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8 top tips for keeping babies safe and healthy

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Winter Park, Fla. (September 4, 2013) - In honor of Baby Safety Awareness Month, Children’s Home Society of Florida reminds parents the importance of providing a safe environment for their babies. Children's Home Society of Florida provides services throughout the state to families to help their children reach their full potential.  Below are top tips to guide parents in safely caring for their babies.

1.) Provide your baby with a safe sleep environment. 1,2

Babies sleep a lot (10 – 18 hours per day), which makes safe sleeping a top priority. Always position your baby on his back as you place him in a crib/bassinet/Pack ‘n Play with a firm mattress, and never on a couch, chair, waterbed or any other kind of soft bedding. This position helps reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and can prevent suffocation, which is the leading cause of injury-related death for infants under one year of age in Florida. 

Never co-sleep with your baby. If you want to be close to your baby at night, share the room with the baby by placing his crib next to your bed. 

2.) Safely calm your crying baby. 3 

When your baby cries, he’s expressing a need. He may be hungry, wet, bored, uncomfortable in his clothing, too hot or too cold.

To soothe your baby, offer a pacifier. Hold your baby against your chest and massage, walk or rock your baby. This helps your baby feel cared for and secure. Sing, hum or talk to your baby in a soothing voice. Take your baby for a walk in a stroller or for a ride in the car seat. If your baby is not in pain, it’s OK to place him in a safe place (such as his crib) and let him cry. Check on him every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure he is safe. 

Never shake your baby. If you’re frustrated with continued crying, put your baby safely in the crib and take 10 minutes to relax.  If you need a longer break, call a trusted friend, relative or neighbor and ask for help to watch the baby.

3.) Provide a safe ride for your baby. 1

Use a rear-facing car seat in a back seat of your car until your baby is at least 1 year old and 20 lbs.  Never put your baby in the front seat of a car with a passenger air bag. Before placing your baby in a car seat, check to see that your baby’s car safety seat is installed correctly and read directions on how to install the car safety seat correctly. Always place your baby in a car safety seat every time he is in the car.

4.) Prevent fall injuries. 1,4

When your baby begins to crawl or walk, preventing falls requires constant supervision. Since most infant falls are from furniture, stairs or baby walkers, cover sharp furniture corners with padding, use safety gates to block access to stairs and avoid using mobile baby walkers. Never leave your baby unattended.

5.) Prevent burns. 1,5

Your baby’s skin is sensitive and can burn more quickly than an adult’s. Always check bath water temperature with your wrist or elbow before putting your baby in the water. The water from your faucet should be no hotter than 120 F.

When preparing bottles, it’s OK to warm them in warm water. Test them before feeding your baby. Do not warm formula or milk in a microwave. Microwaves can heat unevenly and create hot spots.

As your baby gets older, she’ll begin waving her fists and grabbing at objects. Never carry your baby when you are holding hot liquids, such as coffee. 

6.) Prevent choking. 1

Babies explore objects by putting them in their mouths.  Never leave small objects within reach of your baby. When feeding your baby, never give hard pieces of food such as chunks of raw carrots, apples, hot dogs, grapes, peanuts or popcorn. Cut food into thin pieces to prevent choking. If possible, learn infant CPR and the Heimlich maneuver in case of an emergency.

7.) Keep your baby safe in water.  1,6

When bathing your baby, never, even for a moment, leave your child alone or under sibling supervision in the bathtub. Babies can drown in as little as 1 inch of water.  Also, face your baby away from the faucet so he won’t try to turn it on.

8.) Track your baby’s developmental growth. 7

Key developmental milestones can indicate whether or not your baby is hitting age-appropriate development benchmarks.  Ask your pediatrician for a timeline of developmental milestones. If you are concerned about your baby’s development, consult your pediatrician.


Sources:
1 Safe Kids Worldwide Baby Safety Basics
2 The Ounce Prevention Fund of Florida: Safe Infant Sleep
3 Florida Department of Children and Families: Family Development: A Caregivers Guide
4 The Ounce Prevention Fund of Florida: Injury Prevention - Falls
5 The Ounce Prevention Fund of Florida: Injury Prevention - Burns
6 The Ounce Prevention Fund of Florida: Injury Prevention - Drownings
7 Center for Disease and Control Prevention: Positive Parenting Tips for Healthy Child Development

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