We all want to keep our children safe. It is one of the most important parts of being a parent. Falmouth Pediatrics Associates are your partners in safety.
For a good overview of child safety, go here
There are many more things you can do, but this list is a good start. Be safe!
Here is a list of safety topics worth looking into:
Safe Infant Sleep
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is the leading cause of death for children under a year. Safe sleep is very important.
Safe sleep for a baby means :
1. Sleeping on the back, on a flat surface, with nothing to choke on nearby.
2. The back is safer than the side or the stomach, even for spitty babies.
3. No blankets, bumper pads or stuffed toys. If it is cold, consider a second sleeper, but keep the temperature at 72 deg F or lower.
4. Babies should not “co-sleep” with parents.
5. Using a pacifier in the first 6 months and having a smoke-free helps prevent SIDS, too.
There are several things that you can do to prevent burns.
1. Keep pot handles turned onto the stove.
2. Avoid holding the baby while holding a hot drink.
3. Keep hot water taps below 120 deg. F (if you can burn your hand, its too hot
4. Keep your home smoke-free, and especially never smoke in bed.
5. Change smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector batteries every 6 months.
6. Have an escape ladder if you live on a second floor. For older kids, choose an outdoor meeting spot if you ever have to escape the house.
Kids see all the little things on the floor that we miss. They also are curious and fast!
Always be careful with small objects.
If you have older children with little toys, keep them in a room away from little ones.
Child Car Safety
The three basic car seat types are infant, older child ‘5-point harness’ (convertible or forward facing) and booster seat.
Remember to use the correct seat for your child as follows:
1. Keep your child REAR facing until at least age 2 years. Some people find their child’s legs are bunched up, but that is OK.
2. Switch to the next size seat according to the height or weight guide for your seat.
3. Stay in a 5 point seat (shoulder, shoulder, hip, hip, chest) as long as possible. Most people want to move to a booster seat too soon.
4. Massachusetts law says a child must stay in a booster seat until age 8 years or a weight of 80 lbs, but the best safety practice is until a height of 4 ft. 9 in.
5. Children should not sit in the front seat until age 13 yrs.
For more information, go to Ultimate Car Seat Guide
Driving is a right of passage for teenagers, just as it is a source of worry for parents. There are several ways to reduce your teen driver’s risk. Here is a list.
1. Wait until your teen is emotionally ready before embarking on driving. Some teens are not ready at 16 and need to wait a year or two.
2. Practice a lot. Although most states require 40 to 50 hours of learners permit driving time, 200 or 300 hours is better. Driving with a parent is very safe (although not that fun for either!) and should continue even after a teen is licensed. There is a lot still to learn after getting a license.
3. Follow the Graduated Driver’s License rules. These have been shown to save lives. Here is a link to the rules in Massachusetts.
4. Always wear a seatbelt.
5. Turn off the phone while driving.
6. Stay sober.
7. Follow the speed limit and slow down in slippery conditions or reduced visibility.
8. Get enough sleep and do not drive tired.
9. Set up a contract with your teen.
Bicycling and skateboarding are great ways to get around, but it is important to avoid injury. Everyone should wear a helmet- for parents this is good role modeling and also keeps you safe. (Remember- your kids need you healthy!)
Kids eventually will ride without you there. Teach them the rules of the road, but also teach them not to trust drivers!
Once a child is on the move, there are many dangers that he or she can find. This includes chemicals, detergents, poisons and medications. Medicines need to be locked out of a child’s reach. All poisonous and caustics need to be stored safely. There should be nothing dangerous below a sink. Childproof locks slow a child down but are not enough. New dishwasher and washing machine “pods” require special attention- they are very caustic if swallowed and look like candy. Stay away from these!
Direct supervision is the order of the day for all child safety, but especially when it comes to water. A child can drown in 2 inches of water. Never, ever leave a child alone in a tub, pool or other water. When teens swim without parents they should always have a buddy. Teach them not to dive in shallow water. When boating, everyone should wear a life jacket. Remember, the water does not care how old you are.
Many a child has surprised a parent with a first roll off a table or bed. Don’t let it happen to you!
1. Always be next to babies on a raised surface.
2. Avoid putting car seats on tables- keep them in the car or on the floor.
3. Do not use an infant walker. These are can easily lead to crashes or falls.
4. Put gates at the top and bottom of all stairs. If there is a door at the top of a staircase, use a “hook and eye” up high to keep it locked.