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Pregnancy & ChildbirthWellness & PreventionTreatment & Care

Baby Care: Safety

Many of the accidents that claim the lives of infants and children each year can be easily prevented. We hope this information will help you make your baby’s environment safer.

Crib, Bassinet, Carriage or Playpen

  • Be sure bars are close enough so that your baby cannot slide through or get stuck (2-3/8 inches at most).
  • Wood surfaces should be free of splinters and cracks, and have lead-free paint.
  • The crib should not have cross bars on the sides. The sides, when lowered, should be 4 inches above the mattress.
  • The sides of the crib should have a latch that prevents them from coming down accidentally.
  • The mattress should be the same size as the crib so there are no gaps to catch arms or legs. The top of the railing should be 22 inches from the mattress when the mattress is placed on the lowest level.
  • The furniture should meet the standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This information is usually included with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never leave crib rails down when the baby is in the crib.
  • Bumper pads should be used around the entire crib until the baby begins to stand, then removed.
  • Corner posts must be less than five eighths of an inch high. Corner posts higher than this can catch your baby’s clothing and are hazardous.
  • There should be no cut-outs in the head or footboards where your baby could trap his head, arms, or hands.
  • Begin to lower the crib mattress before your baby is able to sit without help. The mattress should be at its lowest point before your baby can stand.
  • Toys that go across the crib are meant for young babies. When your baby is able to push up on his hands and knees, any toy that stretches across the crib should be removed. Your baby can become tangled in the toys and choke.
  • Do not place the crib near blinds or curtains with long cords because your baby could strangle on the cord.
  • Do not place a pillow in your baby’s crib.


  • Select toys that are too large to swallow, too tough to break, and have no small breakable parts and no sharp points or edges.
  • Toys should be at least 1-1/4 inches by 2-1/2 inches around until your baby is 3 years old. Toys should not have buttons, heads, or objects on them that can be pulled off.


  • Plastic bags should not be placed on your baby’s mattress or pillow. Keep plastic bags in a place that your baby cannot reach.
  • Never leave your baby alone with young children or animals.
  • Never place your baby on a waterbed.
  • Do not pour hot liquids when your baby is close by.
  • Do not leave your baby in the sun for more than a few minutes.
  • Do not leave your baby in a parked car.
  • Wash flame-retardant clothing according to the label directions.
  • Do not leave medications within your baby’s reach. Use a medicine box, preferably one with a safety lock.
  • Store cleaning products out of baby’s reach.
  • Get rid of any houseplants that could be poisonous.
  • Have the telephone numbers of your pediatrician, rescue squad, and poison control center posted near your telephone. In Louisiana, the Poison Control Center’s phone number is 1-800-256-9822.
  • If you have gas appliances or heat in your home, consider installing a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Consider taking an infant/child CPR course and first aid class.

Fire Safety
Use the following tips to protect your newborn from fire:

  • Never leave your infant alone in the home - even for a minute.
  • Install a smoke detector on every level of your home and in your infant’s room.
  • Keep chair or rope ladders on upper floors to permit escape.
  • Locate several escape routes from each area of the house, including your infant’s room, and plan a meeting place once outside.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and out of children’s reach.
  • In case of fire, get everyone outside immediately — do not stop to dress or try to put out the fire. Most deaths occur from suffocation due to smoke, and not from direct burning. Call 911 from a neighbor’s house.