Safety Tips for Parents During September Baby Safety Month

  • September 13, 2021

September is National Baby Safety Month, and with more people at home juggling work and child care during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to make your home as safe as possible for young children and babies.

“The most important thing is to keep all medications, cleaning supplies, chemicals, batteries out of the reach of children and behind locked cabinets,” said Dr. Christopher Burke, Natividad Emergency Department Medical Director. “Children are naturally very curious and explore their environment by touch and taste.  It only takes a moment for there to be a serious, life-threatening accidental ingestion.”

According to the CDC, unintentional injuries — such as those caused by burns, drowning, falls, poisoning and road traffic — are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. Each year, more than 12,000 children and teens die from unintentional injuries, and more than 9.2 million are treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries. Nearly a quarter of all patients seen in Natividad’s emergency room are children.

These are common dangers for babies and children, and safety tips for parents and caregivers:

  • Falls: The most common injury. Ensure children are protected from stairs with a gate. Secure windows because even screens pose a danger. Close windows, open the top only, add window guards or install window stopping devices. Ensure rugs have non-slip pads. No furniture or large toys should be near banisters allowing children to climb up and fall.
  • Drownings: Protect children from bathtubs (by never leaving them unattended), toilets (with toilet locks), buckets filled with water (by emptying them) and swimming pools (with gates or covers). A momentary lapse of seconds could prove fatal.
  • Furniture and Fireplaces: Cover furniture corners and fireplace edges with padding or bumpers. Ensure you have fireplace screens. Latch shut any drawers and cupboards. Any furniture that can tip over, TVs, dressers, bookshelves, must be secured to a wall.
  • Blinds and shades: Cords, especially looped, are a strangulation hazard. Remove, if possible, store away or install safety tassels. Move furniture away from windows and ensure cords are not accessible to children.
  • Lamps: Purchase lamps with a sturdy base, secure cords so they cannot be pulled, place lamps far back and out of reach and consider adhesive on the bottom of lamps.
  • Batteries: Tiny batteries are the most dangerous. If swallowed, they can be fatal.
  • Choking/suffocation: Any toy small enough to fit in a paper towel roll is a potential choking hazard; pieces of food, paper clips, coins. Sweep the floor or vacuum the carpet regularly.
  • Entrapments: Protect fingers from doors hinges by keeping doors fully open or locked closed. Ensure railing spaces are spaced so that head entrapment is not possible.
  • Burns: Heat from stoves, hot liquids or steam cause more damage to young children than older kids and adults. Cook on back burners. Your home should have a water temperature guard to ensure the temperature is not greater than 120 degrees. Ensure smoke detectors are functional at all times on every level of the home and outside of every bedroom.
  • Dangerous chemicals: Ensure all potentially dangerous chemicals/alcohol in the kitchen, bathroom, garage or basement are locked in a cabinet or place in an area out of reach of children. Laundry pods are a common hazard.
  • Electrical shock: Ensure all outlets are covered properly.
  • Plants: Ensure all potentially poisonous plants are out of reach of children.

Natividad is the only hospital in Monterey County with an on-site pediatrician 24 hours a day. A hospitalist is a doctor based solely in the hospital who only looks after patients who have been admitted. Natividad pediatric hospitalists treat patients ranging from infants to 21 years old.

To learn about Natividad’s Pediatrics Services, please visit our website.