My son fell off a step yesterday. He's been learning to step down and usually does fine if he takes his time, and if he can't do it, he climbs backwards or asks for help.
Yet, as is so often the case, the unexpected happened. He grabbed for a railing he thought was there. It wasn't. I wasn't close enough. He tumbled. The blessing was that he threw his hands forward and ended up doing a rougher-than-normal somersault and just ended up scaring himself. (And me!).
As is so often the case after a fright, I started to see our house and yard with new eyes. Where else might he accidentally take a spill? Bump his head? I started cutting up his food much smaller than normal. And holding his hand any time he attempted the stairs.
Since September is Baby Safety Month, take a moment to run through this checklist to ensure optimal baby safety!
Kitchen - It's easy to think that because we're right there, baby will be safe. But better safe than sorry! Use locks for at least the lower cabinets to keep baby from ingesting something harmful, or pulling down heavy pots or appliances. Turn pot handles away from the stove edge and keep items on the table and counter well away from the edge! You'll be amazed at the length of a persistent baby's reach!
Bedtime - Baby will sleep tight if you double check this area every time you put them down. Watch for soft blankets or pieces of toys/stuffed animals that can be a danger. Worn-out pacifiers can break off small pieces so rotate these. Also, swaddling has many benefits, but be sure you are swaddling properly to avoid suffocation and hip dysplasia.
House and Yard - secure furniture to the walls, heavy items should be placed low so they won't topple over, and stairs are safer with a screwed-in locking gate system. Lock windows as well, many babies love to climb, and an open window can present a problem.
Travel - For car seats, preferably have them installed by your local fire / police department if they have a car seat inspection program. There are many overlooked ways a car seat can become unsafe. And when you're out an about, watch for restaurants that use inappropriate high chairs with baby carriers - they are not ALL made to flip upside-down to hold a carrier!
Other hazards - pet items, small things in your purse, snacks not yet chewable by baby, plastic bags, magnets on your refrigerator, and plants - consider whether any of these items would pose a choking or toxic hazard and remove from baby's reach.
The most important thing is... baby safety can't be relegated to just one month. It's too easy to leave things lying around, forget to close doors and gates, or assume a child can't swallow a certain sized item. So we need to always be watchful of where baby goes, what they have in their hands, and how they are navigating their world!
Schedule daily or weekly checks of your house, car, and yard to keep optimal safety for your child! Little checkups will ensure baby is playing, eating, and traveling in a safe environment!
I am sure this list is not comprehensive - please add your top baby safety tips to the comments!
*Image used from office.microsoft.com
Baby proofing is ongoing and never-ending. I realized early on that my role as parent was to protect them from themselves. I have twin boys who are now 3 years old and we have had multiple ER visits and calls to poison control. We have been lucky and nothing was serious but it only takes a second when you turn around or go to the bathroom for something to happen. It doesn't mean you have to be paranoid all the time but a healthy respect for what your kids can do is a good thing.