Baby Safety Month: Tips for Healthy Development
by Magdalena Oledzka and Jennifer Crane
Having a new baby at home is an exciting time for your growing family. There are many steps you can take during this transitional time to keep your baby safe and sound in your home, starting with taking them home from the hospital in the car seat.
Little Ones (0-6 Months)
- Place your baby on the back to sleep at night and during naps. Tummy time is critical for a baby’s development and should be implemented when the baby is awake.
- Keep toys, blankets, sleeping positioners, and bumpers out of the crib. Consider having your baby sleep in a sleep sack to keep their mouths and noses free and clear of any obstruction.
- When bathing your new little one, always keep at least one hand on your baby. Remember, the baby may be very slippery when wet so lift them with caution!
- A two inch guardrail on all sides of your changing table will keep your baby safe and secure. Babies can get very squirmy when on the changing table. Always keep one hand on your baby when reaching for wipes or fresh diapers. Store diapers out of your baby’s reach. Babies love putting things in their mouths and could potentially swallow a tiny piece of diaper if torn off.
- Remember to have your baby’s hearing screened early. Language skills start to develop early in the first year of life and hearing and language are closely linked together. If your baby has hearing loss, it is critical that a referral to a speech language pathologist is made to determine an appropriate plan of care for your baby.
Bigger Ones (6-12 Months)
- Secure your toilet seat! Some babies love to go splashing in the toilet water and we don’t want them to go for a swim in the bowl!
- When you’re baby starts crawling, make sure all cleaning products and hazardous materials (including house plants) are placed above their reach. Babies are faster than you think and love exploring new things.
- Cover all electrical outlets with protective plastic pieces.
- Cabinet stoppers are essential so their cute little fingers won’t get pinched when searching for those pots and pans to drum on and climb in and out of!
- Vacuum your rugs and floors carefully before your baby vacuums them for you! Older babies love to pick up tiny pieces that could be easily be swallowed.
- Install gates near the stairs and kitchen because babies are so quick when they move! Be careful that the baby walker is not used near staircases. It would be easy for the walker to fall down the stairs. Instead, use stationary activity centers that will entertain your baby as well as keep him or her safe and away from stairs, hot liquids, and pools or bathtubs.
Congratulations again on your new little one and have fun with your baby as he or she grows and develops!
Magdalena Oledzka is a pediatric physical therapist and is the section manager at the CA Technologies Rehabilitation Center at the Lerner Children’s Pavilion at Hospital for Special Surgery. She is NDT trained in the management and treatment of children with cerebral palsy and other neuromotor disorders.
Jennifer Crane is a doctor of physical therapy and board certified pediatric specialist at the CA Technologies Rehabilitation Center within Hospital for Special Surgery’s Lerner Children’s Pavilion. She is certified with the Neuro-Developmental Treatment Association. She is assistant manager of the Hospital for Special Surgery Pediatric Rehabilitation Department.