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Home safety starts before your baby is born

The best time to make sure your home is a safe place for your new baby is while you are pregnant. Once the baby is born, you will have plenty of other duties to occupy your time.

Your baby has yet to be born. But that doesn't mean you can't start making your home safe for your little one.

Every home has its own safety needs. But there are general guidelines you can follow to make sure your home is safe and secure for your baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians offer these tips for baby-proofing your home.

In the baby's bedroom

  • Make sure you have a safety belt on the changing table to prevent falls.
  • Choose a crib with bars no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. If the space between the bars is too wide, your baby could slip through and get hurt.
  • Be sure the crib doesn't have corner posts that could catch your baby's clothing. 
  • Never place a crib, playpen or changing table near a window. Make sure that window guards are securely in place on all windows. In addition, keep drapery and blind cords out of the baby's reach.
  • Find a mattress that fits snugly without any gaps.
  • Never leave plastic bags or other plastic materials in or around the crib. They can cause suffocation.
  • Install a smoke detector in or near your baby's bedroom. Check the batteries regularly.
  • Keep mobiles or hanging crib toys out of your baby's reach.
  • Put plug protectors in all unused electrical outlets.

In the bathroom

  • Never leave your child alone in the bathtub. Babies can drown in very little water.
  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees or less. Always check the water temperature before putting your baby in the tub.
  • Keep electrical items such as hair dryers away from the water. Always unplug them when they are not being used.

In the play area

  • Choose toys carefully. Select toys that are well-made and safe for your baby's age. Look for toys with tightly secured parts. Avoid toys that have sharp edges and points and small parts.
  • Keep marbles, balls and other tiny toys that your baby could choke on out of reach.
  • Keep toys meant for older children away from babies.

In your vehicle

  • Buy an approved child safety seat before taking your baby home from the hospital. Learn more about choosing a car seat with this health tool.
  • Make sure the safety seat is properly installed. You can find a child safety seat inspection center near you here.

Safety never stops

While making your home safe for your baby is your first priority, keep in mind that safety is something you will need to continue to check as your child grows.

reviewed 6/13/2019

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