Health and Safety, Birth to 2 Years (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Safety Measures Around the Home
From birth to age 2, children depend on parents and other caregivers for their safety. Safety issues change and increase rapidly in number as newborns grow into toddlers. It is important to consider your child's physical and mental development when evaluating current and future hazards.
Although close supervision is important, it is not realistic to think that you can watch your child's every move. Also, constantly hovering over your child can limit his or her experiences and confidence. Balancing supervision with safety precautions will not only help prevent accidents and injuries but also allow your child to explore and discover.
Taking the time to research and adopt safe habits can help to prevent common accidents and injuries that can occur around the house.
Use safe baby products
In the United States, safety standards for children's equipment, furniture, clothing, and other items are set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Although most new items you purchase will likely meet these standards, older and used items may not. Equipment that has been used before, such as a baby carrier, may not be safe. These items may have wear and tear that affects how they function. The CPSC may also have recalled some items because of reported hazards.
Check that all the products your baby uses meet current standards. The following list provides safety information for items frequently used by children up to age 2:
To help you keep track of important safety features, see the topic Nursery Equipment Safety Checklist.
For more information about equipment standards from the CPSC, see the Other Places to Get Help section of this topic.
Safe sleeping and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Sudden infant death syndrome is one of the most common causes of death for babies 1 month to 12 months old. Most babies who die of SIDS are 2 to 4 months old. Although SIDS cannot be predicted or completely prevented, placing your baby to sleep on his or her back can help prevent this tragedy. For more information, see the topic Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
You can prevent many falling accidents by using common sense and appropriate equipment that meets all safety standards. Recognize new hazards that your baby will encounter as he or she learns to scoot, crawl, and walk.
Help prevent your child from choking by offering the right kinds of foods and keeping an eye out for choking hazards.
Strangulation and suffocation
A young child can strangle from a variety of household items. Protect your child by minimizing these hazards:
Suffocation is another danger for young children. Teach your child about suffocation and the importance of a safe play area. Pay attention to possible suffocation dangers, such as:
To prevent poisoning, identify household cleaners and other chemicals, plants, medicines, makeup, perfumes, and any other products that can harm a child who eats or inhales them. It is critical to properly store these items out of reach of young children. If you have a possible poisoning emergency, call 1-800-222-1222, and you will be automatically transferred to the poison control center closest to you. For more information, see the topic Poisoning.
Lead poisoning is another cause for concern in young children who may chew on contaminated paint flakes, painted objects, or toys. House paint is no longer made with lead, but older homes may still have it on walls and other surfaces. For more information about lead, see the topic Lead Poisoning.
Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by frequently monitoring levels and taking precautionary measures, such as having your home's heater checked each year. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. It is produced from burning fuels such as natural gas, gasoline, fuel oil, or wood (for example, in indoor heating systems, car engines, cooking appliances, or fires). High CO levels quickly affect young children because of their small size. For more information, see the topic Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
Prevent household fires by keeping and maintaining smoke detectors and planning and practicing escape routes.
Burns are caused by heat, electricity, chemicals, radiation, or friction. Protect your child from burn injuries by identifying dangers in your home and taking measures to remove or block your child's access to them.
Guns and other weapons
Gun and firearm safety measures should be established for all households and especially those where children live or visit. All guns and firearms should be kept in a locked area, unloaded, and out of reach of children. Also store knives (even kitchen knives), swords, and other weapons safely out of reach.
Pets are found in many households. Children who live in homes without pets are likely to encounter animals in other environments. Many injuries can be avoided by teaching children how to properly interact with pets. And pet owners who train and keep their animals healthy are less likely to have problems when children are around.
Drowning is a leading cause of injury death in young children. Never leave your child alone near water. Also, follow drowning prevention recommendations from the National Safety Council, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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