or your body. If breastfeeding your baby while in the baby sling, change their position after feeding to ensure their head is facing up and clear of the sling and your body. Ensure your baby’s knees are bent, rather than their waist, while inside the sling. This allows them to be set securely inside. Always check your baby frequently while they are in the sling.
6. Baby powder
Baby powder, especially talc-based ones, can be risky, as your child can accidentally inhale its particles. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, baby powder may cause breathing difficulties and even lung damage. It can be difficult to keep baby powder out of the air.
Using baby powder for your child may not be the best idea. Even tiny amounts may irritate your baby’s lungs. This is especially true if they are at high risk for respiratory problems. Premature babies, babies with congenital heart disease, and babies with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) are all at high risk for respiratory problems. If your baby is not at high risk and you decide to use powder, use it sparingly. Apply the powder on your hands first while keeping a reasonable distance from your child. Never apply it directly on or near them.
6. Kiddie pools
According to ConumerHealthDay.com, kiddie pools can also be a drowning risk for your child. Even only a few inches of water levels are enough to drown your baby. Over ten percent of pool-related deaths happen in kiddie pools. It encompasses inflatable ones, plastic wading pools, and even above-ground ones. Portable pools are especially a drowning risk for children younger than 5.
You can prevent kiddie pool deaths by taking several measures. The most important thing is to never leave your child in or near a kiddie pool unsupervised. You must also be mindful of the pool’s water levels. Make sure that you have access to a phone in the event of an emergency. You should also carry a life preserver by the pool. Learning CPR can be beneficial as well. When your kiddie pool is not in use, drain it. Remove toys in the pool as well. Your child might be distracted by toys in the pool and may feel tempted to get in the water to retrieve them.
While you may not think bedding can be a hazard to your child, it poses a risk of severe injury or even death in infants. Thick blankets, quilts, and pillows can block an infant’s airway, which may result in suffocation. It can also increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS occurs when an otherwise healthy baby dies in their sleep, usually because they have stopped breathing. Another risk of cords, strings, and ribbons on bedding can pose a strangulation risk if they become wrapped around a baby’s neck. Finally, there are concerns that too much bedding, particularly heavy blankets or comforters, can cause a baby to overheat (associated with an increased risk of SIDS).
To reduce the risk of these dangers, it is recommended that parents follow safe sleep guidelines for infants. This includes placing babies on their backs to sleep on a firm, flat surface with no loose bedding, pillows, or soft toys in the sleeping area. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep in a separate crib or bassinet in the same room as their parents for at least the first six months of life.
8. Window blinds
Window blinds can also provide a serious injury risk to your child. According to a National Safety Council study, 17,000 children six or under visited the emergency room for window blind-related injuries between 1990 and 2015. Dangers can come from using inner, operating, and continuous loop cords, which can cause strangulation in younger children. Cords are a significant risk because children between 1 and 4 can reach them while not recognizing the danger of becoming entangled by one.
In 2018, the CPSC issued a new safety standard for window coverings to require that all stock products sold in the United States or manufactured domestically after December 15, 2018, must be cordless or have short, inaccessible cords. This new standard aims to prevent the tragic accidents that have resulted from children becoming entangled in window blind cords. This is great but many of us have blinds that are older than that. And the new standard does not eliminate all of the risk, nor does the new standard in 2022.
Never leave your child unsupervised around a window to prevent window blindness-related injuries and deaths. If you will be away from your child, even for a minute, ensure someone else is around to supervise them. Try to also replace your corded blinds with cordless blinds, blinds with inaccessible cords, or shutters and draperies.
9. Cotton Swabs
Cotton swabs are the most common method to clean your ears. However, doctors do not recommend putting them in your ear canal. According to a 2017 study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, over 250,000 children went to the emergency room in the U.S. alone between 1990 and 2010. Around two-thirds of these children were under eight. Cotton swabs-related injuries include ear canal and eardrum damage.
The swabs can push earwax deeper into the ear canal and cause impaction, injury to the eardrum, and even infection. In rare cases, using cotton swabs can also cause severe damage, including hearing loss and damage to the bones of the middle ear.
Avoid using cotton swabs when attempting to clean your child’s ears. Instead, you can use other alternatives. They include a plastic tool or even earwax drops. However, you should continue to use these products with care. If your child’s ear wax issues are severe enough, you should contact an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor who can remove your baby’s earwax safely and professionally.
10. Latex balloons
Latex balloons have become the leading cause of choking fatalities in children in the United States. According to a St. Louis Children’s Hospital study, 38 percent of toy-related choking deaths between 2001 and 2014 were attributed to latex balloons. Many of the incidents involved children under six, but older children should still be warned as well. These accidents involve children putting balloons in their mouths. Some children may accidentally swallow a balloon while attempting to inflate it. Uninflated balloons or pieces from a broken balloon are even more of a choking hazard. They are also bad for the environment.
To prevent your child from choking on a balloon, follow age-appropriate guidelines. Latex balloons are not recommended for children under eight. For children over eight, your child must have adult supervision. You must also discourage them from putting random items in their mouth in general.
11. Cleaning Supplies
These often contain harmful chemicals. Always keep detergents, bleach, and other cleaning agents in locked cabinets or out of reach. It is not hard to find child-resistant packaging. You should also consider using eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaners.
The biggest problem is the small button batteries found in remote controls and some toys. If ingested, they can cause serious internal burns or release harmful acids. Store spare batteries securely and check toys or devices to ensure battery compartments are secure.