By: Karlee Brimberry
National Baby Safety Month is recognized in September and was established over three decades ago by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). The purpose of this initiative is to raise awareness around safety concerns for babies and small children. Kristen Shinn, who is the Director of Community Support Services here at Hoyleton Youth and Family Services, has had the honor of coordinating the Southern Illinois Child Death Investigation Task Force for the past 5 years. Through this opportunity, Kristen has been able to better protect our communities most vulnerable. “Our work tells the story of those whose voices can no longer be heard.”
This year’s main topic for National Baby Safety Month focuses on educating parents/caregivers on ways to identify appropriate products and recognizing when it is time to transition to different products according to the child’s: age, weight, and developmental needs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of death for children younger than four years old in the United States is due to preventable injuries.
Here are three simple tips to keep your child safe:
1. Baby-proof your home.
Most people think of baby-proofing their home as an early step taken during a mother’s pregnancy; however, this should be an ongoing process as your child grows and develops. One of the best ways to ensure your house is safe from injuries is to look at things from your child’s perspective. Get down on their level and go through your home as if your child would. Specifically, look at electrical sockets, cords, dishwashers, poisonous plants and cleaning materials, things hanging off your table or counters, etc.
2. Be aware of the toys and products your child uses.
For infants, there have been many recalls on sleepers, bouncers, swings, etc. For a specific list of products that have been recalled, visit: safekids.org. If you use a sleeper or bouncer, never put it on top of a table, counter, or high surface where it could easily fall.
3. Safe sleeping practices.
According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 3,500 sleep-related deaths each year, of babies in the United States. Parents can take preventable measures to ensure this does not happen to their child. First, research the crib you purchase for your child; make sure it has not been recalled. When your baby is in the crib, it should be bare with no stuffed animals or blankets. Also, be sure to use a fitted mattress so that there are no gaps where the mattress meets the crib. It is suggested that your baby sleeps in the same room (NOT bed) as you for their first year of life. Lastly, do not sleep with your infant; put them in a safe sleeping environment like one mentioned above.
Taking these preventative steps are simple, yet could save a baby’s life. It is okay to ask for help and support. If you would like more information on this topic, or are looking for support – contact us today at (618) 688-4727.