Expert advice for childproofing, baby CPR training, immunization, and car seat installation, plus a babyproofing checklist.
September is Baby Safety Month, established by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) to educate parents on keeping babies and young kids safe, through all the ages and stages of childhood. Here, we share expert tips from The Pump Station & Nurtury about the best ways to keep your baby safe.
At The Pump Station & Nurtury, we know better than anyone how overwhelming it can be to be a new parent—we hear as much daily from our expectant and new moms and dads. They’re overwhelmed with all the information thrown their way, and they’re exhausted, confused, and looking for clarity. So we talked to Pump Station’s experienced team of baby-care experts, including Corky Harvey, MS, RN, IBCLC, and founder of The Pump Station, to get their tips on babyproofing your home and other important things new parents can do to create a safe space for baby.
(We’ve also included baby proofing products below that you can add to your baby registry right now. Don’t have one yet? It’s easy to create a universal baby registry, then add gifts from all your favorite stores. Then check out our Baby Registry Checklist to make sure you don’t miss a thing.)
Take an Infant CPR Class
While we encourage our clients to take a baby CPR course prenatally, when they have more free time, we understand that may not be possible. Our instructors recommend that if you cannot take infant CPR classes prenatally you should definitely learn child CPR before baby starts to eat solids, so before baby is 5–6 months old. People also ask, “Who should take this class?” Our response: anyone who will be caring for the baby! Taking two-and-a-half hours out of your life to make time for first-aid training could be lifesaving!
Wash Your Hands Frequently
We’ve been saying this forever! Long before coronavirus, we knew the importance of washing hands, especially with a newborn in the house. We also suggest new parents don’t “pass the baby” at family gatherings. Try to keep baby away from toddlers (when possible), and encourage people not to kiss your baby on the face or hands. There will always be exceptions, and we know it can be difficult to turn away the support of loving grandparents.
Get the Best Car Seat, and Have It Installed by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician
Bottom line, you can’t leave the hospital with your baby without a car seat. Research shows that 75–95% of car seats are installed incorrectly and/or the baby is not harnessed into the seat correctly (we see this every day). Have a Child Passenger Safety Technician install the seat and teach you proper car seat rules and car seat installation, in the event you need to move it or travel. Make sure they also teach you how to put the baby in properly. A CPST can help you confirm car seat requirements and make car seat recommendations for your particular vehicle (including those that are JPMA certified as the safest infant car seats). Make sure you follow the weight and height recommendations for your particular seat. Also, it’s important to remember these car seat guidelines: rear-facing is the safest position for baby, and babies should be rear-facing for at least two years, even longer if possible.
Make Sure Everyone Around Baby Is Immunized
Parents, grandparents, childcare providers, doulas, and others should have immunizations for pertussis/whooping cough, shingles, flu, pneumonia, and of course the vaccine for Covid 19. Caregivers who have lived outside the country should be tested for tuberculosis. If baby attends daycare, check to see that all staff members are up to date with their vaccinations and other health checks..
Opt for Babywearing to Keep Baby in the “No Touch” Zone
Learn how to wear baby safely in whichever baby carrier or baby wrap you choose—even take a baby-care class that includes this. We suggest three basic rules for babywearing:
- Head at heart level: When wearing baby, you should be able to kiss the top of baby’s head.
- Babies chin off the chest: Make sure baby’s head tilts back slightly.
- Make sure baby has air space around their face.
Create a Babyproofing Checklist
Unless you plan to move to a new home shortly after baby comes home, babyproofing and child proofing should be done before your baby is born. Here are some things we teach in our Pump Station Baby Care 101 Class:
- Where are your medications, razor blades, cleaning supplies, dishwasher and laundry soap pods, and the like? Move them well out of the way before baby is born.
- Make sure your bathrooms are secured—among other things, like splashing around in toilet water, a baby CAN fall into a toilet.
- Make sure your kitchen cabinets and drawers are locked. We tell parents to leave one filled with safe bowls, cups, and toys for the baby to enjoy.
- Stairs should be gated at both the top and bottom.
- Open stairways with railings or banisters should be secured so babies cannot fall through. Plexiglass screwed in and secured all along the open space works great!
- Are upper-story windows and doors onto outdoor areas childproof? They must be secured so they cannot fully open.
- Use earthquake safety straps to secure furniture to the walls. Even if you don’t live in earthquake danger zones, do this. Remember, babies can pull themselves up on furniture, which can tip over on them.
- Make sure electrical plugs, sharp corners, and fireplaces are all covered.
- Cords from blinds, electronics, phones, and the like should be tied up out of reach.
- Swimming pools MUST be safety-proofed: at your home, in the neighborhood, at grandparents’ homes, and anywhere else you and baby might visit.
- Nothing should be placed over the bassinet, crib, or changing area that could fall—especially in earthquake-prone areas.
- If this seems like a lot, consider hiring a professional baby proofing service in your area to baby proof your home.
We could go on and on, but we don’t want to overwhelm you—we want to empower you! So start with the suggestions above, and you’ll be able to create a safe space for your precious cargo.
And check out the baby products listed below. You can easily add any of them to your baby registry right now.
Recommended Baby Safety Products from the Pump Station
More Baby-Safe Baby Registry Ideas
About the Writer
The Pump Station & Nurtury has nurtured and empowered new and expecting parents in the Greater Los Angeles area for more than 34 years. Pump Station’s experienced team of credentialed experts provides evidence-based breastfeeding, baby and toddler care, and parenting education, support, and encouragement to parents as they learn to care for their babies. Through its array of prenatal and postnatal classes and other services, in person and online, The Pump Station gives parents the tools they need to parent confidently and also provides an environment where parents can bond with one another and their babies as they share their experiences. The Pump Station also offers a selection of carefully curated products and baby gear in their Santa Monica boutique and online.
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