Baby Safety Basics

Keep your baby safe through her first birthday and beyond.

Drowning

My husband and I were upstairs watching our kids play one evening when our 10-month-old daughter crawled out of the room. Suddenly, it hit me: The gate at the top of the stairs was unlatched.

"Alyssa!" I screamed, diving down the hall. I grabbed her by the ankle, just inches before she reached the edge of the staircase.

I was lucky, but many parents are not. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 800 babies died in accidents in 1997, and thousands more landed in hospital emergency rooms. By following the advice below, you can keep your baby safe through her first birthday and beyond.

Drowning

Disaster waiting to happen:

You've just started your daughter's bath when you realize you've forgotten her washcloth. She looks comfy in her bath ring, so you dash to the linen closet.

Playing it safe:

Babies can drown in as little as one inch of water. According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, more than half of infant drownings occur in bathtubs. And bath rings don't make tubs any safer -- such devices can tip over, or babies can slip through the leg holes.

The bottom line:

Never leave your baby unattended around water, even for a minute. Put away cleaning buckets as soon as you're done with them. Use toilet locks. If you have a swimming pool, experts recommend fencing that is at least five feet high and has self-closing, self-latching gates.

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