Editor’s Note: The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), is a valuable resource both for the product manufacturers it represents, as well as for expectant and new parents when it comes to matters of home safety for children. Their safety blog, babysafetyzone.org, serves as an educational, interactive hub and community for parents and caregivers—and is the source of the home safety tips below. JPMA also offers a certification program for juvenile products.
- Changing pad: If you are using a changing pad on top of a dresser, place a piece of no-skid runner (the kind that’s usually used under area rugs) underneath the pad. This will prevent the pad from sliding around. Always use the straps!
- Baby monitors: Baby monitors can look like toys to babies and toddlers. Keep your monitor at least 6 feet away from the crib or bassinet to avoid strangulation.
- Crib sheet: Always use a crib sheet that fits securely on the mattress, wraps around the mattress corners, and stays securely on the mattress corners.
- Cords: Cords can pose strangulation hazards to children, whether they are connected to blinds, home gym equipment, or baby monitors. Keep cords tied up and out of reach of children and remember to keep cribs away from cords that can be reached while inside the crib.
- Recalled products: Know if a product you own has been recalled, including second-hand products. The best ways to ensure your products are safe are to fill out your product registration card and check for recalls at recalls.gov.
- Loose rugs or carpet: Area rugs or carpets that are not secured to the floor can trip little ones who may already be unstable on their feet. Make sure that all corners are taped down and bumps are smoothed out.
- Heating food: Heating baby food in a microwave is convenient, but be sure to check the temperature very carefully. Use microwave-safe dishes and stir food from the center out after heating to ensure the temperature is even.
- Portable chairs: Do not use portable hook-on chairs on glass or loose tabletops, or on a table with a single pedestal, leaf, tablecloth, or placemat.
- Tipover: Prevent tipover—keep the highchair far enough from the table, counter, or wall so the baby can’t push off from it.
- Pot handles on the stove: When cooking, turn pot handles inward instead of sticking out from the stove where little ones may reach up and grab the hot handle.
- Magnets: Small magnets can be easily swallowed by children. Once inside the body, they can attract to each other and cause significant internal damage. Keep magnets out of reach. If you fear your child has swallowed magnets, seek medical attention immediately.
- Liquid laundry packets: It is estimated that thousands of children have been exposed to and injured by laundry detergent packets. Easily mistaken by children as candy, these packets pose a risk to the eyes and, if ingested, to their lives. It is important to keep these items out of reach of children.
- Infant seat: Baby’s movements can slide an infant seat, so be sure not to place the infant seat on any elevated surfaces.
- Highchair: Move your baby away from the table or anything they can use their legs to push off of while sitting in their highchair.
- Loose change: Change can easily wind up on tables or in couch cushions, where curious children could ingest them. Assign a tray or jar for loose change and keep it out of a child’s reach.
- Hot mugs: A relaxing cup of coffee or tea can quickly turn into an emergency if hot mugs are left unattended or are placed near the edge of tables where little hands can grab them.
- Button batteries: Button batteries are flat, round batteries that resemble coins or buttons found in common household items such as flashlights, remotes or flameless candles.
- Similar to coins and magnets, they pose a serious risk if ingested.
- Tipovers: Tipovers are a leading cause of injury to children. The best way to avoid them is to make sure all furniture items and televisions are secured to the wall.
- Unattended: Never leave a child unattended in the bathroom. Collect all bathing materials before bringing baby into the bathroom so you do not have to leave.
- Safeguarding: Keep bathroom doors closed and toilet seats closed and locked. It is possible for babies to drown in as little as 2 inches of water.
- Bath seat: Never use a bath seat on textured or non-skid tub surfaces unless the manufacturer’s instructions specifically state that the seat is intended for such surfaces.
- Stroller: Always put your stroller in the locked position when remaining stationary or placing your baby inside. Do not hang heavy items off the back of the stroller as this could cause it to tip.
- Car seat: Follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions when installing.