As a board-certified pediatrician, for over a decade, you can imagine all the emergencies and injuries that I have seen. Most of the injuries that I have taken care of were totally preventable. This is the reason why in week two of my digital course we discuss the most common mistakes new parents make so you don’t make them yourself. We focus on baby safety because many parents were just not aware of how to protect their baby. Unfortunately, I don’t think doctors spend the appropriate amount of time talking about this topic.
In this blog we will go over the baby safety checklist to get your home prepared for your baby and make sure it’s a safe environment for your little one as they grow. If you have a toddler at home, this is a great checklist to use to make sure that they’re not getting themselves into any trouble. You can download the checklist directly from my website for free.
Kitchen– Babies love shiny things, who doesn’t? So naturally they are attracted to their favorite appliance the stove/oven. When your baby learns how to crawl and starts pulling to stand (7-12 months on avg, you can find more information about your baby’s development in my membership program), they pull on oven door for support. Sometimes the entire appliance can actually crash on to them so it’s always important to make sure that furniture and appliances are anchored. I would encourage you to get a lock for the oven door to prevent any injuries here. Get covers for knobs, that way your little one can’t turn on the stove top or oven. Obviously, if you’re baking or cooking, keep the baby out of the kitchen with a baby safety gate. Cabinets and drawers should be locked because we keep things in there that we don’t want them getting into, like cleaning products, tools etc… I know that those locks can be pretty annoying to use, but remember, you’re just using them for a short period of time and they will save your baby’s life. Store cleaning products high and out of reach. Kids ingest harmful substances because they have nice colors or they might smell good. Get rid of table cloths, for now, because babies eventually develop a really good grasp. They will grab onto the tablecloth and pull everything along with them. Imagine if you have some hot liquids on the table, soup, coffee, tea, whatever by pulling on the table cloth the liquid can splash and spill causing 1st, 2nd or third-degree burns. Also store utensils and any glassware somewhere where the baby cannot reach it. I also highly recommend that you save the Poison Control number to your cell phone, 1-800 222-1222, and it’s very easy to memorize. If your baby ingests anything, you call Poison Control right away and they tell you exactly what to do.
Bathroom– This is the other room where so many things can go wrong. First of all, you should never, ever leave your baby or toddler unattended in the bathroom, EVER! I suggest that when you are going to bathe your baby, you bring all items that you need with you before starting. (ex. towel, diaper, soap/lotion, etc..). Do not get distracted. Make sure that you stay present when you are giving your baby a bath. You want to make sure that you test the water and that it’s the right temperature before putting baby in the water. As a matter of fact, the thermostat for the home water system should be set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also purchase a thermometer for the faucet of the tub. I always just check it on my wrist. I’ve actually had cases in the ER where parents forgot to test the water first and immersed the baby in hot water. The baby suffered third degree burns on baby’s bottom and legs. Get a lock for the toilet bowl because babies get in there and they can drown. I know it sounds impossible, but babies can drown in two inches of water. Any cabinets should also be locked.
Living room – Get non slip pads for area rugs to prevent slips and falls. Any sharp corners on furniture, like a coffee table or side tables should have padding for the corners. Get outlet, covers for all outlets throughout the house because kids love to stick things in there including their fingers. Tie up cords for the blinds. Tie them up high because babies put them around their neck. Actually, any electrical cords, make sure that they’re tied up and put away or conceal them. The caps on door stoppers can get loose and babies can choke on them, so check them frequently.
The Nursery – This is a room your little one will probably spend a lot of time so invest in a nice thick rug or carpet, this will provide some extra cushion for falls and accidents. If you plan on getting a toy box, make sure that it’s one with a removable lid, not one with a hinged lid those are heavy and can fall right on your baby’s head, which can cause a concussion. Get finger pinch guards for the doors because those tiny fingers like to get into everything. One of my pet peeves is when parents don’t make it a habit to use the belt that comes with the diaper changing pad. I know a newborn doesn’t roll over yet, but they learn how to do it pretty quickly. Before you know it, your baby will learn to roll and one minute they’ll be up on the changing pad and the next minute roll over and fall to the floor. I’ve seen this one, one too many times!
Crib safety – I know what everybody wants their nursery to look like. I love IG and Pinterest too, but your baby’s crib should not have any pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, bumpers etc… when your baby is sleeping in it. This is to prevent something called SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Baby’s die when parents are not aware of sleep safety! This is a great article to read concerning sleep safety: https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/sleep-solutions/newborn-baby-safe-sleep-practices/
Safety gate at the top and bottom of every staircase at home and any room that is off limits to the baby. Make sure that they’re installed correctly.
Pet food – kids are curious and love to imitate their pets. After your dog or cat is done eating, make sure you pick that food up and get rid of it.
Make sure that your house plants are non-toxic. Here is a resource regarding toxic house plants id ingested https://dengarden.com/gardening/Dangerous-Beauties-Twenty-Toxic-Houseplants-to-Avoid-Around-Children-and-Pets
Medicine bottles, if abuela or grandpa are visiting make sure that they have a safety caps on their medicine bottles and keep the medicine bottles out of reach too. Whenever you fill a prescription ask the pharmacy for a child proof safety cap.
Batteries – should be stored away where your kids cannot get to them. Especially little button batteries, if ingested you need to go straight to the ER for removal!
I would make it a habit to get low to the ground and see what is at your baby’s eye level and vacuum regularly.
Liquor should be stored and locked away.
Radiators and heat vents should be covered to prevent burns.
Get a first aid kit. You should have a first aid kit at home, in the diaper bag and in the car. It should have band aids, alcohol pads, triple antibiotic ointment, and gauze pads.
Don’t forget to download your checklist now, directly from my website https://www.drdivinalopez.com