September is Baby Safety Month, so the Injury Prevention Department here at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC wants to remind all parents and caregivers to take this time to create safe environments for their new babies.
Babies less than one have a higher rate of unintentional injury-related deaths than older children. Suffocation, motor vehicle occupant injury, drowning, residential fire or burn injury, falls and poisoning are leading causes of unintentional injury death for infants.
5 tips for new parents during Baby Safety Month:
- Create a safe sleep environment. Because most infant suffocation occurs in the sleeping environment, babies should always sleep in a safe crib, bassinet or pack-n-play. Lay your babies on their back for every sleep. A firm mattress covered with a tight-fitting crib sheet is all you need to make your baby sleep like a baby.
- Don’t carry or hold a child while cooking on the stove. Instead, move a high chair in the kitchen within reach or sight before you start. And if you’re using a microwave, remember that sometimes they can heat food unevenly and create hot spots, so avoid using them to heat baby formula or milk.
- Never leave your child unattended around water. We know it sounds strict, but there is no room for compromise on this one. Babies can drown in as little as one inch of water. Empty all tubs, buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of reach.
- Keep your baby in a rear-facing child safety seat. For the best possible protection, keep your infant in a rear-facing child safety seat in a back seat for as long as possible – PA law now says age 2, and best practice is until age 2 or to the maximum height or weight limit of the particular seat.
- Put medicines up and away and out of sight. Make sure that all medicines, including vitamins, are stored out of reach and out of sight of children. Put the toll-free number for the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) into your home and cell phones. Don’t forget to post it near your phone or on your refrigerator for the babysitter. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but it’s nice to have just in case.
Baby Safety Month is an annual observance in September led by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. To learn more, visit www.jpma.org.
For more information on safety initiatives at Children’s, visit www.chp.edu/injury-prevention.