As parents and caregivers, we always want to ensure that our children are happy and healthy. Welcoming a new baby is an exciting time, but there are also challenges, such as keeping your child out of harm’s way. And in our current environment, parents have a whole host of new concerns when it comes to welcoming a little one. That’s why there is no better time for families to focus on baby safety.
Held in September each year, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) sponsors Baby Safety Month, a month-long event helping to educate parents and caregivers on the safe selection and use of baby products. The JPMA has been educating families since 1983 when they launched “Expectant Mother’s Day”, which was later expanded into a week and then became Safety Awareness Month.
In honor of Baby Safety Month, here are 10 tips for keeping baby safe and healthy:
- Keep magnets out of reach of children. In 2019, there were nearly 1,600 cases of magnet ingestion reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers. Magnets can cause significant internal damage if swallowed, so always store them in a locked cabinet or box out of reach of children and pets. Be sure to discard them safely, too. If you suspect your child has swallowed a magnet, seek immediate medical attention.
- Like magnets, loose change and button batteries (found in toys and small household items like reusable candles) are easily swallowed, so always keep these items out of the reach of children. If you think your child has swallowed coins or a button battery, you should seek immediate medical attention.
- When you and your child are on the go, always use a car seat to arrive safely at your destination. Carefully follow all of the car seat manufacturer’s instructions when installing the seat in your vehicle, and make sure your child’s car seat is installed correctly. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 59% of car seats are not installed correctly. If you’re not feeling confident about your car seat installation, many police stations and fire stations offer free inspections. Prefer to walk? Always put your stroller in the locked position when putting your baby in the stroller or when remaining stationary. Place any other items you’re carrying, like your purse, in the storage space beneath the stroller seat, and do not hang heavy items off the back of the stroller — this could cause it to tip.
- Lower the hot water temperature on your water heater to 120F. This will make sure that the water never gets to a point that could injure the baby. Baths should be soothingly warm, not scalding.
- Never leave children unattended during bath time and avoid distractions.
- Secure furniture and televisions to prevent tip-over. In the U.S. alone, a child is injured from a TV or furniture tip-over incident about every 43 minutes. Securing furniture and making sure a TV is properly mounted to the wall can prevent these tragic incidents.
- Install working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, and in all sleeping areas. This is an important tip for not just baby safety, but family safety as well. Test the alarms regularly to make sure they work.
- Regularly inspect toys and baby gear (such as strollers and high chairs) for missing hardware –– missing screws, loose threads, strings, holes, tears, and missing buttons can all be possible threads. Discontinue use of these items when they are beyond repair.
- Keep track of recalled products. Oftentimes, when you purchase baby gear (toys, strollers, cribs, baby carriers, car seats, etc.) you’ll receive a postcard to fill out with your information and send back so the company can contact you in the event of a recall. There are also resources online you can use to periodically check for product recalls on important items like cribs and car seats, such as Safe Kids and Recalls.gov.
- Whether you’re painting the nursery, or touching up other rooms in the house, use paint that has a low amount, or is completely without volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), choosing a low-VOC paint can minimize your exposure to chemicals of concern that are sometimes found in traditional paint – including some that have been linked to negative health effects.
Creating a Clean & Healthy Home Environment
Tiny onesies, beautiful bonnets, footed pajamas…there’s no denying that baby clothes are adorable, and dressing your little one can be a pretty fun part of being a parent, especially during those early baby and toddler years. But, reality check: those cute little baby clothes are also going to get very dirty. Between spit up and food stains and everything in between, keeping your baby’s clothes and linens clean is no small feat. You’ll need a detergent that gets the job done, but that’s also gentle on baby’s soft, sensitive skin. So what’s a parent to do?
Regular laundry detergents are too harsh and can cause skin irritation, diaper rash, allergic reactions, and more. Instead, wash your baby’s clothes and linens (crib sheets, bassinet liners, washcloths, towels) with a plant-based, fragrance-free detergent that’s made for sensitive skin. The Ecology Works Anti-Allergen Laundry Detergent is hypoallergenic and free from perfumes, dyes, or enzymes that can irritate your baby’s skin. It’s recommended by allergists and dermatologists and is also 100% biodegradable, making it an eco-friendly choice. As your laundry duties increase with a new baby, also consider switching to cold water washing. Most of the energy used to run a washer goes into heating water, and since The Ecology Works Anti-Allergen Detergent is designed to work in cold water, this is an easy way to save money –– and be kind to the planet. If you do plan to use traditional laundry detergent, especially laundry detergent pods, keep them out of reach of children. Laundry detergent pods, with their bright candy-like colors and bite-size shapes, are particularly attractive to children, leading the CDC to consider them an emerging public health hazard due to a staggering number of poisoning cases each year, mostly in children under 5.
It’s not just laundry pods –– most store-bought cleaning products come in brightly-colored spray bottles, with heavy scents and dyes that are appealing to children, leading children to play with and sometimes consume them. Keep cleaning products in a locked cabinet that is out of reach of children and contact poison control if you think your child has ingested a cleaning product. Harsh ingredients found in many conventional cleaning products, like bleach, dyes, and the chemicals that make up fragrances, can be harmful to all of us, but especially children. Sadly, the impact of these harsh chemicals can be as hazardous to our health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Cleaning is an important part of creating a healthy environment for our children, but there is a better way. As you welcome a new baby into your home, now is a great time to become more aware of what’s in the products you buy and use around your baby, especially those used for cleaning. Our product, Vital Oxide, is an EPA-registered disinfectant, powerful enough to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, while being colorless, odorless, and free from harsh chemicals, noxious fumes, and harmful residues. This all-in-one product can be used to clean, disinfect, eliminate odors, eradicate allergens, kill mold and mildew, sanitize food-prep surfaces, to clean and sanitize carpets (it’s certified by the Carpet & Rug Institute for pet stains and odors), and more. It’s gentle enough to use around the nursery, playroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom, inside the car, or anywhere, really.
We know the time spent preparing your home and life for your little one can be as overwhelming as it is exciting, and becoming a parent is often a time that sparks you to take stock of what you use in and around your home. As you start to think through changes you may want to make, we’re here to help.Learn more about the science behind Vital Oxide, as well as tons of great tips on cleaning, disinfecting, and more. If you have any questions, please Contact Us or Send Us a Message on Facebook.