There is nothing
quite like the excitement of a new baby in the family, and nothing that
changes your life more dramatically.
the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association are pleased to provide
you with infant safety recommendations designed to keep your baby safe
and secure. But please remember that even the most stringent
recommendations cannot protect your baby without careful supervision and
awareness on your part.
first: child car seats
responsibility begins with selecting a child car seat and using it
properly, and all 50 U.S. states have laws that require the use of a
child care seat. Don't forget you will need one for baby's first ride
home from the hospital.
All child care
seats manufactured today must be designed to meet the safety standard
set by the federal government in 1981. Don't use a child care seat
manufactured before that time, or one that has been involved in an
accident. Do not use an infant carrier as a child car seat. All child
car seats aren't the same, so be careful to select one that is
appropriate for your child's height and weight and fits correctly in the
According to the
federal government the safest place in the vehicle for your baby is in
the back seat. Until your baby weighs 20 lbs. the car seat should be
placed rear- facing. Remember to always anchor it to your vehicle's seat
with the vehicle lap or lap/shoulder belt exactly as directed by the car
seat manufacturer. Never use a rear-facing car seat in a seating
location with an airbag. Be sure to check the car seat instructions for
information on the use of the locking clip. And remember to set a good
example for your whole family by buckling yourself up, too.
out our link to the AAP Seatbelt Recommendation site on our
Well Child Page for more information.)
Because your baby
will spend much of her time in a crib, this first "home"
should be a cheerful and secure environment. Even if you are on a tight
budget, don't buy an old crib or accept a hand-me-down manufactured
before 1988. Most older cribs do not meet all current safety standards
(typically the slat spacing is too wide, or it may have corner post
Never use a crib
with corner posts that are higher than 1/16 inches above the end panel.
Babies can strangle if their clothes become caught on the corner posts.
Crib slats or spindles should be spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart,
and none should be loose or missing. The crib mattress should fit snugly
with no more than two fingers width between the mattress and the crib
side. Always keep the drop side up when baby is in the crib. Never place
your crib near draperies, blinds, or wall-mounted decorative accessories
with long cords, because a baby could become entangled in the cords. A
baby is ready for a move into a toddler or regular bed when she reaches
a height of 35 inches or two years of age, whichever comes first.
should always be used as directed by the manufacturer. Select bumper
pads that fit around the entire crib and tie or snap securely in place.
To prevent baby from chewing on the bumper straps, ties, or ribbons and
to keep him from becoming entangled, trim off any excess length after
the strap is tied. Use bumper pads only until he can stand up to a
standing position. Then remove them so that your baby cannot use the
pads to climb out of the crib. Mobiles should also be removed when the
baby can pull himself up. A pillow should be used only for
decoration. Be sure to remove it when baby is sleeping or unattended as
it may cause suffocation.
crib toys, select sturdy items that are age appropriate. Be sure to
check for small ends that could break, or "eyes" that could be
pulled out. Take rattles, squeeze toys, teethers, plush toys, and other
small items out of your baby's crib while unattended. Always supervise
the use of crib toys and discontinue use of crib toys that are suspended
across the crib when your baby is five months old or can push himself up
on his arms and legs.
You can choose
many different types of changing tables, but make sure you buy one that
has straps that will prevent baby from falling or rolling. Always use
the straps to restrain baby when the changing table is in use. Be sure
that any baby products you routinely use, such as powder and wipes, are
easily accessible, and never turn your back on the baby when reaching
for them. Most important, never leave your baby unattended even for the
strollers, and high chairs
Choose a stroller
or carriage that has a base wide enough to prevent tipping, even when
your baby leans over the side. If the seat adjusts to a reclining
position, make sure that the stroller doesn't tip backward when he lies
down. Always use the seat belt when placing baby in the stroller, and
never leave him unattended. When the stroller is stationary, be sure to
lock the wheels. If your stroller has a shopping basket for holding
packages, it should be low on the back of the stroller front or directly
over the back wheels. When you fold or unfold the stroller, keep your
baby's hands away from areas that could pinch tiny fingers. Restraint
straps should always be used when a stroller is either in the upright or
the carriage position.
should have both a waist and a crotch strap. Never depend on the feeding
tray to restrain or protect your baby. Instead, secure both the waist
and the crotch straps. Keep the high chair far enough away from a table,
counter, or wall so that baby can't push off from it. Never allow him to
stand up in his high chair, because it could topple over.
bathing your baby, collect all bath essentials so you won't have to turn
your back on him. In addition, test the bath water temperature before
immersing her. Use your wrist or elbow to test the water. Do not leave
your baby unattended, even for a few seconds! Make sure that bath seats
are placed in the tub securely; do not use on a nonskid bathtub surface.
baby, test all warmed foods for a comfortable eating temperature before
serving. Heating baby food in a microwave is convenient and safe, but
remember that the microwave can generate lots of steam. Be sure to
release the steam before the food comes near your baby. Use
microwave-safe dishes and stir foods from the center out to make sure
that the temperature is even throughout. Your baby should always eat and
drink in an upright position, and avoid propping baby's bottle to enable
him to drink by himself.
Get down on your
hands and knees and look around your home from your child's perspective.
This will help you to spot potentially dangerous objects. For example,
an ordinary house plant can be poisonous is your curious baby decides to
taste a piece of it. Safety checking your home is also a time to be sure
that baby does not have access to swimming pools, toilets, diapers
pails, large cleaning buckets, showers, or hot tubs. Remember that it's
possible for an infant to drown in as little as two inches of water.
bleaches, oven and drain cleaners, paint solvents, polishes, waxes,
matches, and cigarette lighters are also dangerous to an infant. These
should always be kept out of sight and reach. Use childproof locks on
all child-level cabinets. Use child-resistant packaging whenever
possible. Keep the number of the poison center near the phone.
outlets, appliances, and cords can all be baby safety hazards. Cover
unused electrical outlets with safety caps and replace broken or missing
receptacle cover plates. Use or install a safety latch on your oven so
that an inquisitive baby cannot open the oven door and burn himself.
Plastic wrap and
plastic dry cleaning, shopping, and garbage bags should be kept away
from your baby. Never use plastic shipping bags or other plastic film as
mattress covers not sold and intended for that purpose; they can cling
to his face and cause suffocation.
Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) has developed a certification
program for high chairs, play yards, walkers, carriages and strollers,
gates and enclosures, and full-size cribs. If products are judged to
meet the standards that have been established by the American Society
for Testing and Materials, they can be labeled with the JPMA Certified
mark. If you are interested in a product, but are unsure if it has been
JPMA certified, ask your retailer for information or call the
To learn more
about juvenile product safety, see:
Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association