How Can I Keep my Baby Safe?

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There’s been quite a lot of controversy over the idea of “babyproofing”. Some may think it’s unnecessary, “Why do I have to lock the toilet seat? I’ll just watch my baby at all times.” Which is okay. If you have the opportunity to be there with your child 24/7, be my guest! Some, on the other hand, may not be lucky enough to watch their child’s every waking movements. Which is okay too! For those whom may have other little rugrats in the home, a few seconds in another room can really be drastic. Now, I’m not here to scare anyone, but here’s a few tips that will allow you to maybe help one of your other kids with homework, or maybe allow to to use the bathroom real quick by yourself without the stress of your baby getting itself into some trouble.

Whether you have a newborn or a toddler, it’s essential to have some form of “child-safing”-as one of my friends started calling it a while back. The goal isn’t to have locks and guards on everything and anything, I believe that’s portraying the wrong message, and pretty costly. There should be a good balance between safe and necessary. I know people whom had latches on every cabinet and rubber on every edge, and that seemed to work out just fine. But if you’re like myself, I try to be as efficient as possible. While having boundaries, but at the same time teaching my daughter right from wrong along the way, rather than just blocking her from everything and anything. That seemed to work out just fine as well, if not a little better.

Probably the most common aspects of child-safing would be outlet plugs. Those outlets are just the perfect size for a little chubby baby finger, so make sure they can’t get into any of them. You’ll also want to get a gate-or three. I know I did!  Depending on the layout of your home, gates may become your best friend. Of course if you have stairs, they’re essential! But if you have a one story home like myself, a gate in the doorway of the kitchen or a bathroom may be just what you need to prevent your little critter from causing a ruckus. But what if you want your baby in the kitchen with you while you're cooking so you can watch them? Well, a 6-panel play pen does the same job! Actually, that may be even better! When I would be doing laundry or making a meal, I would throw some toys in there and she never wanted to come out!

So you’ve done everything you sought necessary to child-safe your home. There’s nothing you need to be worried about, right? Well, not to frighten you, but have you ever heard of SIDS? It stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and it’s very real! It’s known mainly to happen inside the crib while the baby sleeps. What happens is, the baby is too young to wake themselves up when they’re having trouble breathing. For the first six months of my daughters life, I would constantly have to check on her in her sleep and make sure she’s okay, knowing that she most likely was anyways. Some may call it dramatic, others would probably just call me a new mom. It’s completely normal to be afraid for your baby! You can implement every child-safing product in the store, but sadly to say, there’s a very limited amount of preventative moves you can make when it comes to SIDS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is especially devastating, because there's is no definitive answer as to what causes it. What we do know is, that having a baby premature or having a baby who stopped breathing during the process of birth produces a much higher risk of them having SIDS. As well as babies who have been exposed to cigarette smoke. While the cause is yet to be determined, following these recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), can greatly help you reduce the risk.

Put your baby to sleep on their back- Babies overheat easier while lying on their tummies. If you leave your baby with a sitter, a friend or even a grandparent, make sure to inform them that your baby needs to sleep on their back. Stress the importance!

Have a safe crib environment- Sorry, I know you were hoping all of those toys you got at the shower would be able to be lay in the crib, but a safe crib is one that is clear of clutter! That means no thick blankets, pillows, toys, or sleep positioners. Also, make sure that any surface your baby sleeps on is tight-fitting.

Have your baby sleeping in the same room as you- You want to make sure you have an eye on your baby, just in case. But only while they’re in their own crib, not your bed. While you may feel that could protect your baby from SIDS, sleeping with your baby can cause suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment.

Having a binky- I didn’t have one when I was younger, hence me sucking my thumb for years. Having a pacifier can help with a few different things. I’m proud to say my daughter is not a thumb-sucker as I was when I was an infant. Binkys also help with SIDS by preventing them from falling into deep sleep.

I hope I didn’t put a damper on your day, but when it comes to being a parent, it’s crucial to learn the goods, the bads and the uglies! If you didn’t already know about SIDS, I hope I gave you a little bit of insight and that you’ll take this information and use it! Go look into it more and speak to your doctor about it. If you already knew about SIDS, then I hope you’re taking the necessary steps to prevent and protect your baby! Remember, safety is key! And when you have a little munchkin in your home, you can never be too cautious! If you’re a parent-to-be, your key instincts will grow with you, you may be nervous now, but you’ll be a mommy expert before you know it!

Good Luck!

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By Stephanie Jackson of Expecting Parents Alliance of America

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