Baby Safety

Creating a safe environment is challenging as your baby starts to explore his world.

Many accidents that claim the lives of infants and children each year are easily prevented. We hope this information helps you create a safer environment for your baby.

Crib, Bassinet, Carriage or Playpen

Whether you choose new or used furniture for your baby, check it carefully to ensure it’s safe.

  • The crib bars should be close enough that your baby cannot slide through or get stuck (2-3/8 inches at most) between them.
  • Wood surfaces should be free of splinters and cracks.
  • Use lead-free paint for any painted surfaces.
  • The crib should not have cross bars on the sides. The sides, when lowered, should be four inches above the mattress.
  • The sides of the crib should have a latch that prevents them from dropping accidentally.
  • The mattress should be the same size as the crib so there are no gaps to trap your baby’s arms or legs. The top of the crib railing should be 22 inches from the mattress when the mattress is placed at the lowest level.
  • Furniture should meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. This information is usually included with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never leave crib rails down when your baby is in the crib.
  • Corner posts must be less than 5/8 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 going across the crib are meant for young babies. When your baby is able to push up on his hands and knees, remove any toy that stretches across the crib. Your baby can become tangled in the toys and choke.
  • Do not place the crib near blinds or curtains with long cords. A cord can easily wrap around a young child's neck, causing strangulation.
  • Do not place a pillow in your baby’s crib.

Toys

Toys are an important part of your baby’s development. To avoid toy-related injuries, make sure all new and used toys meet current safety standards.

  • Consider your child’s age when purchasing a toy.
  • When buying a toy, check and follow age guidance and other safety information on the toy packaging.
  • Make sure your child is physically ready for the toy.
  • Select toys that are too large to swallow, too tough to break, and have no small breakable parts, sharp points or edges.
  • Toys should be at least 1-1/4 inches by 2-1/2 inches around until your baby is three years old.
  • Toys should not have buttons, heads or objects on them that can be pulled off.

Home

Accidents can happen in any room of your house. Make regular safety checks of your home.

  • Plastic bags should not be placed on your baby’s mattress or pillow. Keep plastic bags away from your baby’s 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 alone in a car, even for a few minutes.
  • 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 and other hazardous materials out of baby’s reach.
  • Get rid of any houseplants that may 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, install a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Take an infant/child CPR course and first aid class.

Fire

Protect your newborn from fire by identifying and removing fire hazards.

  • Never leave your infant alone in the home – even for a minute.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children's reach.
  • Install a smoke detector on every level of your home and in your baby’s room.
  • Make a family fire escape plan and practice it every six months. Locate several escape routes from each area of the house, including your infant’s room. Plan a meeting place once outside.
  • 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 inhalation, not from direct burning. Call 911 from a neighbor’s house.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and out of children’s reach.